Adapted in part from “How to Have a Quiet Time” by Adrian Rogers and The Coaching Center
“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” – Mark 1:35
A Quiet Time is essential for our personal growth and vitality. The Quiet Time is a time of focus on cultivating your relationship with God by hearing from Him through the Word of God and communing with Him through prayer. Any relationship you have will only be as strong as the time that you spend with the other person. The same is true in our relationship with God. If we don’t spend consistent time with Him, we will feel distant and indifferent to Him.
I want this area to be crystal-clear in your mind! This practice is not only for you in enriching your spiritual life, but as a strategic Christian to see the opportunities you will have to influence and encourage others. If it is true that only 15% of Christians have a daily Quiet Time, we need to be the catalyst to see this discipline developed in those that we care for. I believe that the vast majority of problems that Christians face can be resolved or managed if the Quiet Time is in place. Without it, a believer cannot bear fruit (John 15).
Christianity is not a legal relationship, it is a love relationship. This notion of Quiet Time should be viewed as an opportunity to connect with God and not just another time obligation. It is Jesus Himself who makes you like Him, but you must spend the time with Him to be changed (2 Cor. 3:18) into His image. I want to give you the key factors for spending some quiet time with Him each day.
The key is consistency. One thing you must do if your Quiet Time is to succeed is to keep on keeping on! If you miss lunch, do you quit eating altogether? Of course not! If you miss a meal and are hungry, that only encourages you to make eating a priority. If you miss your Quiet Time one day, start again the next day. Realize that some Quiet Times will be more meaningful than others. Don’t expect every Quiet Time to be a spiritual high. If possible, have one or two prayer partners to encourage you. Be honest with one another. Confess to one another when you miss a day. Support one another in prayer and discuss ways you can each be more consistent in having a Quiet Time.
If you have trouble getting up on time, analyze the problem. Are you going to bed early enough? Should you change some things about your daily schedule? If you don’t feel like getting out of bed, put one foot on the floor and go from there. Ask yourself, “If I stay in bed and miss my Quiet Time, how will I feel about it this afternoon? Tonight? Tomorrow?”
Jesus spent time with His Heavenly Father, seeking fellowship, strength, and guidance (Mark 1:35). If God’s Son needed to consistently spend time with Him, how much more do you need to spend time with Him? Having a Quiet Time, you will become more like Christ as you follow His example and as you receive His power through prayer and the Word to grow and mature in your faith!
The Proper Period
You must find the right time. Your quiet time should last at least half an hour. It should be your very best time. Don’t give the Lord your leftovers-when you are tired or distracted. And don’t try to find time – make time, and make it a priority. You can’t have a close relationship with anyone on the fly, squeezing in a few moments here and there. Again, consistency and discipline is the key.
Your goal should be to have a Quiet Time every day. Some days you may find it difficult to get the time in. You will find a strength and change as you do this consistently! I suggest that you meet with God early in the day. Psalm 5:3 says, “… in the morning will I direct my prayer unto Thee, and will look up.” You don’t take the trip and then read the map, do you? Spend time alone with God to begin your day. Often when we think we will have our Quiet Time later in the day is doesn’t happen because we get distracted or too tired. Make it a priority!
My Quiet Time will be at ______ o’clock each day
The Proper Preparation
A Quiet Time is fellowship with a holy God. You may not find the time meaningful because you are not prepared for it. There are a few things you can do to be prepared for this time. First, be physically alert. Find a time when the cobwebs are out of your mind and you can think clearly. Second, be mentally aware. Be focused, and know He’s there. Emotion doesn’t really have all that much to do with it. And third, be morally prepared by being pure and clean. Some people don’t have a Quiet Time because they feel uncomfortable looking God in the face with sin in their lives. If that is the case, be honest with God, confess your sin and by faith work on getting reconnected with Him through Quiet Time.
The Proper Place
Find a place where you can focus. Jesus said enter into your closet and pray (see Matthew 6:6). That simply means find a place of isolation where you can shut the door on the world and open the windows to heaven. Jesus sought out places where He could be alone (Mark 1:35), and so should you.
My Quiet Time will be ________________________________
The Proper Provisions
In order to have an effective Quiet Time, you need the right tools. Here are some tools I use:
- A Readable Bible – Invest in one with plenty of room to jot notes in the margins. Please note that the Quiet Time should be primarily for reading, mediating and studying the Bible, not Christian books or listening to sermons. I encourage reading books and listening to sermons, but it is the Bible that should be our focus in the Quiet Time because it is powerful (Heb. 4:12) and doesn’t return empty but accomplishes what He wants. (Isaiah 55:11)
- A Prayer Journal – Expect God to give you something and write it down. Also use it to record things you’re praying about. This is a great tool because you can review what you have learned and find it easily.
