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Word Studies, Devotionals, Sermons, Illustrations
Old and New Testament.
Updated December 31,
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
Someone has described the morning
quiet time as "turning the dial until we tune in to God's
wavelength—then we get the message." (S. Hughes)
Dennis Fisher -
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 "Whenever a
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
Consider the man who had the motto
"No Bible, no breakfast." Now I don't have a problem with taking in some
physical nourishment before you take in spiritual nourishment. But I do
have a problem (I am confessing now) reading the email from men before we
"open" God's "email" to me! As an aside, morning may not be the best time
for you to meet with God. Just make sure you make time during the day for
the One Who created the day and sustains you all through the day!
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. Don't fall into the fleshly trap of measuring your spirituality by
the number of times you've met with God during the week! Quiet time is to
be a matter of our heart, not our appointment calender! 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.
Adrian Rogers adds that
"Christianity is not a legal relationship; it is a love relationship. And
people who are legalists, never have victory. Ten thousand "don'ts" will
never make you one iota more like the Lord Jesus Christ. Now there are
some "don'ts" in the Christian life and there are some "dos." But friend,
it is Jesus himself, who makes you like Him. You need to spend time with
Jesus Christ. Christianity is a love relationship." (Read his entire
How to Have a Meaningful Quiet Time)
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" - Now when
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. (Da 6:10-note;
cp David's mention of three times a day in Ps 55:17)
Elijah had a "quiet time" to
hear the quiet voice of God - "after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD
was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice." (1Ki
19:12KJV) As Adrian Rogers says "If God speaks with a quiet voice,
you need to have a quiet time and (a quiet) place to hear Him. If you're
around a lot of furor and hubbub and noise, and somebody is whispering,
you're not going to hear Him. That's the reason why you need to have a
quiet time, so that you can pray, "Lord, what is it You really want me to
do?" (What Every Christian Ought to Know Day by Day)
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!)
Claude King - In any
relationship you must spend time with the other person in order for the
relationship to grow. The same holds true for your relationship with
Christ. The most important thing you can do each day is to spend quality
time with your Lord. Many people call this a quiet time. (Growing
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
you start!" Comment:
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."
is the day
whose morning is sanctified!"
Joseph Parker on
Exodus 34:2 - “So be ready by morning, and come up in the morning to
Mount Sinai, and present yourself there to Me on the top of the mountain."
Parker writes - My Father, I am coming. Nothing on the mean plain shall
keep me away from the holy heights. Help me to climb fast, and keep Thou
my foot, lest it fall upon the hard rock! At Thy bidding I come, so Thou
wilt not mock my heart. Bring with Thee honey from Heaven, yea, milk and
wine, and oil for my soul’s good, and stay the sun in his course, or the
time will be too short in which to look upon Thy face, and to hear Thy
gentle voice. Morning on the mount! It will make me strong and glad all
the rest of the day so well begun....The morning is the time fixed for
my meeting the Lord. This very word morning is as a cluster of rich
grapes. Let me crush them, and drink the sacred wine. In the morning! Then
God means me to be at my best in strength and hope. I have not to climb in
my weakness. In the night I have buried yesterday’s fatigue, and in the
morning I take a new lease of energy. Sweet morning! There is hope in its
music. Blessed is the day whose morning is sanctified!
Successful is the day whose first victory was won in prayer! Holy
is the day whose dawn finds thee on the top of the mount! Health is
established in the morning. Wealth is won in the morning. The
light is brightest in the morning. “Wake, psaltery and harp; I myself
will awake early.” (Comment: May these precious benefits associated
with arising in the morning hour, prompt us to sing out Charles Wesley's
song and then to rise and meet our King -
Arise, My Soul, Arise)
F B Meyer on "My presence
shall go with thee" (Exodus 33:14) - We should never leave our prayer
closets in the morning without having concentrated our thoughts deeply and
intensely on the fact of the actual presence of God there with us,
encompassing us, and filling the room as literally as it fills Heaven
itself. It may not lead to any distinct results at first, but, as we make
repeated efforts to realize the presence of God, it will become
increasingly real to us. And, as the habit grows upon us, when alone in a
room, or when treading the sward of some natural woodland temple, or when
pacing the stony street—in the silence of night, or amid the teeming
crowds of daylight—we shall often find ourselves whispering the words,
“Thou art near; thou art here, O Lord.”
