Quiet Time ("QT"): Aka "Daily
Devotions", "Personal Devotions," "The Morning Watch" - This term describes the
practice of having a daily appointment with the Lord, a regular period of
communion with God through Bible study, meditation and
prayer (e.g., see
Seven Minutes with God). The primary objective of
Quiet Time should be intimate fellowship with God. It
is the vital ingredient which seems to be missing in the lives of many
followers of Christ. For many saints, their Quiet Time is more "drudgery" than "delight!"
(Ps 37:4) Or they fall into the subtle trap of reading someone else's
devotional thoughts, to the neglect of focusing on the pure milk of God's
Word. There is nothing wrong with devotionals per se, but there is if they
are used as a substitute for personal time in God's Word.
Webster defines necessity
as that which is indispensable or that which is unavoidable.
While Quiet Time is an indispensable discipline for every believer,
unfortunately it is not one which is unavoidable. In fact we can
easily avoid a daily meeting with God for a variety of reasons, but
we dispense with this discipline to the detriment of our walk of
Henry Blackaby encourages us to...
Try not to
think of the time you spend with God as a duty. The purpose of a quiet
time is for you to get to know God. And as you come to know Him, you can
walk out of your special times with God enjoying a living relationship
with Him that you can cultivate all day long — throughout all your life.
Be still and know that I am God.
A common excuse for not practicing
(under grace) the discipline of a Quiet Time, is "I don't have enough
time." If you are too busy to have a quiet time, then you are too busy! A
daily time of communion with the King of kings is not just a nice
suggestion but it is a holy privilege which is absolutely essential for
every believer's spiritual growth and maturity! In fact, you know you are
in serious need of a Quiet Time when you don't have time! Jesus
speaking to His disciples said "Come ye yourselves apart to a desert
place, and rest a little." (Mk 6:31KJV) The Quiet Time is a place to "come
apart" from the world and rest in Jesus. "Jesus knows we must come
apart and rest awhile or else we may just plain come apart!"
Havner) When the Bible becomes a part of you (in your Quiet Time),
you'll be less likely to come apart! To be much like Christ, we must be
much with Christ. Attachment to Christ is the secret of detachment from
the world. And so although we must live in the world, we must draw our
strength from outside the world. As Charles Hummel wisely said "Adequate
time for daily waiting on God... is the only way I can escape the tyranny
of the urgent."
Only to sit and think
Oh what a joy it is!
To think the thought, to breathe the Name
Earth has no higher bliss.
Frederick W. Faber
Is God calling out to you in the
morning watch "Where are you?"
In God's original plan, we see He sought to have a personal relationship
with Adam, but sin entered the scene...
and Eve) heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool
of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of
the LORD God among the trees of the garden. Then the LORD God called to
the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” (Ge 3:8-9)
Patrick Morley writes that
man tells me that he doesn’t feel very close to God, the first question I
ask is, “Tell me about your devotional life.” Often the problem is just
If you think you are too busy for a
Quiet Time, consider Charles and John Wesley's mother
Susanna Wesley, who had nineteen
children. And yet in the middle of her busy day, she would sit down in a
chair and pull her apron up over her head and have her Quiet Time!
When the apron went up, the children knew mom was praying and reading her
Bible and they left her alone. While some question the veracity of this
story, if true, it is certainly convicting.
Remember that a daily Quiet Time
does not mark the end but the beginning of the
day. Our time with God in the morning (although any time can be
your quiet time) sets our stage for our time with men during the day. Our
time in the morning with God is not meant to be a ritual or a routine but
a relationship. We meet Christ at the Cross, and call that conversion.
We meet with Him "in the closet," and we call that conversation. At the
Cross we come to know Christ, and in the closet we come to know Him more
and learn to walk in the power of His Spirit.
To include the
Lord in our
daily routine often results in
seeing His divine activity at work.
Let me ask you...Does your
spiritual life lack power?
C H Spurgeon once said that "If we are weak in communion with God
we are weak everywhere." Do
you find yourself seemingly unable to resist temptations from your
besetting sin? Indeed, our sensitivity to sin and ability to resist it is
directly proportional to the nearness of our communion with Christ.
Our "power to live a new life
depends upon daily communion with the living Lord." (John
Eadie) Have you
noticed how quickly your Iphone loses its charge during routine
daily use? What about your spiritual life?
Beloved, Quiet Times are not
optional if we are to have our "spiritual batteries regularly recharged",
ready for the day's activities! Simply put, we must seek to spend
quality time with God, for
"Our ability to stay with God in our closet measures our ability to stay
with God out of the closet." (E
M Bounds) "If our lives and
ministry are to count for anything today, we must solemnly resolve
to make time for God (today)." (Vance
Moses demonstrates the
pattern of meeting with God...
used to speak to Moses face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend.
When Moses returned to the camp, his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a
young man, would not depart from the tent. (Ex 33:11, cp Nu 12:8, Dt
In everyday life, friends speak with each other face to face, clearly and
openly. "Face to face" speaks of intimacy, not that Moses actually saw the
face of God (cp Ex 33:18-23 with Jn 1:18). "Friend" in the Bible is
a covenant term (see
note #1) and
Even the pagan Aristotle understood this truth writing that a friend is
"One soul in two bodies." J Oswald Sanders once said "Every one of us is
as close to God as he has chosen to be."
Jehovah? This Jehovah Who spoke to Moses from the Cloud (Ex 33:9-10) is
most likely identified as the pre-incarnate Christ, the "Angel
of God (Jehovah)"
(see note) Who
moved in the cloud (cp Ex 13:21 and Ex 14:19, Ge 16:7; see related
Jehovah = Jesus)
The Pillar of the Cloud by Ronald B. Allen - Bib Sac
Why was David a man after God's own
heart (Acts 13:22)? Surely the opening words of this psalm give us a
My soul waits in
silence for God only;
From Him is my salvation.
There is a QUIET
Far from the rapid pace,
Where God can soothe my troubled mind.
Sheltered by tree and flow’r,
There in my quiet hour,
With Him, my cares are left behind.
Whether a garden small
Or on a mountain tall
New strength and courage there I find;
Then from this quiet place,
I go prepared to face
A new day with love for all mankind
FOR QUIET TIME
The right time is when you find the
time. The point is like the Nike commercial says "Just Do It!" That said,
there are a number of reasons to consider the early morning for one's
We are encouraged (actually
commanded) to imitate Jesus in 1Cor 11:1, so the question is did Jesus
have a time alone with His Father? While the following passage emphasizes
prayer, it clearly speaks of Jesus' communion with His Father which should
also be the
primary objective of our daily quiet time. Beloved, if Jesus felt the need
for time with His Father, how much more should we! (See Jesus' declaration
that He could do nothing "unless it is something He sees His Father
doing." Jn 5:17, 19, Jn 5:30, Jn 8:28 - all emphasize Jesus' dependence on
His Father and thus His necessity to meet with and hear from His Father! And as
our Elder Brother demonstrates, we have no less of a need to hear from our
Father in heaven. See related post on how to discern
THE WILL OF GOD)
And in the
early morning, while it was still dark, He arose and went out and departed
to a lonely place, and was praying there. (Mark 1:35, cp Mt 14:13, Lk6:12)
this OT passage which speaks prophetically of Messiah:
The Lord GOD
has given Me the tongue of disciples, that I may know how to sustain the
weary one with a word. He awakens Me morning by morning. He awakens My ear
to listen as a disciple. (Isa 50:4)
J D Jones
comments on Mark 1:35: I was once taken through the engineering shops in the
Devonport dockyard. I saw innumerable machines busy at various kinds of
work, most of them making considerable noise in the process. Then my
conductor took me to a room which by contrast was almost silent, where a
great engine was working smoothly and quietly. "This," said he, "is the
power-room." In that quiet room I found the secret of the multifarious
activities of the machines in the various shops. In Mk 1:32-34, Mark has
been showing us our Lord's various activities. In Mk 1:35 he takes us to
the "power-room." Back of all the activities of the synagogue and the
street lay a life of secret prayer. In communion with His Father, Jesus
refreshed and renewed Himself for further labour and toil amongst men. "A
great while before day"—Jesus made time for prayer! He snatched it from
His sleep. What an object-lesson as to the indispensable necessity of
prayer! We realize the obligation of service in these days, and
consequently we have become very "busy." But are we neglecting the
"power-room"? We must keep the balance true. We must never become too busy
had, according to Mk 1:35, "risen up a great while before day," and had
departed into a desert place to pray. He had stolen out while His
disciples were asleep. It was only when, with the dawning of the day,
those who had sick folk in the city, and who had not received Christ's
healing grace on the previous evening, began to knock at the door and
inquire for Him, that the disciples discovered He was not there. And then
they pursued—that is the Greek word—in hot haste after Jesus. Incidentally
let us notice what a tribute there is here to the character of Jesus.
These four disciples knew exactly where to look for Him. They had already
become acquainted with His prayer habits. They knew His love for quiet and
solitary communion. And so when He was missing, they went straight to the
place of prayer to look for Him. "They pursued after Him."
What an illustration this is
of the difficulties of communion!
can we turn aside," our hymn says, "for one brief hour of prayer." Jesus
could "scarcely turn aside." It was with difficulty He found His "quiet
time." Something or other—the clamor of the multitude, the cares of the
world—was always following Him even into the desert place. We know this
difficulty too. What between the claims of business and family, social and
church duties, we have no leisure for the "quiet time." Every hour we are
"pursued" by something or other, nevertheless, we must make time for
prayer. Meal times and prayer times, as the old saying puts it, are not
lost times. (Mark Commentary-Devotional)
Around us rolls the ceaseless tide
Of business, toil, and care;
And scarcely can we turn aside
For one brief hour of prayer.
Behold Us, Lord, a Little
We see Isaiah speaking
prophetically of Messiah's "Quiet Time"...
The Lord GOD
has given Me (Messiah) the tongue of disciples, that I may know how to
sustain the weary one with a word. He (the Lord God) awakens Me (Messiah)
morning by morning. He awakens My ear to listen as a disciple
(Hebrew - limmud = one taught, a learner- cf Lk 2:40, 47, 52, Heb 5:8).
