Updated: Jan 29
By: Lizzie Williams
Spending time with God is extremely important! The world takes a lot from us and therefore we constantly need to be filled. The best source for this fulfillment is the source of all life and joy; it is God himself via his word and time spent with him. If we go to God, we will have a spring of water flowing from within us and we will never thirst again (John 7:37-39). Even more importantly, when we spend quality time with God, we get to know him better and our relationship becomes more intimate. However, I know that I’ve read devotions or even read my Bible and have not felt like I was filled. Or I prayed and felt like no one was listening. It isn’t always easy to have this super awesome time with God, especially when we are being weighed down by the world… or so I thought. Then, this past week I did something insane. I chose to give up Netflix and Hulu and use any time that I would have spent mindlessly staring at my laptop with God instead. I also figured that if I was to be spending so much time with God, I should be doing it in a way that would produce growth and create a deeper relationship with the Lord. Now, if you have a quiet time routine that works for you, that you truly feel like you grow from, then great! But if you are like I used to be, then you might need a little guidance.
So, the first step to creating an impactful quiet time with God is just creating time with God in general. I used to try to have my quiet time in the morning, but as the semester goes on it gets harder and harder to get out of bed in time to do so. I would read one chapter quickly and run out the door, not really taking time to understand or grow from what I read. I still try to read in the morning, either before I leave or on the bus, because I feel like it mentally prepares me for my day by changing my outlook on life. However, I now have my primary quiet time when I get home from class. What time of day works for you? Do you feel too busy to create time for God? If so, then I have a hard truth for you to swallow. We make time for the things and people in our life that are important to us. For example, if you have a boyfriend, you schedule times to hang out or go on dates because (hopefully) you care about him. In a similar way, if we care about God and our relationship with God, we must create time for him. Even Jesus, who I think you can argue was pretty busy with all of his miracles and discipling and such, took specific time to withdraw from everyone and everything and spend time alone with God (Luke 5:16). Maybe going to a certain space in your apartment/house/dorm or picking a time when you know your roommates won’t be home will help. Choose an environment that is quiet and good for vulnerability and growth.
Once you have a designated time to spend with God, one that isn’t rushed or filled with multitasking, it’s very important to posture your heart. What do I mean by this? I mean simply turn your thoughts away from the world and onto God. To be receptive to God, we need to clear our mind of the things of the world and open ourselves up to whatever God has to tell us. If our mind and our heart are full of the world, then there is no room for God. So empty all that junk out and mentally prepare to spend time with God. How do we do this? Personally, I like to get down on my knees, turn on worship music, and praise God. Thinking about how awesome God is clears my mind of all of the burdens of the world. Sometimes it just takes one worship song to get my heart in the right place, and sometimes I have to have a whole Elevation Worship concert in my room. Prayer is also another good way to posture your heart towards God. Possibly praying something like “ Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” would be good (Psalm 51:10). Maybe even worship and pray! You know yourself better than I do; it may be difficult and take more time to get in the right mindset or it may be easy and quick. Either way, don’t cheat out of this step. Make sure that you are ready to spend time with God!
After you feel that you are focused on God and receptive to what he has to say, then you are ready to dive into his word. Sometimes I know what I’m going to read, and sometimes I don’t. For example, I have been going through the book of Psalms so during my quiet time I would open to Psalms. While this may seem basic and boring, it created one of my best quiet times as the next chapter of Psalms that I was supposed to read related to me more than any scripture ever has. Or a different example would be that I sat down ready to read Psalms, but I felt called to begin Jeremiah, so I read that. It may be easier and you may be able to see better themes if you stick to one book, but ultimately read whatever you feel called to read. And once you start reading, don’t just read one chapter and be done. I challenge you to push yourself and take more time to really dive into the word. When the Bible was written, it wasn’t written as chapters and verses, it was written as books. Now, I know we don’t all have time to sit down and read all 150 chapters of Psalms, but if it is possible to read a whole book of the Bible, maybe consider doing that. This is easier with some of the shorter books, such as Philippians, Ephesians, and some of the other letters to the churches. However, if going through a whole book makes you feel rushed, then don’t do that. Whatever you do, make sure that you are really reading and understanding what is being said. If you don’t understand something, then pray about it and make a note of it to research or ask someone about later. What I’m trying to say is don’t just skim, really know what you are reading.
After I read, I like to journal. Doing this helps me to better understand what God just told me. Also, writing things down helps me remember and I can always come back to it again later to refresh my memory. Sometimes I pick a couple verses that stuck out to me to copy down and sometimes I just write whatever comes to mind. There is no right or wrong way to do this.
Now is the part I feel so convicted about because I had been skipping out on until recently: prayer. Reading the Bible is listening to God talk to you and prayer is how we respond. Talk to God about what you read and how you can apply it to your life. Be real, be vulnerable. You can trust God with whatever you need to say. This might also be a good time for some worship and praise or maybe even some repentance. You can tell him what you’re thinking or ask him to reveal more. Just take some time to really respond to God. I also find that writing down my prayers or saying them out loud helps me keep my mind from wandering off.
Lastly, I meditate. While this may sound weird, the Bible actually calls us to meditate on God’s word, day and night (Joshua 1:8). God calls us to “be still and know that [He is] God,” so that’s exactly what I try to do (Psalm 46:10). I lay on the floor as if I were bowing to God (you can sit, lay, or stand; just don’t fall asleep). Then, I clear everything out of my mind again except for thoughts about God. I like it to be silent when I do this, but I know some people play worship music. Again, it’s up to you. And then I just meditate and focus on God. Sometimes I clear my mind completely, listening for his voice and resting in his peace. I don’t set a timer, I just relax in the presence of God. Once I am done, I get up and I feel so refreshed!
As I said, this is only my way of quiet time, but there is no true “right” way to spend time with God. Some people like to dance, some people like to sing, and others do something completely different. Try some different things until you find what connects you to God the best. Just don’t skip out on time with God! My challenge to you is to spend at least thirty minutes or an hour every day this week with God. I know it sounds like a lot, but I promise you that it is so worth it. I’m going to do this as well and we are all going to come out feeling refreshed and full of joy! Have a blessed week!
Here’s my quiet time routine, but do what works best for you as long as it produces intimacy and growth.
Make time for God.
Posture your heart to be receptive to what he has to say. (i.e. worship or pray)
Read your Bible.
Respond. (i.e. pray or worship)
Go out and live for Jesus!
For a special treat at chapter, facebook message me your favorite thing about your quiet time!