In fact the Bible frequently
mentions other godly men and women rising early in the morning to
meet with the Lord:
• Jesus: Mark 1:32-39 "And when evening had come, after the sun had
set, they began bringing to Him all who were ill and those who were
demon-possessed. 33 And the whole city had gathered at the door. 34 And He
healed many who were ill with various diseases, and cast out many demons;
and He was not permitting the demons to speak, because they knew who He
was. 35 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. 36 And
Simon and his companions hunted for Him; 37 and they found Him, and *said
to Him, “Everyone is looking for You.” 38 And He *said to them, “Let us go
somewhere else to the towns nearby, in order that I may preach there also;
for that is what I came out for.” 39 And He went into their synagogues
throughout all Galilee, preaching and casting out the demons." - And so it
appears that Jesus used His time alone with His Father (and remember Jesus
is showing how a perfect man can and should live, even through we will
always fall short of His perfect example) for meaningful fellowship as
well as a time to revive His strength and give Him direction in His
mission. We need to see that time alone with our Father is our spiritual
lifeline. Even in the Garden God sought fellowship with Adam and desired
to walk with him. That pattern has not changed, for He still desires to
walk with His children in every part of their life journey.
• 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 "Have your
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
he "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
Ivor Powell - Trees which
stand on top of a cliff need to send their roots deep!
A B Simpson - Dwell deep
in the hidden life of God. The cedar grows more beneath the ground than
C H Spurgeon - The nearer
we come to God, the more graciously will he reveal himself to us.
Stephen Olford -
God's best for you is closely linked with this daily meeting with Him. The
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. You cannot tell me you have
surrendered to God, that Jesus Christ is Lord of your life, or that you
know the fullness of the Holy Spirit unless you have your manna in the
morning. May your prayer be:
Help me, O Lord, Thy
Word to read,
Upon the living Bread to feed,
Seeking Thy Spirit's quickening lead
That I may please Thee in all things.
Stephen F. Olford
- While still
in his childhood, John Wesley resolved to dedicate an hour each morning
and evening to Bible study and prayer.
Warren Wiersbe - I suggest
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.
Elmer Towns - The secret
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.
Jonathan Edwards - True grace
delights in secret converse with God.
Jim Faucett - It is
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 - :My prayer
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.
- "But Joshua commanded the people, saying, “You shall not shout nor let
your voice be heard, nor let a word proceed out of your mouth, until the
day I tell you, ‘Shout!’ Then you shall shout!”"
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 us
- 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
said "I have so
much to do today that I must spend at least three hours in prayer."
Steven Cole - If you're
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
that "It was
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)
Theodore Epp -
SPIRIT-CONTROLLED OR CARNAL? BY THEODORE EPP (Devotional on Genesis
13:5-13) In considering the lives of Abraham and Lot, we see that
Abraham's life was symbolic of the Spirit-controlled Christian, whereas
Lot's life was symbolic of the carnal Christian. Unconsecrated Christians
who are living according to the flesh are referred to as "carnal" in the
Scriptures (see 1 Cor. 3:1,3). It is never recorded that Lot built an
altar. He was not known for his communion with God. As a result, he got
into trouble, just as any believer gets into trouble when he does not take
time for daily fellowship with God. I am not referring to a time when
the entire family reads the Bible and prays together. This, too, is
extremely important, but I am referring particularly to your personal time
alone with God. Perhaps you say you do not have enough time because you
are too busy with life's activities. Anything that takes you away from
this time of fellowship with God is sin. Regardless of how much work you
have to do, you can find some time to spend with God alone. As a believer,
this is your number one prerogative. The Devil will always see to it that
we have little or no time to fellowship with God. But we can--and we
must--make time for such fellowship. We must put first things first. "Walk
in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh" (Gal. 5:16).
to the Bible)
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)
Max Lucado - 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)
Ray Pritchard - Twenty-five
years ago I spent a summer at Word of Life Island in Schroon Lake, New
York. While I was there as a counselor I was exposed for the first time to
a concept called “the quiet time.” A quiet time means that you set
aside a few minutes each day to read the Bible and pray. The people at
Word of Life were so committed to it that they actually set aside 30
minutes every day when the whole camp stopped and we all went off and had
a quiet time. We even had a little diary that we filled in with our
thoughts and prayers. Some people would call it devotions, others the
morning watch. It makes no difference. In the years since then I have been
to Christian college, four years of Dallas Seminary, further study at
three other seminaries, and completed 18 years as a pastor. I have studied
and read hundreds of books on the spiritual life. When all is said and
done, I know of nothing more important for maintaining a warm relationship
with Jesus Christ than this—a consistent, regular, quality quiet time. I
also testify that it has not gotten easier over the years. In many ways it
has gotten harder. It almost always does because we tend to substitute our
knowledge and Christian activity for this simple discipline of a daily
time with God and his Word. I commend to all of you the practice of a
daily quiet time. How can we say we believe the Bible and accept its
authority if we do not daily spend time in the Word? If you are an elder
or a deacon or a deaconess, if you attend a Christian college or if you
work for a Christian organization, if you have been a Christian for many
years, if you teach Sunday School or serve the Lord in some way, I exhort
you not to rationalize that your knowledge makes a quiet time unnecessary.