So even Jesus had a Quiet Time
which shows us our great need for the same!
While He was clearly fully God, He lived His life in dependence on His
Father and the Holy Spirit (John 5:19, 30, 8:28 Lk 4:1, 14, Mt 4:1, Acts 10:38, etc) in order
to show us how to live our new life in Christ. If Jesus found it necessary
(priority, important) to meet privately with His Father, surely His
example is sufficient reason for us to imitate His pattern (1Cor 11:1,
1Jn 2:6, 1Pe 2:21-note).
Take time to be holy
Speak oft with Thy Lord
Abide with Him always
And feed on His Word
Take time to be holy
The world rushes on
Spend much time in secret
With Jesus alone
Daniel a man greatly used by
God had the lifelong OT equivalent of a "Quiet Time"
Daniel knew that the document was signed, he entered his house (now in his
roof chamber he had windows open toward Jerusalem); and he continued
kneeling on his knees three times a day, praying and giving thanks
before his God, as he had been doing previously. (Dan 6:10-note;
cp David's mention of three times a day in Ps 55:17)
Southern Baptist preacher
Robert G Lee used to say
If you wake up in the morning and don’t meet the devil face on, it just
means you’re headed in the same direction! (Ed: It follows that we
might be better prepared for the attacks from our Adversary and his
minions if we first have a
Coram Deo [R C Sproul] encounter!)
J. Hudson Taylor Missionary to China referring to
the value of quiet time in the morning once quipped...
You don’t tune up the instruments after
the concert is over. That’s stupid. It’s logical to tune them up before
This quote begs the question do I
"tune my heart" before I begin each day?
Dawson Trotman, founder of the
Navigators Ministry, actually had two quiet times, morning and evening. He
had a code for his nightly quiet time: H.W.L.W. Whenever he was
with a group of people at night or home with his wife and the conversation
seemed to be ending, he would say, “All right, H. W. L. W.,” after
which a passage of Scripture would be quoted without comment and all would
go to sleep. H.W.L.W. stood for “His Word the Last Word.” This was
his reminder for the men to go to sleep thinking about and meditating on
some verse God had given them that day. Trotman practiced
H.W.L.W. throughout his life as a way of ending a day with one's
thoughts fixed on the Lord and His Word.
memorizing His Word
Memory Verses by Topic)
during the day, so that you
might able to
on it before you fall
Rob Morgan comments: Dawson knew
that the last dominant conscious thought in the human mind at the end of
the day would inevitably simmer in the subconscious during sleep and help
shape the attitude and personality of the heart. And he was right. If you
want to hide God’s word in your heart (Ps 119:11), go to sleep while
meditating on a verse of Scripture (Read Joshua 1:8, Ps 1:2, Ps
63:6, Ps 77:6, Ps 119:97). It seeps into your subconscious mind and helps
shape your soul. You’ll sleep better, and wake up the next morning more
refreshed. Charles Spurgeon used to say that Bible verses make good
Best Seat Is On The Floor)
Stephen F. Olford once said
I want to hear the voice of God before I hear anyone else’s in the
morning, and his is the last voice I want to hear at night.
In fact the Bible frequently
mentions other godly men and women rising early in the morning to
meet with the Lord:
• Abraham: Gen 19:27 Now Abraham arose early in the morning
and went to the place where he had stood before the LORD; (Spurgeon's
Smoke of their Torments)
• Job: Job 1:5 And it came about, when the days of feasting had
completed their cycle, that Job would send and consecrate them, rising up
early in the morning and offering burnt offerings according to the
number of them all; for Job said, “Perhaps my sons have sinned and cursed
God in their hearts.” Thus Job did continually.
• Jacob: Ge 28:18 So Jacob rose early in the morning, and
took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up as a pillar,
and poured oil on its top.
• Moses: Ex 34:4 So he cut out two stone tablets like the former
ones, and Moses rose up early in the morning and went up to Mount
Sinai, as the LORD had commanded him, and he took two stone tablets in his
Comment: Notice that in this
passage "morning time" was commanded.
• Hannah and Elkanah: 1Sam 1:19 Then they arose early in the
morning and worshiped before the LORD, and returned again to their
house in Ramah. And Elkanah had relations with Hannah his wife, and the
LORD remembered her.
Comment: Notice that a major
component of this "morning time" was worship, which should likewise be our
practice. Devotional study is fine but may it always drive us to desire
deeper worship of the Worthy One! This probably will not be your
experience the first time you try the "morning time" but over time, it
will become your reflexive response to our Master's majestic manifestions.
• David: Ps 5:3-note
In the morning, O LORD, Thou wilt hear my voice;
In the morning I will order my prayer to Thee and eagerly watch. Ps
57:7 My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing,
yes, I will sing praises!8 Awake, my glory; Awake, harp and lyre, I
will awaken the dawn!
Spurgeon's Comment: "In the
morning" is the fittest time for intercourse with God. An hour in the
morning is worth two in the evening. While the dew is on the grass, let
grace drop upon the soul. Let us give to God the mornings of our days and
the morning of our lives. Prayer should be the key of the day and the lock
of the night. Devotion should be both the morning star and the evening
• Ps 90:14-note
O satisfy us in the morning with Thy lovingkindness,
That we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. (See
also Spurgeon's sermon - The Young Man's Prayer)
Spurgeon's Comment: Since they
must die, and die so soon (Ed: And won't we all, when comparing
this little speck of time to eternity!), the psalmist pleads for speedy
mercy upon himself and his brethren. Good men know how to turn the darkest
trials into arguments at the throne of grace. He who has but the heart to
pray need never be without pleas in prayer. The only satisfying food for
the Lord's people is the favor of God; this Moses earnestly seeks for, and
as the manna fell in the morning he beseeches the Lord to send at
once his satisfying favor, that all through the little day of life they
might be filled therewith. Are we so soon to die? Then, Lord, do not
starve us while we live. Satisfy us at once, we pray thee. Our day is
short and the night hastens on, O give us in the early morning of our days
to be satisfied with thy favor, that all through our little day we may be
happy. That we may rejoice and be glad all our days. Being filled with
divine love, their brief life on earth would become a joyful festival, and
would continue so as long as it lasted. When the Lord refreshes us with
his presence, our joy is such that no man can take it from us.
Apprehensions of speedy death are not able to distress those who enjoy the
present favor of God; though they know that the night cometh they see
nothing to fear in it, but continue to live while they live, triumphing in
the present favour of God and leaving the future in his loving hands.
Since the whole generation which came out of Egypt had been doomed to die
in the wilderness, they would naturally feel despondent, and therefore
their great leader seeks for them that blessing which,
• Ps 119:147 I rise before dawn and cry for help; I wait for Thy
Spurgeon's comment: He was up
before the sun, and began his pleadings before the dew began to leave the
grass. Whatever is worth doing is worth doing speedily.
• Ps 143:8-note
Let me hear Thy lovingkindness in the morning; For I trust in
Thee; Teach me the way in which I should walk; For to Thee I lift up my
Spurgeon's Comment: Lord, my
sorrow makes me deaf,—cause me to hear: there is but one voice that can
cheer me—cause me to hear thy lovingkindness; that music I would fain
enjoy at once—cause me to hear it in the morning, at the first dawning
hour. A sense of divine love is to the soul both dawn and dew; the end of
the night of weeping, the beginning of the morning of joy. Only God can
take away from our weary ears the din of our care, and charm them with the
sweet notes of his love. Our plea with the Lord is our faith: if we are
relying upon him, he cannot disappoint us: "in thee do I trust" is a sound
and solid argument with God. He who made the ear will cause us to hear: he
who is love itself will have the kindness to bring his lovingkindness
before our minds.
• Isa 26:9-Spurgeon's
sermon (The Desire of the Soul in Spiritual Darkness)
At night my soul longs for Thee, Indeed, my spirit within me
seeks Thee diligently; For when the earth experiences Thy judgments The
inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.
Spurgeon's Comment: NIGHT
appears to be a time peculiarly favorable to devotion. Its solemn
stillness helps to free the mind from that perpetual din which the cares
of the world will bring around it. And the stars looking down from Heaven
upon us shine as if they would attract us up to God. I know not how you
may be affected by the solemnities of midnight, but when I have sat alone
musing on the great God and the mighty universe, I have felt that, indeed,
I could worship Him, for night seemed to be spread abroad as a very temple
for adoration, while the moon walked as high priest amid the stars! The
worshippers and I, myself, joined in that silent song which they sang unto
God—“Great are You, O God! Great in Your works. When I consider Your
heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars which You have
ordained, what is man, that You are mindful of him? And the son of man,
that You visit him?”
• Ezek 12:8 And in the morning the word of the LORD came to me, saying,
• Hab 2:1-note
I will stand on my guard post and station myself on the rampart; and I
will keep watch to see what He will speak to me, and how I may reply
when I am reproved.
William MacDonald comments:
Habakkuk retired to his watchtower to see how the Lord would answer him.
He wanted to get alone in order to gain God’s perspective. This is a most
important principle for believers today as well. Whether we call it our
“quiet time,” “devotions,” or by some other term, daily communion with God
is crucial for every Christian. (See also Spurgeon's sermon
Watching to See)
In 1882 seven students (see
note below) at Cambridge
University became famous for their "Quiet Time" slogan...
In the beginning of his
Confessions, Augustine writes...
stimulate [us] to take pleasure in praising You, because You have made us
for Yourself, and our hearts are restless until they can find peace in
You are my Strength when I am weak
You are the Treasure that I seek
You are my All in All
Seeking You as a precious Jewel
Lord, to give up I'd be a fool.
You are my All in All...
Jesus Lamb of God
Worthy is Your Name.
You Are My All in All
We need to beware of a subtle trap
regarding Quiet Times. We can begin to think of our spirituality as
proportionate to the number of times we have met with God during the week.
If devotions become a chore we chalk up, then we are in danger of becoming
legalists rather than lovers.
Not only is this legalistic approach prideful, it is the antithesis of the desired effect
of a rightly motivated Quiet Time for as John writes...
He must increase
I must decrease.
