There’s an old Gospel hymn that starts out, “Read your Bible every day.” Time spent reading God’s word and listening to the insight of the Spirit at work in our hearts is a key ingredient in getting to know God better. A regular Quiet Time is the training ground in which we learn to listen to God with confidence.
But sometimes life doesn’t seem to cooperate.
The baby wakes too early, the kids are sick, the house is a wreck, and a neighbor has a need. The busy chaos of life seems to swirl in our heads and finding time to be still and quiet seems impossible.
Some days are just that way–it’s the free-for-all frustration zone. We all have them.
God knows our schedules, challenges, and motivations better than we do. He doesn’t need our excuses, because He knows and He cares. He knows our hearts.
I’m learning to trust Him with the process of spiritual growth, rather than feeling like it is all dependent on doing all the “right” things. Pray, read my Bible, memorize a verse, obey, keep a good attitude… These are few of the things that make that list in my head.
Grace is letting go of the feeling that we have to earn God’s approval with our religious behavior. His love and acceptance isn’t dependent on how well we perform the Christian life, but this can be a hard mindset to shake. It sneaks in the back door of my thoughts on those days I feel distant and disconnected with my Father.
If you would be more regular with your Quiet Time, if you had more faith when you pray… These are thoughts that lurk in the corners of my mind–out of sight, but easily heard.
1. We reach for consistency, but we walk in grace.
Something is better than nothing. I try to at least read a short verse or devotion on a regular basis. Some days I have time and enjoy it. Other days it is more like grabbing a coffee at the drive-through window at Starbucks.
A quick sip and I’m on my way.
Cup in my hand, I sip my coffee as I do other things. One day, I realized that I could do the same thing with my time in God’s word–sip on it as I go about my day.
Get more out of your time with God by trying a few simple tips for continuing the conversation into the practicalities of your day.
2. Keep Talking
Later in the day, mentally re-visit your Quiet Time conversation with God. Continue the conversation. If you like games, call it the “Can I Remember?” game. What did you talk with God about this morning?
Look for connections linking God’s truth with what is going on in your day. Can you remember the thought, the topic, or part of a verse you read?
One of the roles of the Holy Spirit is to bring to our remembrance God’s Word. We can develop spiritual habits to cooperate and actively participate in this process. If you can remember what you were talking about, you can continue the conversation with God wherever you are, whatever you’re doing.
3. When You Miss a Day
On those crazy days you don’t have time to sit still to read Scripture, you can find time to continue the conversation from yesterday while you are doing something else.
Continue to reflect on and pray about the last thing you learned. Look for connections between what you recently learned and what’s going on in your life. You could try this while waiting in line, completing a menial task, or taking a walk. You could even share your thoughts with a friend and include them in the conversation.
4. Glance Back and Pray
Begin each Quiet Time by glancing back at yesterday’s content. Begin your prayer with a brief comment from the previous day before asking God to teach you today. Each time we review a truth or insight, we are reinforcing it. Personally, my brain is like a colander with too many holes for information to leak away. I need lots of repetition to hang on to truth.
Here’s a few examples:
Lord, thank’s for reminding me ________.
Lord, I praise you for ________.
Lord, help me to ________.
Try one of these easy ways to get more out of your time with God. Let me know how it works!
Get more out of your time with God by trying a few simple tips for continuing the conversation.