New Christians rarely have to be convinced about this. It’s experienced
Christians who tend to drift away. (What
Does It Mean to Believe the Bible - Keep Believing Ministries)
Stephen Olford on the quiet
time - Daily communion with God is more than a commendable practice;
it is absolutely vital to a life of sustained spirituality and maturity.
It is the barometer of the Christian life. Jesus said, "Man shall not live
by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God"
(Matt. 4:4). Read that without the negative comparison, and you will see
what man is to live on. "Man shall live by every spoken word that comes
from God." That is not the Bible memorized, nor the Bible on your
bookshelf, nor in your study. It is the word that God speaks to your soul
in the quiet place of prayer and meditation. That is how man lives. You
can be doctrinally correct and yet be spiritually dead. The thing that
maintains life is the living Word of God spoken to your soul every day.
The quiet time is vital to spiritual health, whether you are newly
converted or a mature Christian (see 1 Pet. 2:2; Heb. 5:14).
The quiet time is vital
for spiritual cleansing. You are initially cleansed by the precious blood,
and again and again you have to return to the cross for restoration. But
the day-to-day cleansing is from the laver of the Word (see Ps. 119:9;
John 15:3; 17:17).
The quiet time is also vital to spiritual counsel. You can never know the
true principles that determine a life of holiness and righteousness
without letting "the word of Christ dwell in you richly" (see Col. 3:16;
The quiet time is
likewise vital in equipping you for spiritual conflict. The supreme
example is our Lord Jesus Christ when He encountered Satan in the
wilderness. For forty days and nights He had fed His soul on the book of
Deuteronomy, and He could therefore make His sword thrusts from a personal
experience of the written Word. Paul later exhorted the Ephesian believers
to "take... the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" (Eph.
6:17). Important as these things are, the greatest incentive to having a
daily quiet time is not your need—great as that is—but the fact that God
wants to meet with you. Therefore, it is not merely a duty; it is a
privilege and an honor. God in Christ has a definite time and place for
meeting with you. His heart is saddened when you fail to keep the
appointment. He longs, as He did with the woman of Samaria, to drink
afresh of your love, devotion, and worship (see John 4:23, 24).
Establishing your quiet
time is never easy. I confess quite frankly that it is harder for me to
have my quiet time now than it was when I was first converted. The reason
for this is that what counts costs.
You will find that the
most vicious attacks of the adversary will be directed toward robbing you
of that daily time with your Lord. And you will have to guard it
fearlessly if you are to keep it. Whatever your sphere of service—as a
pastor, Sunday school teacher, missionary, or Christian in the office or
home—I give you little hope of living victoriously unless you are
successful in maintaining your quiet time.
With the reasons for the
daily quiet time, there are some practical and specific requirements.
First, you will need a definite place and time. Consider the example of
the Lord Jesus (see Mark 1:35). Next, have a good-sized Bible, one with
print you do not have to strain to read. Don't get in the habit of waking
up in the morning, rolling over in bed, and with sleepy eyes trying to
read a Bible with small print. Don't stay in bed at all! Get up and wash
your face or take a shower so that you are fully alert.
Another essential is a
prayer list or prayer cycle—something to keep reminding you to emphasize a
different request for each day. My wife and I use one that works this way:
Monday: M is for missionaries.
Tuesday: T is for thanksgiving for wonderful answers to prayer.
Wednesday: W is for workers.
Thursday: T is for tasks—our job at the church or the ministry God has
Friday: F is for our families.
Saturday: S is for the saints—especially young Christians, that Christ
might be formed in them.
Sunday: S is for sinners—in particular, the gospel services for which we
Then you should have a quiet-time
notebook or journal. I believe that the thoughts of every quiet time
should be written down, even if only in brief sentence form. God gives you
something there you'll never find in a commentary or anywhere else, and
the thoughts are worth keeping.