As Robert Murray M'Cheyne put
Live near to
God and all things will appear little to you in comparison with eternal
Or as James Philip said...
In the light
of God, human vision clears.
The psalmist extols the
evening in the following passage...
My eyes anticipate the night watches, That I may meditate on Thy word.
Before the watchman cried the hour, he was crying to God. He did not need
to be informed as to how the hours were flying, for every hour his heart
was flying towards heaven. He began the day with prayer, and he continued
in prayer through the watches of the day, and the watches of the night.
The soldiers changed guard, but David did not change his holy occupation.
Specially, however, at night did he keep his eyes open, and drive away
sleep, that he might maintain communion with his God. He worshipped on
from watch to watch as travellers journey from stage to stage. “That I
might meditate in thy word.” This had become meat and drink to him.
Meditation was the food of his hope, and the solace of his sorrow: the one
theme upon which his thoughts ran was that blessed “word” which he
continually mentions, and in which his heart rejoices. He preferred study
to slumber; and he learned to forego his necessary sleep for much more
necessary devotion. It is instructive to find meditation so constantly
connected with fervent prayer: it is the fuel which sustains the flame.
How rare an article is it in these days.
KEEPING IT SIMPLE:
HOW TO DO A QUIET TIME
There is no specific "formula" for
Quiet Time in Scripture and for that matter the phrase "Quiet Time" is not
even found in the Bible. The principle of meeting with God however is
found (as discussed throughout these notes) and is foundational to growing
in grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2Pe 3:16).
Modern smart phones have a feature called "Face Time" to make the
phone encounter more personal and realistic. As Christ followers we need
"face time" with our Master and quiet time is simply one way of
accomplishing that end. In the notes below there are a variety of
suggestions as well as caveats regarding quiet time, but simply put, we
should keep our "face time" with God simple so that we are
neither encumbered by even "good things" (Heb 12:1) nor distracted by
details. Obviously if we aim at
nothing, we are certain to miss. So our aim should be to seek God's face
keeping it simple. I suggest the following as a minimum:
Bible you are willing to mark in. God speaks most clearly in His Word and we
can record notes, thoughts in the margins. It is preferable to select a Bible without
notes (lest you be tempted to read men's words rather than God's Word -
remember your desire should be a face to face encounter with the Living
God through His Living Word - cf
Coram Deo [R C Sproul]. Sometimes I keep
two versions open (NAS or ESV for more literal translation and NLT or
Amplified), using the second version to provide insights not readily apparent
in the more literal translations.
Prayer - confessing anything unholy that might hinder communication
with the Holy One (pray Ps 139:23-24, 1Jn 1:9), asking for His Spirit's
guidance and illumination (Ps 119:18, Jn 16:13), and including a time of
intercession for others (Gal 6:2, Jas 5:16).
notebook - Record passages (eg, one's you want to memorize - write
them out on a small card to carry with you the rest of the day) and
insights on passages especially those that convict you and call for Spirit
of grace enabled obedience. Your goal is not the complete the quiet time
(that's legalism), but to become more intimate with God, more like His
Son, more ready to yield quickly to His Spirit. If you've never practiced
the discipline of delight (not duty) of a quiet time see Robert Foster's
Seven Minutes with God
posted below for his suggestion.
FOR QUIET TIME
A couple who is passionately in love
can't be kept apart. If we love someone, we want to spend time with them.
We say we love Jesus, but does our time alone with Him (our deeds) support
what we say? "The more any man loves Christ, the more he delights to be
with Christ alone. Lovers love to be alone." (Thomas Brooks) Making time
often requires us to be intentional and deliberate. It is easy for the
"tyranny of the urgent" to overwhelm our good intentions of time with the
"Lover of our souls" and before we realize it we've postponed our
appointment until the next day or the day after, etc. You've never done
that have you?
As Spurgeon said
heart right with Christ, and he will visit you often, and so turn weekdays
into Sundays, meals into sacraments, homes into temples, and earth into
heaven....In forty years I have not spent fifteen waking minutes without
thinking of Jesus.
Robert Boyd Munger in his the
My Heart Christ's Home compares his heart
to a home where Christ has been invited to dwell as the heavenly guest. He
goes room by room, showing how the Lord cleaned the dirty books off the
shelves of the study, took down the filthy pictures, how He cleaned the
dining room of unhealthy appetites and desires, etc. The living room was a
comfortable room with a quiet atmosphere.
said, "This is indeed a delightful room. Let us come here often. It is
secluded and quiet, and we can fellowship together." Well, naturally as a
young Christian I was thrilled. I couldn't think of anything I would
rather do than have a few minutes with Christ in intimate companionship.
He promised, "I will be here early every morning. Meet me here, and we
will start the day together." So morning after morning, I would come
downstairs to the living room and He would take a book of the Bible from
the bookcase. He would open it and then we would read together. He would
tell me of its riches and unfold to me its truths. He would make my heart
warm as He revealed His love and His grace He had toward me. These were
wonderful hours together. In fact, we called the living room the
"withdrawing room." It was a period when we had our quiet time together.
But, little by little, under the pressure of many responsibilities, this
time began to be shortened. Why, I'm don't know, but I thought I was just
too busy to spend time with Christ. This was not intentional, you
understand; it just happened that way. Finally, not only was the time
shortened, but I began to miss a day now and then. It was examination time
at the university. Then it was some other urgent emergency. I would miss
it two days in a row and often more.
I remember one morning when I was in a hurry, rushing downstairs, eager to
be on my way. As I passed the living room, the door was open. Looking in,
I saw a fire in the fireplace and Jesus was sitting there. Suddenly in
dismay I thought to myself, "He was my guest. I invited Him into my heart!
He has come as Lord of my home. And yet here I am neglecting Him." I
turned and went in. With downcast glance, I said, "Blessed Master, forgive
me. Have You been here all these mornings?"
said, "I told you I would be here every morning to meet with you." Then I
was even more ashamed. He had been faithful in spite of my faithfulness. I
asked His forgiveness and He readily forgave me as He does when we are
truly repentant. "The trouble with you is this: you have been thinking of
the quiet time, of the Bible study and prayer time, as a factor in your
own spiritual progress, but you have forgotten that this hour means
something to me also. Remember, I love you. I have redeemed you at great
cost. I value your fellowship. Now," He said, "do not neglect this hour if
only for my sake. Whatever else may be your desire, remember I want your
You know, the truth that Christ desires my companionship, that He loves
me, wants me to be with Him, wants to be with me and waits for me, has
done more to transform my quiet time with God than any other single fact.
Don't let Christ wait alone in the living room of your heart, but every
day find some time when, with your Bible and in prayer, you may be
together with Him. (My
Heart Christ's Home)
May we be ever mindful of Christ's love
So that our Quiet Time is motivated
By a sense of anticipation and delight,
Not a sense of drudgery and duty.
Tim Schoap notes that many
believers are "functional legalists" explaining that...
functional legalists we recognize and condemn legalism when it comes
to salvation, the idea that we can be saved by our works. However, we
embrace it and live as legalists for sanctification. Although it is God's
grace that justifies and sanctifies, many of us live day by day relying on
our works for our sanctification. When our works don't measure up, we
either question our salvation or our worthiness. We saw this
"nobody/somebody" model of behavior in an earlier lesson.
This nobody/somebody "model" works in three ways - first, by causing us to
judge according to what we do. Ask yourself these questions: How do you
feel about yourself when you miss your quiet time, when you don't
pray, when you pass on a witnessing opportunity, or fall into a "big" sin?
When you are less than pleasant with your family, friends? When you just
don't feel spiritual? Now, how do you feel when you have a great quiet
time, share Christ with a friend, turn your back on temptation, are kind
and generous to all those around you, and you have a plain sense of God's
presence in your life? If you are like most, you fall easily into the trap
of feeling like on a "good" day, God is blessing and you are walking in
sanctification, and on a "bad" day, God is not only not blessing, but you
are the lowest of Christian pond scum! (Ed: Quiet time is to be a
blessing, not a burden!) (The
Spiritual Life - 46 page monograph)
Steven Cole speaks of another
potential stumbling block of quiet times...
serious danger which both individuals and churches must guard against—institutional
religion. It’s so easy to fall into routine Christianity, where you
run through your programs and activities, but you don’t live in close
touch with the living God.
You even can have a personal quiet
but not meet with God.
You can go
to church and go through the worship service, but you haven’t made contact
with the living God. One day several years ago the phone rang in the
rector’s office of the church in Washington, D.C., where the President
sometimes attended. An eager voice said, “Do you expect the President to
be there Sunday?” The rector replied, “That I cannot promise. But we do
expect God, and we fancy it will be incentive enough for a reasonably
large attendance.” (In “Our Daily Bread,” Fall, 1986.) (Sermon
on 1Timothy 3:14-16)
In another place Steven Cole
reminds us that...
are so prone to fall into a legalistic spirit, where we congratulate
ourselves for keeping our vows, but our hearts are far from the Lord. The
main thing is to walk closely with the Lord, judging all known sin and
gladly obeying His Word out of a heart of love. If you miss your morning
quiet time, your day is not under a curse. Walk with God that day and make
it your priority to meet alone with Him as soon as you can. The biblical
balance is: Don’t put yourself under manmade laws or rules that have the
appearance of wisdom, “but are of no value against fleshly indulgence”
On the other hand, do discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness
10:1-39 Putting God's Truth into Practice)
choir director; for flute accompaniment.
A Psalm of David.
Give ear to my words, O LORD,
Consider my groaning.
Heed the sound of my cry for help, my King and my God,
For to Thee do I pray.
In the morning, O LORD, Thou wilt hear my voice;
In the morning I will order my prayer to Thee and eagerly watch.
As we alluded to earlier, we do well
to cultivate the attitude and pattern of
David, a man after God's own heart (Acts 13:22, 1Sa 16:7) who alluded to
meeting with the Lord....
One thing I
have asked (desired as in Eccl 2:10) from the LORD, that I shall seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to
behold the beauty of the LORD, and to
in His temple. (Ps 27:4 )
If your quiet times are too quiet consider making this your prayer to God,
that He might cultivate this desire in your heart ("One thing I have
Devotions are a matter of our heart
more than a discipline of our day timer.
