Quiet time. Devotions. Daily devos. Bible time. Prayer time. Bible reading. QT. O.O.O.W.G. (One On One With God, pronounced “ooowg”). If you’ve been a Christian any length of time you’ve probably at least heard one of these phrases. Hopefully you have your own, whatever you call it. It’s a time set aside to read your Bible and pray. If you are one who has a consistent discipline of doing this, good for you. Keep it up. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, or you do and you really struggle with it like I do, then keep reading.
I’m going to be totally transparent here; I have consistently sucked at this discipline. I’m really good and comfortable when it come to Bible study. But taking some time that is dedicated to seeking the Lord and prayer is much harder for me. That’s why I’m trying to create some processes that work for me. As a part of this I came up with these five things
you I need for a quality quiet time. Join me if you will. (There is a slide show and a Facebook Live video that Jess (my wife) and I did. We talked through the five points sharing thoughts and experiences. That is the source for this content. For more in-dept info, watch the video.)
Quiet times are different than Bible study. When you become a Christian you become a student of ancient history. Not in some dry academic sense. Your faith, your relationship with God is rooted in history and a cultures that goes back 6,000 years. You need to study it. You need to know it. Children in Jesus’ time memorized the first five books of the Bible in school. But quiet times are not for this.
Quiet times are an intentional sort of touch-base, check-in, get your marching orders for the day. That isn’t to say that you talk to God for 10 minutes and ignore Him the rest of the day and He you. We need to practice what the Jews call kavanah, walking in the Devine Presence at all times. But a quiet time is a dedicated time, a separate time for you and The Lord. Since you have a relationship with God it’s very much like the various relationships we have in life.
That is the purpose of your quiet time.
This is not a new idea. People have been doing devotions of some sort for centuries. But even before that, we read in the Bible about people having intentional time in dialog with The Lord.
To some this statement is going to sound silly, but it does not go without saying these days; God is really real. This is not just a belief system, or a moral code based on ancient myths that teach us wisdom for today that is no different from the Jedi or something. God is real. Through Jesus you and I can have a relationship with Him. Quiet times are just like spending time with your spouse, your kids, your best friend; real people.
That said, some might ask, “Why would anyone need a discipline or a habit to spend time with someone they love? Isn’t it disingenuous or forced to have a spiritual discipline and make yourself spend time with God?” Not to be too blunt, but this person has never been in a relationship long enough to understand. A relationship that starts with all the passion, all the enthusiasm, all the love and excitement can and will eventually fall into a routine at some point. That routine may slowly evolve over time. But with the responsibilities of a house payment, car payment, a job, kids, school, comes routine.
Deep and lasting love relationships are not based on the degree to which one feels passion, enthusiasm, or excitement. Those things play a part to be sure, but they are not the foundation. No, those kinds of relationships are built on self-sacrifice, devotion (see that?), commitment, and consistency. The purpose of those relationships is not what you get out of them, but what you put into them. More on this in a moment.
Having the mindset of expectation is also important. Do you hope or expect to hear from God? When I get up in the morning I talk to my wife and I expect to hear something back. I don’t wake up thinking, “I hope Jess talks to me after I read a note she left me and I talk to her face.” The only time I don’t expect it is if she’s mad at me or I’m mad at her in which case I don’t even want to talk to her nor she to me. Relationship has broken down. It happens, and it can be fixed because of the solid foundation.
Lastly, we need the mindset that a relationship with God has many different faces and facets, so it will look and feel differently at times.
Quiet time is when we check in with our Husband, our King, our Father, our Mentor.
As we spend time in the word, it is as though we are putting deposits in a bank. Jesus said that there will be a time when the Holy Spirit will bring to our remembrance the things that He said (John 14:26). The thing is, He can’t bring to our remembrance things that we never read or heard or learned in the first place. He can’t draw from an empty bank account. That’s why devotions and Bible study are so important.
As we develop these habits and skills we are being equipped to teach others not only the things we learn, but the discipline and process of devotions. We are in a 2,000 year old relay race. Jesus handed it off to His disciples and commanded them (Matthew 28:19-20) to hand it off to others, all the way down to us. I wonder which disciple connects me to Jesus? Hm. Now we have a responsibility to hand it off to others. Hence, this blog.
We are also being made ready for everything else in life. As you develop and experience your discipline of quiet times, you are taking in God’s word, you are praying, your are learning to hear from and trust God. This prepares you to be a reliable employee, a faithful spouse, a loving parent, and a devoted friend.
Some of these will resonate with some people but not with others. This isn’t meant to be a comprehensive “to-do” list. These are suggestions of things to try and see what fits.
I’m making this its own little point because it’s an important one. This is the one that makes or breaks it for many people. Why? Because they try one thing in one way, they way they’ve been taught, the way it’s always been done, and it either never works for them or they get bored with it.
Deep breath in; it’s OK to try something else. Breath out.
Remember at the beginning I said that I kind of sucked at quiet times and I was creating my own processes to help me? Well, Desert Island is one of them, and I’d like you to have it and use it as well. It’s a simple five-step process that you can do in 15 minutes, and expect to hear from God as well as be used by Him to speak to others. I’m not selling it, this is not a sales pitch. I think this has some pretty cool potential to help build some new habits, and perhaps rekindle some old flames. Go check it out and give it a try. If you like it, share the page with others.
Another resource I’m working on is called, The Rhythm Journal. It’s still in the early stages of development, but it’s a more guided, more in-depth devotional tool. I’m super excited about that one.
If you’ve made it this far, please do something for me; let me know what you’re doing for your quiet times and how its working. Share your story. Has this part of your walk with Jesus always been a struggle? Why? Is it easy? What have you tried? Let’s learn from each other.
Check out the slides and the video at the end of this post, as well as the links below. Thanks for reading!
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