Along with these tangible
items of equipment, be sure to come to your quiet time with a spirit of
expectancy. I believe such expectancy has at least three contributing
factors. First of all, there is the physical factor. You cannot go to bed
at all hours of the night and expect to get up fresh in the morning. Going
to bed when you ought takes discipline, and some of these social occasions
that you enjoy may be great, but they are not as precious or vital as your
There's a moral factor,
too, in this matter of expectancy. "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the
Lord will not hear" (Ps. 66:18). When there is something in your life that
is out of adjustment with the will of God, don't expect to have fellowship
with Him. If you have something against another person, leave your gift at
the altar and first be reconciled to that individual (Matt. 5:23-24).
Then there is a spiritual
factor involved in this matter of expectancy. John 7:17 states, "If anyone
wants to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine"; that is, he
shall know the teaching. Revelation and obedience are like parallel lines:
as you obey, so He reveals; when you cease to obey, He ceases to reveal.
My experience has been this: when I find it impossible to "get through" to
God, when the Bible has become a dead book to me, usually it is because
there was an issue of obedience on which I had not followed through.
Therefore, before proceeding with my quiet time, I have to get right with
God. (Not I But Christ)
Selwyn Hughes - Organizing a
Quiet Time - I wait and put my hope in His word. I wait for the Lord more
than watchmen for the morning.—Psalm 130:5-6 - Someone has described the
morning quiet time as "turning the dial until we tune in to God's
wavelength—then we get the message." But how do we gain the best
results from our quiet time? First, decide on the amount of time you want
to invest in waiting before God. Next, take your Bible and read a portion
slowly. Let it soak in. If some words or verses strike you, focus on them
in meditation. They will yield up new meanings to you. Write these down.
After the reading, let go, relax, and say to Him: "Father, have You
anything to say to me?" Learn to listen. All those who hear God's voice on
a regular basis say that it is something they have had to develop over
time and by experience. They pause, they wait, and they learn after a
while to disentangle their own thoughts from what God is saying. Then
speak to God in prayer. And finally, thank Him for the answer. He always
answers—whether it is "yes," "no," or "wait." His "no" is just as much an
answer as His "yes"—sometimes even a better answer. (ILLUSTRATION) Not far
from my home is the River Thames. Sometimes I walk along the riverbank and
watch small boats entering the locks from the adjoining rivers. To get
into the Thames, these boats must enter the lock and wait there to be
lifted up to a higher level. Our quiet time does that. It shuts us in with
God. But then infinite resources begin to bubble up from below, and we are
lifted silently and without strain onto a higher level. The lifting is the
result of being shut in with God. Prayer - O Father, help me resolve to
spend a quiet time with You every day. May my quiet time at this moment be
the open door through which I glide out onto a higher level of life. In
Jesus' name. Amen. (Every Day with Jesus)
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 - Devotional
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)
Rick Blackwood on how he prepares his sermons - Let It Overflow
From Your Quiet Time - For me, everything I teach is the overflow of my
quiet time before God. In the early hours of the morning before my family
awakens, I get alone before God, and it is there that he impresses in my
heart about what I should teach. Even though I generally teach through
books of the Bible, it is in my quiet time that God gives me insight into
the Big Idea of the sermon series that I extract from his Word. When I
teach courses on preaching and teaching, I always talk first about the
need for quiet time. People often ask me, "Where do you get your ideas and
illustrations?" Sometimes, there is no rhyme or reason to it. I can only
say that in my time alone with God, incredible thoughts pass from his
heart into my heart, and I write them down. I always have a pad and pen in
my quiet time, because I don't want to miss what God gives me. It works
for me; it will work for you (The Power of Multi-Sensory Preaching and
Disciple Study Bible - How to Have a
Quiet Time - As a disciple, you realize that Christ must be the center
of the Christian life. Spending time with Christ will help keep Him at the
center of your life. This time is known as "the quiet time" or "personal
devotions." Many Christians testify that nothing else has been as
important to them as the daily quiet time. Set aside at least fifteen
minutes each morning for a quiet time. The quiet time is an appointment to
begin the day with Jesus Christ, the center of your life. Follow the
suggestions below to develop a consistent quiet time.
1. Make a personal quiet time the first
priority of your day. Select a time to spend with God that fits your
schedule. The morning hours are usually preferable, but you may want to
set aside your quiet time with the Lord at some other time of the day.
2. Make preparation the night before. Set the alarm earlier to allow the
time you will devote to your quiet time. If it is difficult for you to
wake up in the morning, you may plan to exercise, bathe, or dress before
beginning your quiet time. Select a place where you can be alone the
entire time without interruption. The night before, gather needed
materials—Bible, notebook, prayer list, and pen or pencil.
