In all my high school days and even now, I automatically cringe at the sound of these two words together. Somehow, anytime we talked about quiet time in church, youth, small group Bible studies, I found myself on the insecure and inadequate train. I found myself berating myself for not being perfect and persistent in my daily quiet time. I also found myself wondering if those preaching at me about quiet time were as consistent in their own quiet time as they presented themselves to be.
If we're all honest, none of us are completely perfect at keeping a quiet time. We're busy, we don't have any time, we don't know what to do in our quiet time, we're scared. We have a million and one excuses for not having a regular quiet time.
Despite my imperfection and craziness, I have learned a lot about quiet times and how important they are. The following list are things that I have learned about quiet times but that doesn't mean that they work for you. We're all different and we are all at different places in our walk with Christ. God also requires different things for each of us. With that being said, please do not feel like this list is the end all and be all about quiet times.
1. 5 minutes is better than 0 minutes.
Despite what you may have heard your whole entire life, some time in God's Word is better than no time in the Word. Even just reading a single Bible verse a day and meditating on it throughout the day is better than not reading anything. Satan can be defeated with a single breath of God. A single Bible verse has the same power.
2. Morning quiet times are ideal but night time is just as good.
I am a morning person. I wake up early and I am ready to take on the day. So, most of the time, I get my quiet time done in the morning so I can think about it throughout the day. However, I know that we are all busy and not everyone is a morning person like me. If my day is crazy and for some reason I don't have time to do my quiet time, I usually do it before I go to bed. That way, I am thinking about the love and grace and mercy of God as I lay down to sleep. And when I wake up, I am ready to go again.
3. You are not a bad Christian or "fake" if you have a hard time keeping a regular quiet time.
This has been one of the hardest truths for me to learn. If I said, "I'm going to read a chapter of Genesis a day," and I didn't read a chapter every single day, I felt like I had failed God and I was a fake. I felt like a phony because I hadn't read my Bible daily like a good and true Christian did.
If you haven't read your Bible today, you are not a failure, phony, or a hypocrite. Sweet friend, did you hear me? You are NOT a failure, phony, or hypocrite. You are dearly loved, saved by grace, chosen by God himself.
Whether or not you read your Bible today does not change what Scripture says about you. It doesn't.
This should not, however, be an excuse to never read your Bible. Reading your Bible and having some alone time with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords is the most vital element of your relationship with Christ. Religion says, "Read your Bible or else." Relationship says, "Read your Bible and learn more about Me, see My heart, and follow Me." See the difference?
When we're in a romantic relationship with someone, we want to learn all that we can about that person. We study them. The same concept can be applied to our quiet time. That time is when we study Christ and learn Him because we love Him and want our lives to point to Him.
4. Studying something from Scripture you are interested in makes a quiet time that much more fulfilling.
This is also something else that I have majorly struggled with. Majorly. It's tempting to just open the Bible and read whatever verse my finger lands on. It's also tempting to just stick to Bible studies where other people have given you homework and relying on what they have to say about the Word.
Something that I have been doing for the past few years is going through books of the Bible. I have learned SO much from doing this. Whenever I finish a book, I spend a week or two weeks praying and asking God where He wants me to go next in Scripture. He usually shows me where I should be and then I do a little bit of research on the book before I start to get some context on the book itself.
Then, I go through and read a paragraph or a section of a chapter of the book. Once I have read my portion for the day, I go through each verse and write down whatever God is saying to me about that verse and maybe how He is applying it to my life today.
Here's an example:
A few days ago I read Psalm 42 and went through each verse and wrote in my journal what I thought God was saying through these verses. Here is what I wrote about verses 5-8.
"Though sorrows and tears come and sometimes overwhelm me, Your faithfulness sustains me. Your love revives me and fills my soul. I am overflowing with Your grace and Your presence. Your love washes over me like the waves of the ocean."
I also do the Bible studies with the homework but I feel like I am more connected and in sync with God by going through a book and allowing Him to teach me.
5. Prayer is vital to having a healthy quiet time/relationship with God.
I cannot stress the importance of prayer enough. Prayer is SO important to having a personal relationship with Christ. I don't think I am eloquent enough to adequately describe prayer so I'm going to let some of the greatest people describe it for me:
"I pray because I can't help myself. I pray because I'm helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time - waking and sleeping. It doesn't change God - it changes me."
- C.S. Lewis
"Any concern too small to be turned into prayer is too small to be turned into a burden."
- Corrie Ten Boom
"I have so much to do that I shall have to spend the first three hours in prayer."
- Martin Luther
"The greatest thing anyone can do for God and man is pray. It is not the only thing; but it is the chief thing."
- S.D. Gordon
"The essence of meditation is a period of time set aside to contemplate the Lord, listen to Him, and allow Him to permeate our spirits."
- Charles Stanley
6. Commitment is what will drive you. If you're not committed or determined, your quiet time will not be regular or profitable.
The key thing to having a successful quiet time is commitment. Since I have committed to studying my Bible every day, a fire has grown within me. My desire and thirst for the Words of Scripture cannot be quenched. I can't get enough. If I could spend all day reading and studying and writing about Scripture alone, I would do it in a heart beat. I desire closeness with Christ Jesus and Scripture and prayer brings me closer to Him than anything else in this world.
"Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always."
1 Chronicles 16:11
I am currently a student learning more about life and Jesus' marvelous love and boundless grace.