Delitzsch: There is only one thing, that he desires,...an ardent
longing which extends out of the past into the future, and therefore runs
through his whole life. The one thing sought is unfolded...a lifelong
dwelling in the house of Yahweh, that is to say intimate spiritual
intercourse...is the one desire of David's heart, in order that he might
behold and feast upon (of a clinging, lingering, chained gaze) the
pleasantness (or gracefulness) of the Lord.
Carroll adds: There you have it in one verse of Scripture. There is
only one thing he desired; but because he desired this one thing, all
things became possible. This is the mainspring. This is that which sets
everything else in motion and enables all else to function as it was
intended and to fulfill its appropriate role. If the one thing that is
needful is desired and sought, everything else will fall into its proper
place and will perform its proper function....David's desire is an ardent
longing that runs out of the past into the future. It is not a momentary
thing. Intimate, spiritual intercourse is the one consuming desire of his
heart, and it was this that dominated David all his days...At the end of
the day ask yourself what you have done with your time. How much time did
you set aside to worship Jesus Christ? You might be surprised.
Of course, to worship Him in your quiet time is not the end. It is only
the beginning. You are merely tuning your instrument to face the day. We
seem to have the strange idea that if only we can have a quiet time,
everything is going to be fine for the rest of the day; and if we do not
have a quiet time, everything is going to turn out miserably. This is not
so. The quiet time should be set aside early in the morning, but it is
only the tuning of the instrument. You cannot say, "I have had my quiet
time. Now I'm fine." This is just the beginning, getting in first gear, so
to speak. We must walk in fellowship with the Lord throughout the day. C.
H. Spurgeon said he was never out of vital contact with God for more than
ten minutes! Little wonder that God used this great lover of Jesus Christ
so mightily. Like King David before him, C. H. Spurgeon purposed in his
heart to seek to be a true worshiper of his Lord, for no man will ever
experience true worship in a consistent manner unless he sets his will to
do so. (How to Worship Jesus Christ)
Divided aims tend to distraction, weakness, disappointment. The man of one
book is eminent, the man of one pursuit is successful. Let all our
affections be bound up in one affection, and that affection set upon
heavenly things. What we cannot at once attain, it is well to desire. God
judges us very much by the desire of our hearts. He who rides a lame horse
is not blamed by his master for want of speed, if he makes all the haste
he can, and would make more if he could; God takes the will for the deed
with his children. This is the right target for desires, this is the well
into which to dip our buckets, this is the door to knock at, the bank to
draw upon; desire of men, and lie upon the dunghill with Lazarus: desire
of the Lord, and to be carried of angels into Abraham's bosom. Our desires
of the Lord should be sanctified, humble, constant, submissive, fervent,
and it is well if, as with the psalmist, they are all molten into one
mass. Under David's painful circumstances we might have expected him to
desire repose, safety, and a thousand other good things, but no, he has
set his heart on the pearl, and leaves the rest. That will I seek after.
Holy desires must lead to resolute action. The old proverb says, "Wishers
and woulders are never good housekeepers, "and "wishing never fills a
sack." Desires are seed which must be sown in the good soil of activity,
or they will yield no harvest. We shall find our desires to be like clouds
without rain, unless followed up by practical endeavors....
We shall not
need to make enquiries in (meditate on) heaven, for there we shall know
even as we are known; but meanwhile we should sit at Jesus' feet, and
awaken all our faculties to learn of him.
AND QUIET TIME
A major factor regarding our
spiritual growth is our time in the Word. Peter makes clear the
relationship of intake and growth...
(because you are "born again" 1Pe 1:23), putting aside (enabled by the
Spirit, discarding the following unholy attitudes and actions must precede
intake of the holy Word) all (just try to do this in your own strength!
Surrender to the Spirit's searching of your heart and enabling power to
put off all) malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander,
2 like newborn babies, long for (yearn for, pant for) the pure (no
additives, undiluted) milk of the Word, so that (term
of conclusion -
don't miss it!) by it (What?) you may grow (not
know but grow - intake without growth was characteristic of the Pharisees
of Jesus' day!) in
respect to salvation (In context this refers to sanctification, growth in
holiness, growth in Christ-likeness, progressive conformation to the image
of God's Son).
Notice that the very thing that caused Peter's readers to be "born again"
("seed which is...imperishable...the living and enduring Word of God."
enables them to "grow in respect to salvation." Simply stated, if you have
no regular intake of the Word, you can be assured that you will exhibit no
significant spiritual growth. It's easy to focus on verse two and miss the
vital relationship with 1Pe 2:1. If we have unconfessed sin (like those in
verse 1), we are not "spiritually healthy" (so to speak) and our spiritual
appetite for holy things will be blunted at best and totally absent at
worst. D. L. Moody had an excellent practice of keeping "short
accounts" with God -- Every evening before retiring he would review the
day with his Lord, trusting His Spirit to reveal anything that had
displeased Him (cp Ps 139:23-24-note).
Such a man is prepared for the morning hour of worship (recall that
"worship" speaks of the worthiness of someone. He is worthy - Rev 5:12-note).
See parallel passage Hebrews 5:14-note.
Stephen Olford observes that "It is impossible to subsist as a Christian
without one’s daily Quiet Time, because God has put into our spiritual
life and nature a hunger for the Word."
Guy King tells about the time
lived in a
certain vicarage for fifteen years which had a pear tree in the garden;
but never a respectable pear did it yield me all that time. I am no
gardener; but my successor was - and, strange to relate, he had a bumper
crop his very first year! Why? He went at the roots, which I was too
ignorant to do. That's it! take care of the roots, the secret connection
with the Soil - the Quiet Time with GOD, and the use of His appointed
means of grace - the Word; the Footstool; the Table; the Worship; the
Work, "that ye may grow thereby," 1Peter 2:2, and become "Oaks of
righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He might be glorified" (Isa
sermon): Not we,
but He. May we not be stunted trees. (Colossians
stand on top of a cliff need to send their roots deep!
A B Simpson
in the hidden life of God. The cedar grows more beneath the ground than
C H Spurgeon
we come to God, the more graciously will he reveal himself to us.
barometer of one’s Christian life is the Quiet Time. Do you have a Quiet
Time, or have you let it slip? Be the man of God who takes time to be
holy, speaks oft with his Lord, abides in Him only, and feeds on His Word.
God grant that this may be true of you.
in his childhood, John Wesley resolved to dedicate an hour each morning
and evening to Bible study and prayer.
you discipline yourself to spend time daily in a systematic reading of
God’s Word. Make this “quiet time” a priority that nobody can change.
Doctor's say the most important mean
of the day is breakfast. Jesus understood the importance of a
spiritual "breakfast of champions" and how it even prepared one for the
spiritual war each day is certain to bring...
answered (addressing the Devil's temptation in Mt 4:3) and said, “It is
written, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT
PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.’” (Matt 4:4-note;
quoting Dt 8:3, cp Eph 6:17-note)
How did Jesus resist the Devil's intense temptation? Filled with, led
by the Holy Spirit (Lk 4:1, cp Lk 4:14, Mt 4:1) and filled with the Holy
Word (from Deuteronomy)! God's "template for victory" has not changed.
Quiet time can strengthen us for the inevitable daily battles with
Living is sustained by feeding. We must support the spiritual life by
spiritual food, and that spiritual food is the Lord Jesus ("The Word of
God," Jn 1:1, Rev 19:13).
R W De Haan comments: If we have been feeding daily on God's
Word, it's natural to feel "hungry" when we skip our quiet time. But if we
continue to neglect it, we may lose all desire to study the Scriptures. In
fact, we may be starving ourselves. How much time do you spend reading the
Bible and meditating on its truths? Do you miss the Word when you neglect
it? Thomas Guthrie wrote,
"If you find
yourself loving any pleasure better than your prayers, any book better
than the Bible, any persons better than Christ, or any indulgence better
than the hope of heaven--take alarm."
lost your taste for the "bread of life," confess your negligence and ask
God to revive your appetite for His Word. Avoid spiritual starvation!
Break Thou the bread of life, dear
Lord, to me,
As Thou didst break the loaves beside the sea.
Beyond the sacred page I seek Thee, Lord;
My spirit pants for Thee, O Living Word.
of our future spiritual maturity lies in our daily routine of Bible study.
E M Bounds
To be little
with God is to be little for God.
delights in secret converse with God.
misguided to think that God will revive a people who find no time to
commune with him from the heart.
Dennis Fisher asks
How do we
know if we’re making progress in our personal time with the Lord? One
major characteristic will be an increase in appreciation for who and what
God is. Our personal quiet time should cause us to praise Him (Ed:
garment of praise [Spurgeon sermon]"
- Isa 61:3KJV).....
In addition we will begin to...)
• Learn how
to pray while “on the go.” (1Th 5:17-note)
• Let God
into your daily problem-solving activities.
Acknowledge to others your need of divine help. (Jas 4:6b-note)
• Expect God
to act outside your own limited perspective.
reflecting on a biblical theme for the day. (Job 23:12-note)
Comment: In Job 23:12, he is saying that given a choice between
breakfast and a quiet time with the Lord, he would opt for the latter.
Little wonder that the incredible introductory description in Job 1:1 is
affirmed not once but twice by God Himself in Job 1:8 and Job 2:3).
encouraged by the fact that Jesus has promised to stay with us in all of
life’s circumstances (Mt 28:20). (Booklet related to quiet time -
Keeping Our Appointments With God)
Stephen Olford speaks of a
"carry over" benefit of his Quiet Time...
list is a very interesting one. Monday-Missions. Tuesdays-Thanksgiving.
Wednesday-Workers, staff, etc. Thursday-Tasks. Friday-Family.
Saturday-Saints (so much of Paul’s praying was for the saints). And
Sunday-Sinners. On the list of sinners for this present period of my
life....Now, it isn’t the length of time I spend in my quiet time, though
I usually take an hour, but there is a carry-over of the activity of
prayer, the attitude of prayer, that marks the rest of the day. I never
pick up a telephone without a prayer. I never dictate a letter to my
secretary without a prayer. I never let anybody into my study or out of my
study without a prayer, and as my beloved workers know, any time we get
together we say, ‘Let’s pray.’ And so, prayer is literally praying
without ceasing (1Th 5:17-note).