3. Develop a balanced plan of Bible reading and prayer. The quiet time
helps you practice spiritual disciplines noted on the vertical bar of the
disciple's cross (p. 1749). You may begin your quiet time by examining the
nature of prayer. Choose one subhead under PRAYER (p. 1866). Read one or
more passages under the subhead each day along with the notes on the
subject. As other disciplines and ministries become important in your
life, choose those subjects for your quiet time study. Studying passages
on God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit are good ways to help you abide
in Christ during your quiet time.
The following suggestions are designed to help you abide in Christ by
living in the Word and praying in faith. The suggestions should help you
participate in the disciplines of discipleship.
a. Prepare to Communicate with the
• Praise God for being your Lord.
• Deny yourself by confessing your sins and surrendering your will, mind,
and emotions to the Master.
• Take up your cross by committing yourself to serve the Master today and
asking Him to show you how.
• In your notebook, list questions for which you need answers, matters for
which you need guidance, weaknesses for which you need strength, and any
other life concerns about which you wish to communicate with God.
• Expect God to speak to you about matters on which He places priority and
about which He is ready to reveal His will.
b. Listen to God Speak to You as You
Read His Word.
• Read the introductory summary on
REVELATION (p. 1678).
• Read the Bible systematically. Choose a doctrine or teaching you want to
know more about. Look in the doctrinal index. Find a subhead under the
doctrine. Each day read a passage(s) listed in the index. Read the notes
at the bottom of the page of Scripture text to help you understand and
apply the teaching to your life. Realize that the Scripture text is God's
inspired Word speaking to you. The notes are human interpretations best
used to help you apply God's Word to your life.
• This approach will help balance your study of the Word. Be sure to read
different doctrines. Notice the different types of writing in the
Bible-devotional material (Psalms), wisdom teaching (Proverbs,
Ecclesiastes), historical writing (Joshua), biographical writing (1
Samuel, the Gospels), narrative material (Ruth, Jonah, Acts), doctrinal
writing (Romans), personal letters (Philemon), and apocalyptic writing
• Listen to God speak in one of the four areas for which the Bible states
it is to be used (2 Ti 3:16-17): (a) teaching—teaching the faith; (b)
rebuking—correcting error; (c) correcting—resetting the direction of a
person's life; (d) training—training a person in right living. As you read
the Bible, review these four areas until it becomes automatic to look for
teaching you have not learned, rebuking of an error in your life,
correction of a direction in your life, and instruction leading to
• Mark words, phrases, and verses that speak to you. In the margin place
an M beside verses you want to memorize; a T beside verses with
significant teachings for your life; a C for correction of life's course,
an R for training in right living, and a W beside a verse to use in
witnessing. Some days you may want to go back and review verses you have
marked in a particular category.
• Summarize what you believe God has said to you today through the
Scripture. Review what you have marked. See if any pattern emerges. Has a
particular word or verse spoken to you? Write what God has said to you.
What specific response do you need to make to be a better disciple?
c. Pray about what God has said to you.
• Add a heading in your notebook "What
God said to me." Write your prayer on the basis of what He said.
• If it is a teaching, repeat that teaching to God as you pray. Thank Him
for it. Ask Him to help you apply it to your life. Ask what else He has to
say to you. Praise Him.
• If it is a rebuke, confess your sin or failure. Repent of it. Thank God
for forgiving you. Commit yourself to learn from His rebuke and not repeat
• If it is a correction, tell God you recognize and accept His guidance.
Ask His help in changing your behavior or attitude. Thank Him for His new
• If it is training, promise God you will do as instructed with His help.
Describe one new action you will take today because of the instruction.
• Write in your notebook what you have said to God. Check each day to see
if you have maintained your previous commitment to Him. This will help you
check your growth in discipleship.
Use this plan for a few weeks. It will then become second nature to
you as you begin talking with God on the same channel. Often Christians
talk to God but do not listen to His response. It is as if you were
talking on one channel and God on another. This study method creates
interactive communication with God so you are both talking about the same
things. It also will give you a basis for sharing with others what God has
been saying to you. Later, in reviewing your notes, you will see patterns
of what God has been communicating to you over a period of time as well as
things that you have been concerned about.
Another plan would be to read through a book of the Bible each week
d. Be persistent until you are
consistent. Aim for consistency rather than for length of time spent.