The Proper Procedure
Finally, I recommend some procedures to follow in your quiet time:
- Get still and quiet. The Bible says in Psalm 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God.” Focus your mind on Him. Calm down, relax, and recognize His presence. Don’t rush- enjoy. Take a deep breath and focus your thoughts on the Lord.
- Maintain flexibility. There is no one way to have a Quiet Time. Depending on the day and issues in your life, you may include any number of elements in your Quiet Time. Some days you may spend more on reading, others on prayer. Remember it is a relationship that you are developing, not a ritual.
- Get into the Word of God. It’s better to start by reading the Bible than it is to start in prayer. It is more important for you to hear from God, even than for God to hear from you. God already knows all about you, but you need to know a lot more about Him. You can choose to read through the plan on the sermon outline, the Daily Bread plan, the app YouVersion or there are a number of plans to read through the Bible in a year.
- Read the Bible for quality and not quantity. It’s good to have a goal to read the Bible through in a year, but that’s not the only purpose of your Quiet Time. It’s to soak in the Word and allow God to use it to change you and for Him to reveal Himself to you. Also, devotional books are wonderful, but make sure that your focus is on the Word, not what someone thinks about the Word. This is the time when you simply read the Bible with a teachable mind.
- Meditate. “Oh how love I Thy law! It is my meditation all the day.” Psalm 119:97. Meditation is to read a verse or verses, stop and ponder, think, mull over truth. As you focus on the Word of God and meditate, let it permeate you. Ask:
- Is there a command to obey?
- Is there a promise to claim?
- Is there a sin to avoid?
- Is there a lesson to learn?
- Is there a new truth to carry with me?
- Record what God has given you in your journal. Write down what God says to you and what He tells you to do. It doesn’t have to be flowery. You’re not writing it for publication or to impress other people.
- Begin to share out of your quiet time. God did not make us to be reservoirs; He made us to be conduits. Tell others what is God is showing you.
- Memorization can also become a vibrant part of your Quiet Time. Choosing either a section of Scripture or selecting verses from your reading or on a particular subject and memorizing them can add a dynamic element to your retention during the rest of the day.
- Finally, obey what God tells you. Your spiritual train is running on two rails. One is revelation and the other is obedience. And if either rail stops, your train stops. Learn to obey the Word of God.
Now you’re ready to pray. When you pray, pour out your soul. Be natural and honest with God. Tell Him how you feel. Pray out loud. It keeps your mind on track and enables you to stay focused.
- Praise (Psalm 34:1) Praise is closely related to thanksgiving, but there is a difference. Praise is adoring God for who He is. Thanksgiving is thanking God for what He has done. Praise is showing love to God; thanksgiving is expressing gratitude. God is to be praised for His character. He is to be thanked for His actions. Begin your prayer by praising God. For example, “I love You, God. I praise You for being who You are.”
- Confession (1 John 1:9)
- Ask the Lord to make you aware of any sins that are hurting your fellowship with Him.
- Confess each sin individually and specifically to the Lord.
- Agree with God that the sin is wrong.
- Express your desire to avoid these sins in the future. Claim by faith His forgiveness.
- Right the wrong to whatever extent you can.
- Accept by faith the fact that you are totally cleansed (1 John 1:9)
- Thanksgiving (Psalm 75:1)Express your thankfulness for specific things. Cultivate a general attitude of thankfulness whatever the circumstance (1 Thessalonians 5:18). It may be helpful to journal a list of things you are thankful for and review them.
- Intercession – Praying for Others (1 Samuel 12:23) Pray for the needs of other people. Prayer is a powerful tool to help others and to see God respond to the needs in others lives. In your mind draw together God and the person in need. God’s grace will meet the needs of that person.
- Petition – Praying for Yourself (Psalm 71:1-4) There is plenty of biblical support for praying for yourself. You should not pray selfishly (James 4:3) but pray according to God’s Word for your life and circumstances.
- Pray for spiritual growth.
- Pray for character qualities you know that the Lord wants to develop in you.
- Pray for your material needs.
- Share with God the desires of your heart and trust Him to respond in the best possible way.
Using Prayer Lists
Prayer lists can provide a guide and a record of daily prayers for others and for tasks God wants you to accomplish. (Include date, prayer concerns, special requests and answers.) Using these lists, you will be able to focus your prayers on a particular group or area of need each day of the week.
Committing yourself to a daily Quiet Time will enrich your personal life and increase your ability to lead and impact others. Your commitment to pray for others and your love for the Word will become the rich fertile soil out of which God will use you as He calls you to action!!!