There are myriad ways to “do a quiet time”. Many renowned pastors have written about it. Christian publishers have insight about it. I don’t claim to have the ultimate answer, but want to help simplify the process so that you can focus more on the time you spend with God, rather than the logistics of how to do it. For me, I define “having/doing a quiet time” as a structured, but personal, intimate time with God that involves aspects of praise, reading the Bible, and prayer.
Why should I do a quiet time?
The practice of a “quiet time” is reflected in Jesus’ life (Matthew 26:36, Mark 1:35, Luke 5:16). Jesus often retreated to pray and spend alone time with God, most often in the morning. If Jesus is spending all this time with His Father, when He is God Himself, how much more do we need God on a daily basis!
Ultimately, we should be doing quiet times because this is how our “inner self” is renewed day by day (my life passage and the inspiration for this blog, 2 Corinthians 4:16-18). When we come to God on a daily basis, we are able to surrender our burdens, and “not lose heart”. God helps us to see our lives through His perspective so that we see the things that are unseen.
How do I do a quiet time?
Like I mentioned earlier, there are a lot of ways to do a quiet time. Here is my personal way. This process has evolved over the last decade or so. I went through a phase where I was very detail-oriented and studied the Bible meticulously. I also went through a phase where having a quiet time meant I was trying to write new songs. As I grow in my faith, I’m realizing more that it’s more about listening to God, allowing Him to speak to me, than me trying to achieve something. The process I’ve listed below takes anywhere between 30-40 minutes for me.
- Prayer – Asking God to open up my heart to prepare to meet with Him, to hear Him, to be with Him
- Praise – I sing one or two songs, usually hymns, to remind me of who I am, and who God is
- Bible reading – I have been writing out the Bible, so I follow my monthly Bible writing plan. As I write, I read the passage through a few times
- Journal – I write whatever comes on my heart. It could be a written prayer. It could be a response to the passage I just read. It could be a drawing. I leave this time unstructured
- Prayer – I pray over what was read and written/drawn. I ask God to help me apply what I’ve learned from His word today
What if I miss a day?
I think one of the fears or drawbacks to daily quiet times is the fact that we will skip a day.. or two.. or a lot. If that’s you, it’s never too late to start it up again! Don’t wait until January 1 to make that “resolution”, only to stop in the middle of April. There were long stretches of months where I neglected to do my quiet time, too. I didn’t know how to get back in the swing of things.
First, remember that God’s mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23). Each day is a new chance to start it up again.
Second, remember that doing a quiet time reminds you of God’s faithfulness in your daily life. If I didn’t do my quiet times, sometimes I forget to see how God is working in my life. As I record prayers, thoughts, struggles, and joys, I see how I am growing closer to God, and how He is working in me.
Lastly, start shifting your mind to viewing quiet times as exactly that, and not a discipline that you have to achieve or check off the to-do list. God desires us and draws near to us when we call on Him. How amazing is that!
Please feel free to reach out if you have any thoughts or comments. I’d love to hear how you spend your quiet times with the Lord.