Consider having a quiet time for a few
minutes every day rather than having long devotional time periods every
other day. You are laying a foundation for a lifelong habit. Expect
interruptions. More than any other one thing, Satan will try to prevent
your spending time with God. He fears the weakest Christian on his or her
knees. Do not get frustrated at the persons or events that interrupt your
quiet time. Have your quiet time when you will not be interrupted, and
plan around interruptions to your quiet time rather than becoming
frustrated by them.
e. Focus on the Person you are meeting
rather than on the habit of the quiet time.
If you were meeting your country's
leader at that time, you would not let anything stand in your way. What
about meeting God? Your fellowship with God is important to Him as well as
to you. He created you with a capacity for fellowship with Him; and He
saved you to restore that fellowship. Read the introductory summary on GOD
f. Keep your notebook daily. (Disciple's
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
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.
EXAMPLES OF QUIET TIME
OF SOME WELL KNOWN SAINTS
(1) Missionary and author Isobel Kuhn,
in her book In the Arena, wrote about a time when she was a student at
Moody Bible Institute and found herself so busy with school and work
demands that she was in danger of quenching her devotional life. Other
students were facing similar problems. So they met together and Isobel
suggested they sign a covenant—not a vow, but a statement of intention—to
“I suggested our making a covenant with
the Lord to spend an hour a day (for about a year) in the Lord’s presence,
in prayer or reading the Word. The purpose was to form the habit of
putting God in the centre of our day and fitting the work of life around
Him, rather than letting the day’s business occupy the central place and
trying to fix a quiet time with the Lord somewhere shoved into the odd
corner or leisure moment.”
Only about nine people signed the
covenant to begin with, but the news spread and others began to join. For
Isobel, the major problem became finding a quiet place. She wrote,
“The only place I could find where I
would disturb no one was the cleaning closet! So each morning I stole down
the hall, entered the closet, turned the scrubbing pail upside down, sat
on it, and with mops and dust rags hanging around my head, I spent a
precious half-hour with the Master. The other half-hour had to be found at
the end of the day.”[Isobel Kuhn, In the Arena (Singapore: OMF Books,
1995), pp. 30-32]
(2) Another missionary to China, Bertha
Smith, wrote an absolutely fascinating story of her life. It was
bitterly cold in her part of China. During the day she wore thirty pounds
of clothing, and at night she slept under heavy bedding and with a hot
water bottle. But her challenge came in the early morning hour when she
wanted to rise before others so she could have her quiet time before the
scores of interruptions that each day brought. She would struggle in the
darkness to put on her thirty pounds of clothing, then break the ice to
wash her face in the cold water, and then she would slip out to a
particular haystack where she should rake aside the frosted part of the
hay, kneel down, and spend time with the Lord before the sun came up.
[Bertha Smith, Go Home and Tell (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers,
1995), p. 76]
(3) the great Puritan, Thomas Watson,
“The best time to converse with God is
before worldly occasions stand knocking at the door to be let in: The
morning is, as it were, the cream of the day, let the cream be taken off,
and let God have it. Wind up thy heart towards heaven at the beginning of
the day, and it will go the better all the day after. He that loseth his
heart in the morning in the world will hardly find it again all the day.
O! Christians, let God have your morning meditations.”[Thomas Watson,
Gleanings from Thomas Watson (Morgan, PA: Soli Deo Gloria Publications,
1995, first published in London in 1915), p. 107]
(4) Here is what one of his biographers
said about William Carey, the “Father of Modern Missions” who served many
years in the land of Burma:
“On Carey, as the director of the whole
enterprise, the heaviest burden of responsibility fell. He was still a
gardener at heart. He found God specially near among the flowers and
shrubs of a garden. In the walled garden of the mission house at
Serampore, he built an arbor which he called his ‘bower.’ There at
sunrise, before tea, and at the time of full moon when there was the least
danger from snakes, he meditated and prayed, and the Book which he
ceaselessly translated for others was his own source of strength and
refreshment.” [Iris Clinton, Young Man in a Hurry: The Story of William
Carey (Fort Washington, PA: Christian Literature Crusade, 1961, pp. 55-56]
(5) A well-known British statesman, the
late Earl Cairns, Lord Chancellor of England, was an extremely busy
man, but no matter what time he reached home in the evening, he always
arose at the same hour to have his quiet time the next morning. His wife
“We would sometimes get home from
Parliament at two o’clock in the morning, but Lord Cairns would always
arise at the same hour to pray and study the Bible.” He later attributed
his success in life to this practice. [R. A. Torrey, How to Succeed in the
Christian Life (Chicago: Moody Press, u.d.), p. 50]
This is what a biographer wrote
about evangelist D. L. Moody:
“He was an early riser. He generally
rose about daybreak in summer, devoting the early hours to Bible study and
communion with God. He used to say that one who followed this plan could
not get more than twenty-four hours away from God.” [A. P. Fitt, The Life
of D. L. Moody (Chicago: Moody Press, u.d.), p. 114]
This is what I read in the biography
of the well-known 19th century Bible teacher, G. Campbell Morgan:
“Here was a man who coveted for himself
a constant withdrawal from the pressing demands of his busy life, and kept
inviolate the sanctity of the early morning vigil of prayer and
meditation. Here he breathed the atmosphere of heaven, and daily recharged
his spirit with the power that in turn poured out in extravagant measure
in the preaching and proclamation of the Word.”[Jill Morgan, A Man of the
Word: Life of G. Campbell Morgan (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1972),
(8) In the biography of missionary
physician, L. Nelson Bell, John Pollock writes:
“Most important of all was Nelson
Bell’s discipline of devotional life. Early every morning he had a cup of
coffee and went to his desk for about an hour of Bible study and prayer.