At the drop of a hat…and so I feel I live in that attitude of perpetual
In Joshua 6:10 we see that a "quiet
time" preceded a "shouting time" and victory over Jericho.
Thou wilt make
known to me the path of life;
In Thy presence is fulness of joy;
In Thy right hand there are pleasures forever.
If we believe David's
we too will seek the presence of David's God!
Henry Blackaby challenges
If you are
not keeping a spiritual journal or diary, you need to. If the God of the
universe tells you something, you should write it down. When God speaks to
you in your quiet time, immediately write down what He said before you
have time to forget. Then record your prayer response. I write down the
verse of Scripture He uses and what God has said to me about Himself from
that verse. I write down the prayer response I am making; so I have in
place the encounter with God, what God said, and how I responded to Him. I
also write out what I need to do to adjust my life to God so I can begin
to experience Him relating to me in this way. (Experiencing
George Sweeting the respected
former president of Moody Bible Institute once said that..
If we don't
maintain a quiet time each day, it's not really because we are too
busy; it's because we do not feel it is important enough....There's an old
navy rule: when ships readjust their compass, they drop anchor in a
quiet spot....Late nights kill the quiet time....Quiet time
is not just a helpful idea, it is absolutely necessary to spiritual
growth. (Great Quotes and Illustrations)
A W Tozer
God has not
bowed to our nervous haste nor embraced the methods of our machine (Ed:
Or technologically crazed) age. The man who would know God must give time
Robert Murray M'Cheyne
I ought to
spend the best hours of the day in communion with God. It is my noblest
and most fruitful employment, and is not to be thrust into any corner.
Martin Luther once
I have so
much to do today that I must spend at least three hours in prayer.
Steven Cole notes that...
bored with worship or with serving the Lord, you've lost sight of the
glory and majesty of God. Rituals and routines can be pretty boring, but
the living God is definitely not boring! Whenever in the Bible someone got
a glimpse of God, I assure you, they were not glancing at their watch to
find out how much longer the service would last! I realize that not every
worship service will give you a glimpse of God! Not every quiet time
will be glorious. But if you're consistently bored with worship, you
probably need a fresh glimpse of the greatness of God. (Serving
God the Leftovers: Malachi 1:6-14)
The psalmist writes...
Whom have I in heaven
And besides Thee, I desire nothing on earth.
My flesh and my heart may fail, "
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
For, behold, those who are far from Thee will perish;
Thou hast destroyed all those who are unfaithful to Thee.
But as for me, the nearness of God is my good;
I have made the Lord GOD my refuge,
That I may tell of all Thy works.
Joseph Carroll writes...
time to worship is, of course, in the morning, in that time that we call a
quiet time. But what is a quiet time to you? To me as a
young Christian, in the early years, it was anything but a relaxed,
meditative time. In fact, it was a time when I had to get through a
certain study of the Word of God and certain prayers that I had to pray
from my prayer list. Thus, my quiet time was not really a quiet time. It
was a study time, a time for intercession, a time for petition. Then I was
introduced to a small volume on prayer by A. T. Pierson that led to an
intensive study of the teaching of our Lord on prayer....Our Lord's first
lesson on prayer is found in Matthew 6:6-note.
He is saying, "The first thing you must do is get somewhere alone with
Me," for a closet is a closed place. A room can become a closet. It means
aloneness. A forest can become a closet. The important thing is aloneness,
in secrecy, being alone with your Father....
into the holiest, into the very presence of God, by the blood of Jesus to
commune with Him on the basis of a blood-sprinkled Mercy Seat (Heb
That Mercy Seat is Christ Himself (1Jn 2:2 where "propitiation" pictured
in the "mercy
seat" as in Heb 9:5-note),
whose blood gives us access (1Ti 2:5). What did this do for my quiet
time? It absolutely revolutionized it. Instead of looking at my watch
and saying, "I have ten minutes to get through my prayer list," I simply
knelt down and quietly meditated upon the fact that I was in the presence
of the Lamb of God and worshiped Him. My quiet time then became
something for Him, not something for me and with the worship of my
heart—the pouring out of my I heart to Him in worship—came the
overpowering awareness of His presence. (How to Worship Jesus Christ)
Were you as convicted as I was when I read Carroll's description of his
quiet time as "something for Him, not something for me?" I confess that
too often my times have been inward rather than outward and upward
focused. The flesh is very clever, even
(especially) when it comes to "religious"
activity. We need to approach the Quiet Time with a Ro 12:1 (note)
attitude of surrender to the Majesty and Glory of our Great God. Such an
approach will surely change our inward to an outward, upward focus and we
will walk away less conformed to the world and more transformed by His
Spirit, our minds renewed and ready to test and approve the many options
of the day as to whether they are the will of God. (Ro 12:2-note).
We need the attitude of Richard Fuller who said "Count not that
thou hast lived that day in which thou hast not lived with God!"
The renowned Bible teacher Howard
Hendricks had this to say about time in the Word...
Bibles always lead to dirty lives.
either in the Word and the Word is conforming you to the image of Jesus
Christ or you are in the world and the world is squeezing you into its
tragedy in evangelicalism today is the many who are "under" the Word of
God but they are not "in" the Word for themselves! Being "under" the Word
of God ought to be a STIMULUS not a SUBSTITUTE for getting into the Word
for one's self.
still remains the most sold book in the world and also the most neglected
Hendricks went on to answer the
question of why people don't get into the Bible more often for themselves:
1). Not a
considered relevant to our "modern" generation. It's archaic, out of date.
understand how to begin. People say "get into" the Word of God but don't
tell you "how" to go about "getting into" it for yourself.
4). I'm just
a layman, not a professional...you can't expect me to be able to study the
Bible for myself. (Living
By The Book Howard Hendricks, William Hendricks) -
Living by the Book Video Series Workbook 7-part
inductive Bible study
REGULAR QUIET TIME
When Rob Morgan asked
respected expositor Stephen Olford if he had any advice for
someone entering ministry (by the way we are ALL in ministry of some type
- 1Pe 4:10-11), he responded
said with the same dramatic delivery I head heard in the pulpit. “Yes,” he
said, “I do. Never, never, never miss your Quiet Time.”
Rob Morgan goes on to say
shortly after that when another influence came into my life. Through a
mutual friend, I had the opportunity of spending several seasons of
extended time with Ruth Bell Graham, and she described to us how important
the Quiet Time was to her. One day, when I was asking her about it, she
said, “Robert, do you have the notebook habit?” I didn’t know what the
notebook habit was, so I said no, I didn’t think I did. So she told me
about her little loose-leaf notebook made of leather. She said that she
kept wearing it out, but she knew a leather crafter who kept repairing it
for her. There she would record the thoughts God gave her each day as she
studied her Bible. That very day I drove down to Ashville near her home
and found a stationary shop and bought a notebook, and it’s been a
lifesaver to me ever since. All these years, I’ve used a journal as part
of my Quiet Time, and I owe it to that conversation in North Carolina. (I
Need Help With My Quiet Time)
Andrew Bonar a great man of prayer,
had three rules related to our discussion of Quiet Time...
1. Not to
speak to any man before speaking to Jesus;
2. Not to do
anything with his hands until he had been on his knees;
3. Not to
read the papers until he had read his Bible.
A QUIET PLACE WITH A QUIET
FOR A QUIET TIME
Jon Courson writes that...
When I get
up before the beginning of the day to find a quiet place with a
quiet heart for a quiet time, I find the Lord instructs me
about what I should do with my discretionary time. We waste so much time
trying to figure out what we should do next. And when we don’t get to it,
we feel condemned about it. In reality, the decision ought to have been
made early in the day. I’m not saying there’s no room for flexibility, but
for the most part, I have discovered that the real key is to say early in
the day, “Lord, what do You want me to do? By Your grace and with Your
help, that’s what I’ll do.”
And as I do
those things, as I come to the end of the day, I realize the sun has
indeed stood still. Therefore, like Jesus, I’m able to say, “Father, I’ve
finished the work You gave me to do.” The tensions disappear; the burdens
dissipate; and I find myself living a life of serenity and tranquility to
a much greater degree.
gives us to do is doable. Do what our Greater than Joshua did day by day.
Before the day begins, find a quiet place and have a quiet time
with a quiet heart. Let God direct your day. You will have less
decision to make and you’ll be victorious in a whole new way.....
It was in
the wilderness that God gave manna to His people. And it is in our
wilderness here on earth that He daily provides the Bread of His Word, the
Bread of Himself. If I don’t feast on the Scriptures daily, I become
disillusioned, disoriented, confused. I get mixed up on the days I don’t
get away with the Lord in a quiet spot at a quiet time and
enjoy the truths and promises of His Word. I think about fleshpots and the
bread of Egypt; I become restless and troubled. But when I take in the
Word, I find what Jeremiah said to be oh, so true. I find it to indeed be
the very joy and rejoicing of my heart (Jeremiah 15:16). (Jon
Courson’s Application Commentary)
Some of us
have tried to have a daily quiet time and have not been successful. Others
of us have a hard time concentrating. And all of us are busy. So rather
than spend time with God, listening for his voice, we’ll let others spend
time with him and then benefit from their experience. Let them tell us
what God is saying. After all, isn’t that why we pay preachers? …If that
is your approach, if your spiritual experiences are secondhand and not
firsthand, I’d like to challenge you with this thought: Do you do that
with others parts of your life? …You don’t do that with vacations.… You
don’t do that with romance.…You don’t let someone eat on your behalf, do
you? [There are] certain things no one can do for you. And one of those is
spending time with God. (Grace for the moment: inspirational thoughts for
each day of the year)
Henry Blackaby writes...
the first man and woman, Adam and Eve, for a love relationship with
Himself. After Adam and Eve had sinned, they heard God walking in the
garden in the cool of the day. They hid from Him because of their fear and
shame. Try to sense the heart of a loving Father when He asked that
wonderful love question, “Where are you?” (Ge 3:9). God knew that
something had happened to the love relationship.
relationship is as it ought to be, you will always be in fellowship with
the Father. You will be there in His presence expecting and anticipating
the relationship of love. When Adam and Eve were not there, something had
day, I have an appointment with God. I often wonder what happens when the
God who loves me comes to meet me there. How does He feel when He asks,
“Henry, where are you?” and I am just not there. I have found this to be
true in my own walk with the Lord: I keep that time alone with God, not in
order to have a relationship, but because I have a relationship. Because I
have that love relationship with the Lord, I want to meet with Him in my
quiet time. I want to spend the time there. Time with Him enriches and
deepens the relationship I have with Him.
