10 Tips for a Great Quiet Time

{FYI … you may also want to check out 10 (more) tips for a great quiet time.}

A great quiet time.

We all want one.

We all know we need one.

The problem is … we live in this fallen, broken, messy, busy world.   Carving out the time is hard enough.  But figuring out what to do when we have it … that’s an even bigger challenge.

What is it that makes a great quiet time? And what if it isn't so much about what we do or how long we spend? || 10 tips for a great quiet time

Bible in 90 Days, Bible in a Year, the latest study by Priscilla Shirer or Kay Arthur, classic devotions like My Utmost for His Highest or Streams in the Desert, a popular devotions like Jesus Calling  or Journey … Joining a group like Good Morning Girls or Hello Mornings … Prayer methods … Colored pencils, highlighters, notebook or journal … And let’s not even get into what translation of the Bible we should use.

No wonder we just follow along with whatever someone else says worked for them.  Good grief!  As moms we already have enough decisions to make in our lives just trying to sort out who left the toilet paper roll empty! {Can I get a witness?}

Yes, again, I reiterate that spending time in the Word is important … but how that happens and for how long on any given day?  I’m just not sure that is quite as big a deal to God as it seems to be to us sometimes.

I’ve been thinking hard about those seasons in my life when my personal quiet times have been the most rewarding.   And I’ve realized there are some common threads in each of them.   Oddly enough, the common threads have nothing to do with my Bible reading plan or what kind of journal I used.  {Whoddathunk it?}    In fact, the commonalities were far more basic … almost so obvious I overlooked some of them.

And so, I offer up for you, my ten tips for a great quiet time.

  1. Do it in the morning unless you haven’t had any sleep because of a sick child or the neighbor’s dog who barked all night (ahem), then do it later in the day.   Or if you are really a night person and the thought of getting up early makes you nauseous,by all means, embrace the quiet of little ones tucked in for the last time (and shut the door between you and your snoring husband).
  2. Use a plan.  And by plan I mean simply this – decide what you’re interested in or an area in your life that God is working and use resources to help you grow in that area.   It’s okay to use the concordance and look up all the verses about speech and then read one or two a day for as long as it takes.  {Or whatever your interest or issue is.}
  3. Be honest about yourself.   For real, y’all, if you cannot do anything for more than three consecutive days, it’s okay!  Start there.   Decide to read Jude – it’s only one chapter and read it for three days.   Ask the Lord to help you find new truth in what you read every day.
  4. Know your personality.  If you love knowing about people, then by all means, do a study on a person in the Bible.   Kathy Howard’s Bible study on Peter is excellent … and I love Elizabeth George’s study of the Proverbs 31 Woman.
  5. Don’t bite off more than you can chew.  Just because your church is offering the latest and greatest women’s Bible study doesn’t mean you have to join in.   If the study is going to require 45 minutes of homework every night and you already can’t stay up long enough to chat with your husband after the kids are tucked in, please don’t add the study.
  6. Get enough rest.  Maybe I have put this one first because the one thing that is true about every season of my life when my quiet time was most vibrant is that I was getting enough rest.   {There have been seasons of great growth during stress but those are the exception not the rule for me.}   If you are interested in more reading on this topic, I wrote a series on slowing down.   Also, two great books on this topic are The Rest of God and Mudhouse Sabbath.
  7. Change it up.  There was a point a few years ago when my quiet time was s.t.a.l.e.  Very.   I talked to a dear friend and she recommended that I read my favorite book of the Bible but only one verse at a time.  Stay on that one verse until God quit revealing something new to me in it.   Y’all I spent six months in Philippians … three weeks on one verse.   But it reignited my passion for the Word.
  8. Involve your child.   There are seasons of life when the only way to get any Bible reading done is to do it with your child/ren.   Go for it!  It won’t hurt them … or you.  Read the Bible together and talk about what it’s saying.   You can continue to meditate on what you’ve read long after the children have gone back to Legos and baby dolls.
  9. Give yourself a break.   There is no perfect quiet time.   Let me repeat that.  There. Is. No. Perfect. Quiet. Time.  {For more on that, you can read yesterday’s post again.}
  10. Partner up.   Accountability is a great motivator.   Check in with someone to share what  you’ve learned.  And give that person permission to ask you what’s going on if you miss a day or five.

Okay, so that might not have been what you were expecting.  I told you – nothing profound here today.   Just some real life observations from a very real life girl.

I want to repeat an important point:  God is not interested in your quiet time or devotions or personal Bible study … His interest is YOU.

So that’s it … my  ten tips for a great quiet time.  What would you add?

Also, four and a half years after I wrote this post, I wrote an update … with 10 more tips. You can read it here.

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10 TIPS FOR A GREAT QUIET TIME || no guilt, no formula

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  1. This post is so full of grace, Terri Lynne. I love it. I especially love where you say, “I’m just not sure that is quite as big a deal to God as it seems to be to us sometimes.” I think you’re right. The term “quiet time” is nowhere in the Bible. Sure, people in the Bible get up early to pray, especially those with a close relationship to the Lord, but I sure don’t see “Have a Quiet Time Every Day” in the 10 commandments. God longs for a relationship with us, not an obligation.

  2. Love this!
    I think it is so easy to talk ourselves out of just spending time, any time, with our Father in Heaven and His word than actually do so, or make it more complicated than it has to be…Sometimes its just simply, grabbing the bible, find a comfy chair and open it up…if we can do that with t.v., a magazine or a laptop…we can do the same with Him and His word.
    Sunflower Faith recently posted…Setting aside Time for Quiet ReflectionsMy Profile

  3. Simply beautiful Teri! I’m an early morning quiet time person~it’s the best part of my day! Another thing I do and it made sound silly but when my alarm goes off I immediately pray for the day and the gift of life. I pray that I will glorify Him in everything I do. It’s simple but I need it before I ever get out of bed! 🙂 then I have my quiet time.
    Blessings friend,

  4. This brought so much grace to me tonight, friend. I’m going to do the one verse thing. I love you!

    • Lisa, thank you! For years I had a very legalistic view toward “quiet times.” But as the seasons of my life got more complex (ie. I had a child!), I found out these times of drawing into the Word can look very different and still be just as meaningful.

  5. Great tips for quiet time, Teri. This is certainly something I struggle with! I’m repinning your pin from the AWI volunteer board and also going to add it as a resource on my blog. Love your inspiring articles! Kim

  6. I just stumbled upon this post as I was reading another one of your posts…what great wisdom you have shared here, Teri. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you…seriously.


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  2. […] 10 Tips for a Great Quiet Time “Spending time in the Word is important … but how that happens and for how long on any given day?  I’m just not sure that is quite as big a deal to God as it seems to be to us sometimes.” […]

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  4. […] Time. I need to put these tips into practice now. My quiet time could use some improvement. Visit Terri Lynne Underwood to read the full post. (Yes, you can get there from Pintrest, but I know just a week ago I wasn’t […]

  5. […] This one is so important.  Be generous and gracious with yourself.  God isn’t displeased with you if you don’t do a major Bible study during the summer months.  These months of trips to the beach and catching fireflies are opportunities to experience the freedom of lowering our self-imposed expectations.  Maybe you’ll only manage to read a verse or two a day this summer . . . but if you trust God to change you through those verses, He will.  And isn’t that really all any of us want?  To be changed by Him? {For more on this idea, you might want to read 10 Tips for a Great Quiet Time.} […]

  6. […] I want to encourage you to read your Bible and I try to offer suggestions for finding the time to do it … but if you haven’t slept in two weeks because you’ve been taking care […]

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