He set himself to master the content and meaning of the Bible, devising
such study schemes as looking up every Old Testament reference which
occurs in the New Testament and typing it out. Then he turned to prayer,
for friends, colleagues, and patients, praying especially for every
patient listed for operation that day… This cycle of reading and prayer
did not strike Nelson as formidable but vital.” [John C. Pollock, A
Foreign Devil in China (Minneapolis, Minnesota: World Wide Publications,
1971), p. 52]
(9) In the biography of the famous
Christian philanthropist, George Muller of Bristol, there’s a very
interesting story. Muller was having health problems, and the doctors
advised more sleep. So he began sleeping later each day, and he grew worse
and worse. He finally determined that his late rising was interrupting his
Quiet Time, and that was affecting him spiritually. His spiritual decline
was simply worsening his physical health. So he resumed his habit of
rising early for prayer and Bible study. His biographer wrote,
“This resumption of early rising
secured long seasons of uninterrupted interviews with God, in prayer and
meditation on the Scriptures, before breakfast and the various inevitable
interruptions that followed. He found himself not worse but better,
physically, and became convinced that to have lain longer in bed as before
would have kept his nerves weak; and, as to spiritual life, such new
vitality and vigor accrued from thus waiting upon God while others slept,
that it continued to be the habit of his (later years).” [A. T. Pierson,
George Muller of Bristol (Old Tappen, NJ: Fleming H. Revell Co., u.d.),
pp. 163-164.] (Robert Morgan's sermon -
I Need Help With My Quiet Time)
Illustration of Quiet Time
- One of Rabbi Ben Jochai’s pupils once asked him, “Why did not the Lord
furnish enough manna to Israel for a year, all at one time?”
The teacher said, “I will answer you with a parable. Once there was a king
who had a son to whom he gave a yearly allowance, paying him the entire
sum on the fixed date. It soon happened that the day on which the
allowance was due was the only day of the year when the father ever saw
his son. So the king changed his plan and gave his son day by day that
which was sufficient for the day; and then the son visited his father
every morning. How he needed his father’s unbroken love, companionship,
wisdom, and giving!”
Thus God dealt with Israel and deals with us in our daily walk.
(Illustrations for Biblical Preaching - Green, Michael P)
Illustration of Need for
Quiet Time - It is said that
a piano can go out of tune by hard use. The constant striking of the
strings may loosen them, and they need to be adjusted if they are to
continue producing harmonious sounds. Someone has written, “In like manner
all common experiences have an exhausting effect upon us, even when we
serve the Lord … As we minister to others, as we strive and struggle, duty
drains our life-fountain. We then need to come into God’s presence for
spiritual renewal … In the
of that fellowship He tunes our lives and strengthens us for further
service. - H. G. Bosch, Our Daily Bread
Quiet Time With God - He makes
me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.
The word connected captures our contemporary experience of life. Many
people rarely go anywhere without a cell phone, iPod, laptop, or pager. We
have become accessible 24 hours a day. Some psychologists see this craving
to stay connected as an addiction. Yet a growing number of people are
deliberately limiting their use of technology. Being a “tech-no” is their
way of preserving times of quiet, while limiting the flow of information
into their lives.
Many followers of Christ find that a daily time of Bible reading and
prayer is essential in their walk of faith. This “quiet time” is a
disconnection from external distractions in order to connect with God. The
“green pastures” and “still waters” of Psalm 23:2 are more than an idyllic
country scene. They speak of our communion with God whereby He restores
our souls and leads us in His paths (v.3).