I hear many persons say, “I really struggle trying to have that time alone
with God.” If that is a problem you face, let me suggest something to you.
Make the priority in your life to come to love Him with all your heart.
That will solve most of your problem with your quiet time. Your quiet time
is because you know Him and, therefore, love Him, not only in order to
learn about Him. The apostle Paul said it was “the love of Christ” that
compelled or constrained him (2Cor 5:14).
were dating a person you loved and intended to marry. What is the primary
reason you date (spend time with) that person? Is it because you want to
find out about his likes and dislikes or family background? Is it because
you want to find out about her knowledge and education? Or is it because
you love him and enjoy being with him?
people love each other and plan to marry, they are concerned about finding
out information about each other. That is not, however, the primary reason
why they date. They spend time together because they love each other and
enjoy being together.
you will learn much about God, His Word, His purposes, and His ways as you
spend time with Him. You will come to know Him during the day as you
experience Him working in and through your life. Learning about Him is
not, however, why you should want to have a quiet time with Him. The more
you know Him and experience His love, the more you will love Him. Then you
will want that time alone with Him because you do love Him and enjoy His
God Knowing and Doing the Will of God, Revised and Expanded Henry
Blackaby, Richard Blackaby, Claude King)
Wayne Barber speaks of the
value of a quiet time in our ongoing battle with the lusts of our fallen
better learn this: don’t focus on the sin! Focus on the Savior who has
conquered the sin! And learn! Train your senses to line up under Him.
Accommodate yourself to Him. Put yourself where you can be influenced by
the Spirit and not influenced by the flesh. This is why it’s so
important to have a quiet time. Quiet times have been used and abused over
A quiet time is not to make you
helps you start your day by putting yourself in the right place. Then all
day long you begin to fellowship with Him. That’s all it is! It’s just a
discipline. It’s not going to make you more spiritual at all. What prayer
is and what Scriptures are and what praise is all about is the atmosphere
we put ourselves in so that we can be drawn closer and so that the Spirit
now can be accommodated instead of accommodating my flesh! I’ve learned
now to accommodate my spirit. That’s what we are trying to say. I’m
learning, too. (Romans
Steven Cole asks...
Do you often
make time to spend with the Lord? It’s sure easy for that first love to
cool off, and time between you and the Lord gets squeezed out with other
things. Or, it becomes your duty to have a quiet time, so
you get out your Bible, grimace, and swallow a chapter a day to keep
the devil away. But there wasn’t any love in it (cf Rev 2:4, 1Jn
4:10, Ge 3:8-9). You weren’t seeking to know Christ in a more intimate
way. You weren’t opening your heart to Him, so that He could confront you
and cleanse you and make you more like Himself. There’s no closeness, no
Christ and Being Like Him)
Talk with us, Lord, Thyself reveal,
While here on earth we rove;
Speak to our hearts, and let us feel
The kindling of Thy love.
Ron Mattoon tells a story
that relates to having a quiet heart during our Quiet Time...
In the book
"Directions," James Hamilton writes: Before refrigerators, people used
icehouses to preserve their food. Icehouses had thick walls, no windows,
and a tightly fitted door. In winter, when streams and lakes were frozen
into silver-gray pathways, large blocks of ice were cut, hauled to the
icehouses, and covered with golden sawdust. Often the ice would last well
into the summer. One man lost a valuable watch in this sawdust while
working in an icehouse. He searched diligently for it carefully raking
through the sawdust, but didn't find it. His fellow workers also looked,
but their efforts, too, proved futile.
A small boy
who heard about the fruitless search slipped into the icehouse during the
noon hour and soon emerged with the watch. Amazed, the men asked him how
he found it. The boy replied, "I closed the door, laid down in the
sawdust, and kept very still. Soon I heard the watch ticking."
often the question is not whether God is speaking but whether we are being
still enough, and quiet enough, to hear what He has to say to us. Be still
and get God's direction for your life! (Ps 4:4, Ps 63:6) (Luke Commentary)
The knowledge of the book is not as
as knowing the Author of the book.
Skip Heitzig comments that...
Bible study is the process of reflecting on a few verses or a passage of
Scripture and making a personal application. Many Christians refer to this
worshipful way of reflecting on the Scriptures as "having a quiet time"
or "having devotions." Although devotional study is not primarily
an academic approach to the Bible, it doesn't mean that we bypass
observation or interpretation on our way to application. Instead, we are
simply endeavoring to encounter God on the holy ground of His word by
"stepping through the veil" into His presence to commune with Him.
Devotional study is a peaceful and reassuring way to begin or end your
day. Rather than examining the Bible as simply a textbook, as we might in
school, devotional study focuses on seeking the Lord and desiring to know
His will as it applies to us. The knowledge of the book is
not as important in this method as knowing the Author of the book.
Time spent in devotional Bible study becomes a joyful rendezvous with God.
(How to Study the Bible and Enjoy It)
Greg Ogden in his excellent
book on Biblical
has the following guidelines...
quiet time is a private meeting each day between a disciple and the Lord
Jesus Christ. It should not be impromptu. We can commune with the Lord on
a spur-of-the-moment basis many times each day, but a quiet time is a
period of time we set aside in advance for the sole purpose of a personal
meeting with our Savior and Lord.
quiet time consists of at least three components.
the Bible with the intent not just to study but to meet Christ through the
- while you might occasionally use devotional books to augment your Quiet
Time, you want to keep these resources to a bare minimum.
Because even excellent, inspirational as devotionals like "Our Daily
Bread" [Radio Bible Class] or "My Utmost for His Highest" [Oswald
Chamber's devotional] are not the pure milk of God's Word, but are
the words others have gleaned from the pure Word.
Your goal is communion with God Himself and this is achieved primarily by
going directly to the Word He has spoken to you in the Holy Scriptures.
God has promised to bless His word, not the words about His Word!)
Meditating on what we have read so that biblical truth begins to
saturate our minds, emotions and wills. "Meditate on [the Book of the Law]
day and night" (Joshua 1:8).
to (communing with) God: praising, thanking and adoring him as well as
confessing our sins, asking him to supply our needs and interceding for
Why Is It
Important? - Why should we have a daily quiet time? There are at least
pleases the Lord. Even if there were no other consequences, this would
be sufficient reason for private daily communion with God.
the Old Testament sacrifices there was only one that was daily—the
continual burnt offering. What was its purpose? Not to atone for sin
but to provide pleasure (a sweet-smelling aroma) to the Lord. The New
Testament directs us to continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God,
"the fruit of lips that confess his name" (Hebrews 13:15). It may astonish
us to realize that God is seeking people who will do just that: "They are
the kind of worshipers the Father seeks" (John 4:23). One indicator of the
depth of our relationship with the Lord is our willingness to spend time
alone with him not primarily for what we get out of it but for what it
means to him as well.
receive benefits. The psalmist had this in mind when he wrote, "As the
deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul
thirsts for God, for the living God" (Psalm 42:1-2). We benefit from a
quiet time in several ways.
Information. We learn about Christ and his truths when we spend time
with him and his Word. Before we can obey him we need to know what he
commands. Before we can understand what life is all about we need to know
what he has taught.
• Encouragement. At times we get discouraged. There is no better
source for inspiration than the Lord Jesus Christ.
• Power. Even when we know what we should be and do we lack the
strength to be that kind of person and do those kinds of works. Christ is
the source of power, and meeting with him is essential to our receiving
• Pleasure. Being alone with the person we love is enjoyable, and
as we spend time with Christ we experience a joy unavailable anywhere
Jesus had a
quiet time. "Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got
up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed"
(Mark 1:35). If our Lord found it necessary to meet privately with his
Father, surely his example gives us a good reason to do likewise. The
question is whether we will be mediocre Christians or growing Christians.
A major factor in determining the answer is whether or not we develop the
discipline of a daily quiet time.
How to Begin - Once you desire to begin a daily quiet time, what
can you do to start?
remember the principle of self-discipline: do what you should do when you
should, the way you should, where you should and for the correct reasons.
In other words, self-discipline is the wise use of your personal resources
(such as time and energy).
Fisher writes: I knew a student a number of years ago who was an excellent
writer. The problem was that he always turned in his papers late. Why?
“If I can’t do it right, I won’t do it!” was his response. His commitment
to perfectionism led him down a path of inconsistency. This is a common
problem in maintaining a quiet time. It is a “throwing the baby out with
the bath water” mentality. It is the “all or nothing” approach to a
devotional life. But in a realistic sense, daily devotions are about
progress more than perfection. It’s better for us to have a shorter and
even less meaningful devotional time on a given day than it is to skip it
in the name of high standards.)
set aside time in advance for your quiet time. A daily quiet time should
take place each day at the time when you are most alert. For some this
will be in the morning, perhaps before breakfast; for others it will be
another time of the day or evening. Though it is not a hard and fast rule,
the morning is a preferable time since it begins before the rush of
thoughts and activities of the day. An orchestra does not tune its
instruments after the concert.
time should you spend? This will vary from person to person, but a good
plan to follow is to start with ten minutes a day and build up to
approximately thirty minutes. This regularly scheduled chunk of time can
be a major factor in strengthening self-discipline. Here's a suggestion:
pause while reading this and make a decision—now—about when and for how
long, beginning tomorrow, you will meet the Lord Jesus Christ for a daily
Fisher writes "When I was taking classical guitar lessons, the instructor
told me, “It’s better to practice 15 minutes a day every day, and then to
practice for several hours on only a few days.” He was right, especially
when it comes to establishing new habits.")
plan ahead. Go to bed early enough so that you can awaken in a refreshed
condition to meet Christ. The battle for the daily quiet time is often
lost the night before. Staying up too late hampers our alertness, making
us bleary-eyed and numb as we meet the Lord, or else we oversleep and skip
the quiet time altogether.
make your quiet time truly a quiet time. Psalm 46:10 speaks to this: "Be
still, and know that I am God." Turn off your radio or television. Find as
quiet a place as possible and make sure your location and position are
conducive to alertness. Get out of bed. Sit erect. If you are stretched
out in bed or reclining in a chair that is too comfortable you might be
lulled into drowsiness.
