Have a consistent quiet time.
I’d imagine it’s one of the top ten new year’s resolutions by Christian women. We say it and we mean it. But, if I were guessing, I’d say there’s a whole bunch of us who say it and mean it but really have no idea how to have a quiet time or why it matters.
If that’s you, you’re in the right place.
THE HOWS & WHYS OF A QUIET TIME
I’ve learned something over the years of teaching the Bible, leading in women’s ministry, and mentoring both girls and women — this quiet time thing doesn’t come naturally to us. And we’re always afraid we’re doing it wrong.
But here’s what else I’ve learned as I’ve continued to faithfully pursue time in the Word and prayer daily — it’s not nearly as complex as we often make it. And, let’s be really honest — Instagram has only heightened our insecurities. When we look at the beautiful pages others have created in their journaling Bibles, our own scratched out notes can seem pretty un-compelling. And when we read all the insights others are gaining and sharing, it’s easy to begin to believe we just aren’t smart enough or godly enough to really glean anything from the Word.
There is nothing wrong with Bible journaling. There’s nothing wrong with sharing what we’re learning. And there’s nothing wrong with quiet time images on IG. I do all of those things. But, and this is HUGE, if those things become the goal of our quiet times — we’ve missed the boat!! And if looking at all those things keeps you from actually having a quiet time, delete the apps and stop looking at the images. Seriously.
So, now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s get to the nitty gritty about quiet times. I hope this post simplifies and clarifies some things for you.
First of all, it’s important to understand there is a difference between a quiet time and Bible study. This is where most of us get tripped up. We look at our already chaotic mornings and we think, “There is no way I can spend an hour studying the Greek and Hebrew. I can barely get out the door with two shoes that match.” Girl, I feel you! Let me give you this HUGE word of encouragement — you don’t have to do the Beth Moore study at 4 am in order to have a quiet time. Yes, Bible study is important and we need it. But we also need to spend some time just dwelling in the presence of the Lord. That’s what your quiet time should be.
Second, there isn’t a perfect quiet time. Period. Anyone who says you can have one is lying. We can’t have a perfect quiet time because we aren’t perfect. But we can commit to spending time with the One who is perfect. Let go of all your expectations and keep reading!
HOW to have a quiet time
Here’s what you need to determine in order to have a quiet time. Just three things:
Specific place — Where will you do it?
Identifying where you will meet with the Lord helps you focus. Currently I have my quiet time at my big round table/desk in my office. But I’ve done it in at the dining room table, sitting in a comfy chair by my favorite window, and even sitting on the couch while my daughter watched “Little Bear” when she was little. A specific place gives us a settling point. We can keep our “stuff” there and let our family know when we are in that spot, we’re meeting with God. Choosing a specific place may take some time … you may have to try out a few places in order to find your spot. But do it! It makes a difference.
Specific time — When will you do it?
There isn’t a most holy time to meet with the Lord. Throughout Scripture we see people engaging in prayer throughout the day. But there is something powerful about spending time with the Lord first thing in the morning. This is why it’s important to know that Bible study and quiet time aren’t the same thing — because mornings are frantic for most of us. But carving out 15 minutes to spend in prayer, reading, and reflection is the most effective way to begin each day with a heart focused on the Lord.
Specific plan — What will you do?
Ahh, here’s the part where comparison can really get us. We see all the options and women who are doing four and five studies and devotions every morning and we are ready to give up before we even start. Good news — your plan can be (and probably SHOULD be) simple. For 2018, I’m reading the Bible chronologically (about 3-4 chapters a day) and using Paul David Tripp’s devotional, New Morning Mercies. That’s it. I will be teaching and participating in several Bible studies throughout the year and I may add some of that to my morning routine, but for me, the daily standard is those two things. Maybe you want to read through the BIble this year. Go for it! Maybe you want to use a She Reads Truth reading plan. Maybe you’re in the #girlMOMS group on Facebook and will be using the reading plans that coincide with our prayer calendars. Maybe you’re going to use My Utmost for His Highest as your devotional reading. Or maybe you’ll do a combination of several throughout the year.
The big thing is to know what you’re going to do before you sit down! So have a plan, even if it’s just a plan for January and then you’ll have a new plan for February.
WHY to have a quiet time
Now that we’ve identified how to do this quiet time thing, let’s consider why we need it. What’s the goal?
Over the years, I’ve found there are three things I want from my morning quiet time. Sometimes I may gain more but these three are the foundation for me, the things that have changed the course of my days and the course of my life.
First — Listen.
Start with listening. This can happen several ways but it begins with prayer. Ask God to speak to you through His Word. As you read your Bible and your devotion, pay attention to what God is revealing specifically to you.
Second — Learn.
Make notes about what you’re learning. Over the years this has taken different formats but currently I am using a small planner and making a note each day about what passages I read and then what stood out to me. Some days I write a verse down. Some days a prayer. Some days a quote from the devotion. Some days I write out something new I understood or even a question I am asking. The point is to track what you’re learning. This is such a great way to look back and see how God has been at work in you.
Here’s where the rubber meets the road. What will you do with what you’ve heard and learned? How will you put it into action? Launching is a simple way to think about applying the truths God has revealed. For example, if you’re reading in Proverbs about the value of a fitting word, launching simply means identifying a specific person you can speak a fitting word to that day or asking God for an opportunity to speak encouragement to someone.
The most important thing I can tell you about a quiet time is this — it’s far less about what you do and far more about Who you’re meeting. Our Father simply wants to spend time with you. Our quiet time is one way we prioritize the call to abide.
Don’t make it hard … make it happen!
Affiliate links are included. I will receive a small commission if you purchase through them.
- Chronological Bible Reading Plan
- New Morning Mercies by Paul David Tripp
- She Reads Truth
- #girlMOMS Facebook group
- My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers
- Find even more resource recommendations in my Amazon store.