I have a friend who is super practical. She doesn’t want a theory answer of how you do something, or a vague answer of how you are doing, she wants specifics. She wants details. She wants actual answers. She wants practical steps.
I absolutely love this friend because while I sometimes won’t ask a question for fear of embarrassment, she will. It really doesn’t matter what we are talking about – cleaning, parenting, marriage, spirituality, church life – she is willing to ask the questions.
She asks, “What does that look like for you?” “How do you do that?” “What do you mean by that?”
I’m always thankful that she asks. From her being willing to ask, I now am willing to ask for specifics, for practical steps, for wisdom from someone who has walked it before.
A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to lead a group with the focus on personal quiet time. In that group, there happened to be three really practical ladies who wanted specifics! I loved it!
I certainly do not have all of the answers, but I thought I would share with you about my personal quiet time so that you can have some practical ways to spice up your quiet time if it has become a bit, dare I say, boring!
For me, I grew up watching my mom have her quiet time at the kitchen table each morning. I dabbled in quiet time throughout high school and college but it wasn’t until the Lord woke me up from my spiritual sleep that I began to truly pursue time spent with the Lord.
As I prepared for the group that I was leading a few weeks ago, I asked myself what were some of the specific things that had really shaped growth in my quiet time over the years. I recognized four elements that had become essential for my quiet time to not only be engaging, but also purposeful in moving me deeper in my relationship with my Savior.
Maybe some of this will inspire you or help you to go deeper…
It is based off of Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God.”
Such a simple verse, but packed with the four essential elements for an engaging and purposeful quiet time.
Element #1 – Stillness
Oh my, is this one tricky or what?! From the moment I wake up in the morning, my mind immediately starts processing all of the things that need to get done that day. There are typically texts and emails that need responding to, lunches that need to be packed, dinner that needs to be prepped, the list could go on, but a key to having an engaging and purposeful quiet time is stillness, so what do I do?
- I keep my phone on the opposite side of the table or not in the room at all. Easier said than done! But necessary for me. I do use an app on my phone occasionally as a guide to my prayers and as a way to keep track of things, but having it far from me keeps me from grabbing it and scrolling.
- I have a blank piece of paper beside me so that when something pops up in my mind, such as something that needs to get done that day, I can write it down. That way I am not trying to remember it afterwards, it is written down and therefore moved to the side of my mind until I am done talking with Jesus!
- Do it before the kids wake up. Even though my kids think they are being silent, they aren’t! They are loud, they want my attention and they distract me so I have to do my quiet time before they wake up. This is a sacrifice, because oh man, my bed is warm and cozy, but it’s a small sacrifice. I would rather have momentary discomfort, than distance between Jesus and myself.
- Do it in a space that does not demand my attention. What do I mean by that? I mean if I do it in the kitchen, then empty lunch boxes are screaming at me. If I do it in the family room, toys that need to be put away are yelling at me. If I do it in my bedroom, laundry that needs to be folded hollars, “Come tend to me!” I do my quiet time each morning in my dining room, a space that does not demand my attention.
- Do it in a space that does not keep you tired. Like I said, getting up early in the morning is a sacrifice. If I were to try to have my quiet time on a soft couch or recliner, I would fall back asleep! I have a blanket to keep me warm, but I sit at a table, upright, in a chair that doesn’t allow me to slump over and fall back asleep while I’m praying!
Element #2 – Posture
I share some more about this in the post Coffee and Jesus, but one of the things I do before going downstairs each morning to even start my quiet time is to come before the Lord on my knees. If I truly want to have a heart of surrender and an attitude of humility and submission to the Lord and His will, then one way for me to do that is by putting my body in that position. So I get out of bed, walk to the top of the steps and get on my knees and start praying. This portion of my quiet time primes the pump for the rest!
Element #3 – Knowing or Remembrance
I think sometimes we forget how incredible it is that Jesus made a way for us to talk with and be in relationship with the God of the universe. I mean, what?! How awesome is that?!
For me, a huge part of having an engaging and purposeful quiet time is remembering or knowing who it is I am speaking with. I am not having a conversation with just anyone, I am having a conversation with my God, my Creator, my Savior, my Redeemer, my King! He is the Lord Almighty, the Sovereign God, the Prince of Peace, the Lord of Lords, the Holy Spirit, the Alpha and Omega. He is my healer, my comforter, my refuge, my strength, my rock, my salvation. He is my joy, my peace, my hope, my song. He is the light in the darkness. He is all sufficient. He is in control.
I am speaking with the one who gave me LIFE!
When I remember those things by speaking them to Him, when I remind myself of who I know Him to be, and when I remind myself of who He says I am, an adored daughter of the King, then I am in awe of my God and the conversation flows.
Element #4 – His Word
There is one last element that is essential also, His Word! I have absolutely fallen in love with the Bible and reading His Word. One of the ways is by actually praying it! If I want to grow in my relationship with Him, then I must be using His Word as my guide and as a way to engage with Him.
A few resources that have really enhanced my pray-reading of God’s Word are:
- Praying the Bible, Donald S. Whitney – seriously excellent!
- ESV Scripture Journal – a way to take notes as I am studying and praying the scriptures
- Praying God’s Word Day by Day, Beth Moore – a quick, conversational style way to use scripture in prayer
- Prayer Mate app – allows me to keep track of things I have prayed
- Bible Study Fellowship – an in depth Bible study that incorporates a four-fold approach to studying God’s Word by answering questions, discussing in small groups, listening to teaching and exploring Bible commentary. It’s amazing and we are blessed to have one locally. Find out more at bsfinternational.org.
So, the essential elements are: stillness, posture, knowing and His Word. I can assure you that with being still and knowing that He is God, you can enter your quiet time with full expectation that He will meet you!
Go and pursue Him!
“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:4-5
God, may we abide in you.