We all concentrate or are distracted in different ways. C. S. Lewis brings
up a surprising suggestion in his book Letters To Malcolm. His admonition
on the “quiet time” is to make sure we have “just the right amount of
distraction” to help us concentrate. Lewis tells the story of a man who
would have his devotional time in a railway compartment because complete
silence left him open to inner distractions. Ironically, his focus was
enhanced when it was challenged just slightly.)
pray as you start your time with God. Ask the Holy Spirit to control your
investment of time and to guide your praising, confessing, thanking,
adoring, interceding, petitioning and meditating, as well as to help you
get into the Bible. Open your mind and heart to Scripture.
keep a notebook handy. Write down ideas you want to remember and questions
you can't answer. Expression deepens impression—and writing is a good mode
W G T Shedd once said "It is not sufficient to commune with the
truth, for truth is impersonal. We must commune with the God of truth."
Although our Quiet Time is not to be a study time per se, our reading and
understanding of what God is saying in His Scripture and hence our
communion with Him can be greatly enhanced by practicing simple
inductive Bible study techniques
and you don't have to be a seasoned inductive student to accomplish this
end. Take time to make simple observations [See discussion of the basics
learning especially to ask
the 5W/H questions
terms of conclusion,
terms of explanation,
terms of contrast,
terms of comparison]
which will slow you down and facilitate
on the text, allowing your Teacher the Spirit to lead you into the truth.
As you engage in "active" rather than "passive" reading, you will be
amazed at what God is able to say as you invest the time to slow down and
"listen. Take time to chew the cud of God's Word - cp Jer 15:16)
share your plans and goals with a friend. Tell him or her you are trying
to develop the discipline of a daily quiet time. Request his or her prayer
that God will enable you to succeed with your objectives.
when you leave your "Quiet Time," don't
let your "Quiet Time" leave you!
In other words, as you enter the busyness of your day, remember to
mentally take with you the truths God has spoken to your soul during your
time of blessed communion with Him! Consciously recall specifics of your
time of communion with God [passages, insights, prayers, etc] at various
intervals during the day. As you begin to practice the conscious choice to
reflect on your earlier time of meeting with God, you are more likely to
find that the rest of your day becomes an ongoing experience of the
presence of the Living God.
As Frank Gaebelein said "A test of Christian devotion is the extent to
which, in happiness as well as in sorrow, we think of Jesus."
said it this way "It is tragic to go through our days making Christ the
subject of our study but not the sustenance of our souls.")
Problems Arise (Ed: Expect them to arise!). Below are some
common problems you might encounter.
I ought to have a daily quiet time, but I don't want to. Solution:
Ask the Holy Spirit to plant within you the desire to have a daily quiet
time. Nobody else can do this for you. You cannot generate the desire, and
no other person can produce it for you. (Ed: See Php 2:13NLT-note)
don't feel like having a daily quiet time today. Solution: Have
your quiet time anyway and honestly admit to Christ that you don't feel
like meeting him but that you know he nevertheless is worth the investment
of your time. Ask him to improve your feelings and try to figure out why
you feel this way. Then work on the factors that produce such failings.
My mind wanders. Solution: Ask the Holy Spirit to give you strength to set
your mind on Christ and his Word. Use your self-discipline to direct your
mind so that it wanders less and less. If you are in a quiet place,
singing, praying and reading out loud will give a sense of dialogue. Your
mind will wander less when you write things down, like making an outline
for prayer or study notes while reading the Bible.
too many quiet times. Solution: Ask the Lord to strengthen your
desire and to give you power to discipline your use of time. Share with
another Christian friend your desire to have a daily quiet time and allow
your friend to hold you accountable for it. Don't let an overactive
conscience or the accusations of the devil play on your guilt. Confess
that you have failed to keep your appointment with Jesus, ask his
forgiveness and renew your relationship.
daily quiet time is a drag. Solution: Pray that the joy of the
Lord would be restored to your private meeting with Christ (Psalm 51:12).
Put some variety into your approach. Sing a hymn for a change, or try a
different form of Bible study.
two major reasons it is so difficult to develop the discipline of a daily
is the influence of the flesh. Keep in mind that your old nature is
opposed to daily quiet time (and to every other discipline that would
please Christ; see Galatians 5:16-17). Pray that the Holy Spirit will
enable your new nature to overcome your old nature in this battle.
second reason is resistance by Satan. The devil opposes your every
effort to please Christ. His strategy is to rob you of daily quiet time
joy, to complicate your time schedule by keeping you up late at night and
making it hard for you to get up in the morning, to make you drowsy during
your time with the Lord, to make your mind wander, and otherwise to
disrupt your meeting with Christ. Ask the Holy Spirit to restrain the
Now! - Plan now for your
daily quiet time tomorrow—and every tomorrow. If you miss a morning, do
not quit. Deny the devil the pleasure of defeating you. Ask the Lord to
forgive you for missing the meeting and to help you make it next time. You
will doubtless miss several times, and it will take repeated beginnings
before you succeed in developing this discipline. Indeed, it takes some
people months to mature to the point where they develop the habit of a
daily quiet time. For some it is a lifelong battle. In any case, don't
quit when you miss. With God's help determine that you will grow to be a
committed disciple who meets Christ regularly in meaningful daily quiet
Essentials A Guide to Building Your Life in Christ by Greg Ogden
- Highly Recommended read!)
Robert Coleman in his classic
Master Plan of Evangelism, ...offers
these thoughts on how to institute a Quiet Time...
some suggestions as to "How to have a quiet time." Share them with those
with whom you have been working.
a. Have a
definite time. Choose the most appropriate time for you.
b. Have a
definite place. A place secluded from noise or interruptions is best.
Be alone with God.
c. Have a
definite plan in mind. First, make a list of requests for which to
pray. Then, spend some of the time studying the Bible.
In an article entitled Teaching Your
Children About Quiet Time in Discipleship Journal, Rebecca Livermore
has this advice...
Early one morning, I heard my daughter
ask my son, "Is Dad up?" My son replied, "Yes, but he’s having quiet time,
so you’d better watch out!" How do you respond when your kids get up
before you have a chance to finish your quiet time? You can view the
children waking up early as an interruption or an opportunity. Here are
some ways to use these opportunities to teach your children how to walk
•Have a special "quiet time corner" for
the kids. This could include a table and chairs, Bible coloring books,
crayons and other art supplies, Bible story books, tapes, puzzles, etc.
They can have their own quiet time while you finish yours.
•If your children are older, they can
read the Bible or a devotional book and then either draw a picture or
write something about what they read.
•Memorize scripture with them.
•Pray about concerns with them.
•Sing hymns or choruses together.
Occasionally, share with them what you
learned from your quiet time. This can create a spirit of expectation in
your children—they will go to the Word expecting to hear from God. Just
don’t demand that they "get something" from every quiet time. This can
create stress and make quiet time mechanical. (Discipleship Journal, Issue
88 July/August 1995)
Anne Ortlund's testimony on the
value of a Quiet Time...
after Ray and I were married we had baby Sherry. Eleven and a half months
later we had Margie. Seventeen months later we had Buddy. And immediately
after that, Ray had a shrew for a wife. My problem wasn't Ray or the
babies; all four were adorable! My problem was no quiet time, no
focus. My eyes weren't fixed on Jesus, they were fixed on what I had to
do. A work-centered life gets complex, and it leads to burnout. A
Christ-centered life -- even in the midst of work -- stays basically
simple, nourished and rested....
eyes on Jesus! Like Mary, focus; that's what I had to learn. Become a
"one-thing" person (Luke 10:42). How do you do this? First, begin to
develop the habit of continual fellowship with Him (see chapter 18) in the
midst of it all. Second, determine to give Him the sacrifice of a regular
"quiet time". Yes, it will be a true sacrifice. ("You will never
find time for anything," says Charles Bixton. "If you want time you must
recently: A fellow is listening uncertainly as a recorded voice says out
of his telephone receiver, "Your number cannot be completed as dialed.
Please check the number you are calling and dial again. Or ask yourself if
talking to another person is what you really need at this moment!"
Sometimes your need is just to be quiet. At least once a day, you need
to back off from all the other voices and hear only His. It needs to be a
long enough time to be meaningful -- to express your love, confess your
sins, receive guidance, delight in Him, listen. I have an electric
toothbrush, and I don't take it with me to conferences because it needs
frequent plugging into the socket to get re-juiced. And you and I can't go
anywhere for very long without the sacrifice of times of quiet with God to
get restored again. I said sacrifice. A thirty-ish woman said to me at a
conference two days ago, "There's no way I can have a daily quiet time. I
have five small children who take everything I've got, and then I work
every day from four to midnight." As I questioned her, I discovered she
has a working husband and almost no debts. She stood there, weepy,
overweight, defeated. It would mean true sacrifice for her to add time
with the Lord to her exhausting days. But until she does, she may not hear
His solutions and so she'll spiral ever farther downward. Whatever your
circumstances -- if you'd lived in Old Testament times you would have
regularly given God a male animal or bird -- whatever you could afford --
that had no defects: something you'd humanly want or even "need" for
yourself. If you're stressed out from a tight schedule, offer God the
sacrifice of your time. If you love to be with people, give Him the
sacrifice of your solitude. If you're not very excited yet about Bible
reading and prayer, lift up to Him the sacrifice of your surrendered will.
