We all know we should have daily quiet time with God… but sometimes it’s hard to just… do it. Somehow life gets hectic and urgent and distracting. Here are some ways that help me to be better (I’m by no means perfect) at having daily quiet time.
Figure out what time of day works best
For me, it’s morning. I think better, I’m fresher, and it helps set the tone for the day. Plus, I have the least distractions (people texting me, babies needing me, appointments, etc.) Some people do best at night time or nap time. It doesn’t matter when so long as you find a good time where you can be consistent. There’s no shortcut to building a habit. You just have to do it over and over again until it finally becomes habit.
Make a plan – before you sit down to study
If you know what you’re going to do and already have a course charted out, it’s SO much easier to sit down and study. Often, we just get overwhelmed by choices. Do we study a topic? A book? Read through a book written by another Christian? All of the above? None of the above? Pretty soon you’re down the rabbit hole, browsing Amazon, Pinterest and Facebook, all in search of a “good” Bible study while you Bible waits, unopened and unused, beside you.
Make that choice beforehand. And if it doesn’t seem to work, just change your plan.
Here are some ideas about your “plan”
*choose a reading plan (most churches have one. If yours doesn’t, ask your preacher or google “daily Bible reading plans.” There are so many resources out there)
*Choose a topic to study. It’s ok to be a positive topic (grace, love, mercy), but make sure you also balance that with something you need to work on (using wholesome language, having good thoughts, getting along with others). Look up all the passages that have that word (or words) in them. Read each one in its context, highlighting key phrases. See what you need to do. Write it down. Pray it. Picture it happening and think of times when you could put that into practice.
*Choose a book written by another Christian. Read through the chapter and when they mention a scripture, STOP and look it up. Read it aloud. See how it relates to the topic. Write down other passages you think apply as well. Don’t have an idea of a good book? I’ve got lots of suggestions – just email me! (firstname.lastname@example.org)
*Choose a book of the Bible. Read through it several times. Notice what is repeated – what themes there are. Highlight each theme in a different color. Memorize passages of scripture. Don’t think you can memorize? Challenge your kids to memorize Scripture. You will find that as you work with them on a memory verse, it will slowly sink into your mind as well.
*Go over your notes from other Bible classes, sermons and studies. We almost never “get” anything the first time, and you will find that those Bible classes and sermons start sinking in deeper when you go back over your notes, praying where you need to and looking up and meditating on Scriptures as you go.
Find someone to keep you accountable
If you read your Bible in front of your kids enough, they will start asking “Why aren’t you reading your Bible while you drink coffee today, Mom?” Or if your kids aren’t around, find someone else who will check in on you. This can be an older Christian mentor or a Christian peer, someone who is in the trenches with you and also needs someone to help hold them accountable. Text them and answer their texts… honestly. It’s better to get SOME Bible than NO Bible at all.
Pray about it
We seem to have this backwards notion about prayer. We pray for ourselves, our kids, our friends who are sick… but often we forget to pray for our own spiritual growth! And isn’t that exactly what God is focused on? If God can help you through sickness and trials, He can certainly help you grow spiritually by building a daily habit of being in the Word!
No one starts out by running a marathon (if they do, they might collapse and go to the ER!). They have to train themselves, starting small, bit by bit building up.
Or, as my dad says,
How do you eat an elephant?
One bite at a time….
You don’t have to sit down for 45 minutes of prayer and Bible study today. That’s a great goal – and a goal you can achieve, but you’re not going to start there. And that’s ok.
Sit down and read a short devotional. Pray over the scripture it gives. And build from there. Today might last only 3 minutes. Maybe tomorrow will be 5.
Maybe next month you’ll be up to 15 minutes a day. That’s the way growth works.
So, what’s your quiet time like today? Could it improve? I know mine can. I pray we can grow together.