And when you sit down or kneel to be with Him, what do you do? No two
people will have quiet times just alike, but first decide on a time, a
place, and a plan -- and stick to it. Since the children were in school,
except when I'm conference speaking, I've chosen mid-mornings -- my
high-energy time. I have with me my Bible, my notebook, and a pen (To
continue reading click the following link).
Your Eyes On Jesus — Anne Ortlund)
J. Wilbur Chapman American evangelist
wrote this about the core components of his quiet time:
• Study it through: Never begin a day
without mastering a Bible verse. Ask God to help you focus on a specific
verse within the passage you are reading.
• Pray it in: Never lay aside your Bible until the verse or passage you
have studied has become a part of your being. Meditate.
• Put it down: Record any thoughts that God gives you in the margin of
your Bible or in your notebook or journal. Writing is key!
• Work it out: Live out the truth you receive in the morning through each
hour of the day. Don’t let your day end without applying Scripture. (Learn
to Study the Bible: Forty Different Step-by-Step Methods to Help You
Discover, Apply, and Enjoy God’s Word)
J. Wilbur Chapman's Book The Secret of
a Happy Day - Christian Biography Resources
Pastor Rob Morgan
Need Help With My Quiet Time)
offers us a practical plan for our Quiet Time "How do we do it?"...
(1) First, remember the purpose of
the Quiet Time.
essentially a conversation, a time of fellowship, a daily meeting or
appointment with the Lord. It isn’t a complicated thing, and the simpler
we can keep it the better. It isn’t even always necessary to have a Bible.
Sometimes it’s nice just to go for a walk and spend some time meditating
on some verse of Scripture and thinking it through, and then talking to
the Lord about it and praying over the things that concern you. Usually,
however, it’s very helpful to have a Bible, preferably a new translation.
And remember that you aren’t reading your Bible to get through a certain
amount of Scripture or to prepare a sermon or to develop a Sunday School
or Bible Study lesson. You’re going to the Bible in order to find
nourishment for your soul. Psalm 37:3-4 puts it very well when it says: “Feed
on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the Lord.” That’s a
good definition of the Quiet Time.
(2) Second, have a procedure for your Quiet Time.
I like to
follow a two-step plan. First, I open God’s Word and, after a brief prayer
asking for His blessing, I start reading where I left off the day before.
I don’t try to read a certain number of verses or chapters; I just read
until I find a verse that speaks to me. Right now I’m reading through the
Gospel of John. It may take me a couple of weeks or a couple of months,
but I’m in no hurry. I just begin reading today where I left off
yesterday, and I look for that verse to underline as my verse for the day.
Then I begin praying at the point of that verse, and move into a time of
prayer. For example, my verse this morning was John 1:43: “Follow Me.” I
began praying at that point and I said, “Lord, help me follow You more
closely,” and then I prayed for my loved ones that they would follow the
Lord, and from there I went into a time of prayer. So that’s the essence
of it—a time of Bible reading and meditation followed by a time of prayer.
It’s a conversation. The Lord speaks to me through His Word, then I speak
to Him in prayer. And it’s through this sort of daily conversation that we
get to know Him better.
(3) Third, use a pen.
As I said
earlier, I like to keep a little notebook. It’s divided into two parts.
The first part is my journal. Every morning I come to my desk fairly
early. I have a cup of coffee and my Bible, and I open my journal and put
down the date. Then I might or might not write something about my day or
how I’m feeling. Usually I make a little entry of some kind. But then I
just put down the Scripture reference that I’m reading, and as I read
through the passage I make notes. I find this an enormous help.
For example, one day this week I came to the passage in John 1 in which
John the Baptist introduced Jesus to the crowds at the River Jordan. I
read the paragraph several times, but it just didn’t seem to register with
me. I felt I was brain-dead. I just didn’t get much out of it. So I
decided to make a little list of everything that John said on that
occasion about Jesus, and, putting pen to paper, I developed a list of
five things about Jesus that John articulated in introducing the Messiah
to the world. I thought, “Wow, this is pretty neat!” One day I might
convert that into a little five-point sermon (for I often find that my
messages are best when they’re the overflow of my own devotions).
The last half of my notebook is for my prayer lists. I have a daily list,
for there are some things I want to pray about every day. Then I have a
list for every day of the week. For example, if I want to pray for a
particular missionary family on a weekly basis, I just take their prayer
card, punch holes in it, and insert it under the Monday tab, or the
Tuesday, or whatever.
(Ed: The godly pastor Charles
Simeon said that "It is scarcely ever that we can intercede with
fervor unless we enjoy habitual nearness to God.")
So I find a little notebook to be an
incredible aid. However, a notebook isn’t necessary, and I’d like to give
you a simpler alternative. Try using the margin of your Bible. Suppose,
for example, you are reading through the Gospel of John. Beside John 1:1,
put today’s day—11/7/04, for example. Then start there and read through
the passage, marking anything that is of interest until you find just the
verse that speaks to your soul for that day. Let’s say that it is Jn 1:16:
“From the fullness of His grace we have all received one blessing after
another” (NIV). Circle that verse and end your reading there. The next
day, put the new date—11/08/04—beside John 1:17 and read on until you find
that day’s verse, then circle it. And so forth.
For a prayer list, you can use the flyleaf of your Bible or a slip of
paper in the back cover. Or you can just use a mental list. I’m not sure
that our Lord took a paper list with Him when He rose early on that
morning in Capernaum and retreated to the nearby mountains. Perhaps it
would work better for you just to say, “Lord, guide me today to those
things You want me to pray about.”
Again, simplicity is the rule. The Word of God and prayer. Going into the
closet and meeting with the Father in secret. A notebook works for me, but
don’t feel like you have to do it the way I do. Find the method that works
best for you.
(4) Fourth, have a place and a regular time.
As I read
through the Gospels, it seems to me that Jesus had two places that He used
for His closet. When He was in the north of Israel, He would retreat into
the mountains to be alone. We saw that in Mark 1, and we also see it later
when He sent His disciples by boat to the other side of the lake while He
Himself went up into the mountains to pray. But where would He go when He
was in Jerusalem? It was much more difficult to be alone there. John 18:2
says that He would often go out of the city, across the Kidron Valley, and
into an olive orchard which was apparently owned by a friend who gave Him
access to it. I suppose the friend said, “Jesus, here’s the key to the
gate. Feel free to relax there whenever you’d like. The place was called
Gethsemane and Judas led the soldiers there to arrest Jesus, for He knew
that Christ often went there late at night or perhaps early in the morning
for His Quiet Time.
For you it might be the kitchen table, or the front seat of your car, or
your bedside at night. And that brings up another question. Does it have
to be in the morning? No. If the evening is better for you, or the
midnight hour, or the noon hour during your lunch break, that’s fine. We
each need to find the routine that works for us. My suggestion is just
that you have a regular time or place in order to make it habitual and
regular and a part of the normal routine of your day.
Some people say, “Can I have my Quiet Time at night?” Absolutely. In fact,
in the Hebrew culture, the day began the night before. Here in our
society, we think of the day beginning with sunrise; but the Jewish people
thought of the day beginning at sunset. The Jewish Sabbath, for example,
begins at sunset on Saturday night and extends into the next day. Genesis
chapter 1 says, “The evening and the morning were the first day,” etc.
They understood the fact that whatever you are thinking about when you go
to sleep is what will reside on your subconscious mind all through the
night hours and will determine our mental mood and makeup for the next
day. So if it works for you to have your devotions at night, that’s
perfectly all right.
Now, whenever I speak on this subject, the question comes up—what about
those times in life when our schedules are out of our control. Sometimes,
despite our very best efforts, we go through periods of life in which we
have a difficult time maintaining a habit such as I’ve described. This is
especially true of mothers of preschoolers.
In my reading, I was intrigued with the testimony of Rosalind Goforth, who
was a mother and a busy missionary in China. She was very eager to
maintain her Quiet Time habit, but she was greatly frustrated by the fact
that no matter how early she got up and how quiet she tried to be, one or
more of her children woke up, and the daily circus just started that much
earlier. So she finally just kept a small Bible or testament with her all
the time, and she learned to take those odd moments all through the day to
memorize Scripture. That way, she had it available for meditation all day
long, and she just turned each day into one long 24-hour Quiet Time.
I’ve read several magazine articles by mothers who have done that very
thing. One had five children between the ages of ten months and ten years,
and finally she went out and bought a handful of small Bibles which she
kept open at various places in the house. One was by the ironing board,
one was by the bathroom vanity. One was by the kitchen sink. And all day
she would catch a snitch of Scripture here and there. And when she bathed
the baby, she would pray for that child. When she folded clothes, she
prayed for the one to whom they belonged. She kept the radio on a
Christian station so that day was filled with Christian music and Bible
teaching. She just turned each day into an extended Quiet Time.
My wife, Katrina, however, has a different idea about it. She was a
stay-at-home mother with three small children; but she sat them down one
day and had a talk with them and said something to this effect: “Now,
girls, I want to be a good mother, and to be a good mother who is kind and
patient, I need to spend time with the Lord each day. So every afternoon
I’m going to have my quiet time, and that’s going to be your alone time in
your rooms. You can sleep or nap or read or play quietly by yourselves,
but you are not to come and interrupt me—and if you do I’ll break your
necks.” I’m really not sure she said that last part, but whatever she said
worked, and she was able to maintain her quiet time even during that phase
of her life.
So there’s more than one way to skin a cat, and there’s more than one way
to have your Quiet Time; but all things being equal, I still think a few
minutes early in the morning with a Bible, notebook, and a cup of strong,
hot coffee is the best way to start the day.
(5) Finally, exercise perseverance.
Paderewski, one of the world’s
greatest pianists, said:
When I miss
a day of practice, I can always tell it. If I miss two days, the critics
will pick it up. If I miss three days, the audience will notice it.
I feel the same way about my Quiet
Harriet Beecher Stowe, the famous
19th century novelist and author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, was a dedicated
Christian and a hymnist. She regularly rose early in the morning for her
time with the Lord. One of her most famous poems speaks to this when she
Still, still with Thee, when purple
When the bird waketh, and the shadows flee;
Fairer than morning, lovelier than daylight,
Dawns the sweet consciousness, I am with Thee.