All of us can make time to meet with God, but do we? In Robert Foster’s
booklet “7 Minutes With God,” he suggests a way to begin: Start with a
brief prayer for guidance, then read the Bible for a few minutes, and
close with a short time of prayer that includes adoration, confession,
thanksgiving, and supplication for others. It’s vital to take time today
to connect with the Lord, who is our life.
We need to set aside the time
To read God’s Word and pray,
And listen for the Spirit’s voice
To guide us in His way. —Sper
Time spent with God is time well spent.
Time Together Hard to Schedule -
A recently married man loved his young bride intensely. He wanted to
provide her with the best home, nicest clothes, and everything else she
might want. Though he had to hold down two jobs to do so, he did not mind,
because they enabled him to provide for her many good things. Time
together was hard to schedule, but he figured that later on, once they
were set financially, there would be plenty. Yet, as so often happens,
within a few years his wife left him, not for more money or material
things, but for a man who would spend time with her. We often serve God
and obey Him, expending much time and energy in doing things that we
believe will please Him. But this is not enough. God wants us to know Him
intimately, to develop a relationship through the time we spend with Him.
(Illustrations for Biblical Preaching - Green, Michael P)
neglect - Devotional on Daniel 6:10 - In her book A Practical Guide to
Prayer, Dorothy Haskins tells about a noted concert violinist who was
asked the secret of her mastery of the instrument. The woman answered the
question with two words: "Planned neglect." Then she explained,
"There were many things that
used to demand my time. When I went to my room after breakfast, I made my
bed, straightened the room, dusted, and did whatever seemed necessary.
When I finished my work, I turned to my violin practice. That system
prevented me from accomplishing what I should on the violin. So I reversed
things. I deliberately planned to neglect everything else until my
practice period was complete. And that program of planned neglect is the
secret of my success."
This same principle can be
helpful as we plan a daily quiet time with the Lord. Unless we
discipline ourselves and make a deliberate effort, trivial things will
keep us from establishing a consistent devotional life. Let's give our
time with the Lord top priority by "planned neglect" of things of lesser
value. He deserves first place in our lives. —R. W. De Haan
Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by
permission. All rights reserved)
To walk with God,
We must make it a practice
To talk with God.
Devotional on Ps 143:10
- For the last three years an architectural firm in Denver Colorado, has
had a "quiet time" for its employees. Sixty minutes of silence are set
aside each day at mid-morning for thinking and planning. It has proven to
be an essential feature for the staff of twenty-five who work together in
one large open room. One employee said that at first the idea didn't sound
very good to them. But now, having discovered its benefits, they have
become very protective of their quiet time. They have found it to be
an important aid in realizing one of the firm's goals, which is to have an
atmosphere of "integrity and calmness."
What about us? Do we have enough of the right kind of quiet time? Let's
not use the excuse that we really can't afford the time to get alone with
God and be quiet. The truth is, we really can't afford to be without it.
—M. R. De Haan. II
If you want strength to
meet the day,
Take time alone to pray.
Quiet Time: A group of
British miners in Australia heard the sweet song of a thrush one evening
as they worked. The lovely sound hushed these hardened men into absolute
silence. In the stillness their hearts became tender as memories of their
boyhood days in their beloved England swept over them. Similarly, when we
are quiet, God speaks to us most clearly and effectively.
Stepping into the stillness of a cold winter morning and gazing upon
fields and buildings coated with dazzling frost or covered with sparkling
snow have been unforgettable experiences. During the night, the silvery
frost had come silently, its unseen fingers deftly touching the landscape.
Or feathery snowflakes had descended with-out awakening a single soul. The
silence of such a moment brings to mind the words of Psalm 46:10:
Be still, and know that I
I would also think of
The LORD is in His holy
Let all the earth keep silence before Him.
God speaks to us during other
times of silence as well. Sooner or later we lie sleepless as a result of
illness, grief, or anxiety. These can be precious moments of quiet
solitude when we tell the Lord we love Him and want Him to speak to us. In
the stillness we can learn lessons we'd learn in no other way. We
experience a new peace—a fresh sense of His presence. But we need not wait
for a sleepless night! —H. V. Lugt
The quiet hour
is the power hour.
MINUTES WITH GOD
by Robert D. Foster
REMEMBER THE MORNING
THE CAMBRIDGE SEVEN
It was in 1882 on the campus of
Cambridge University that the world was first given the slogan:
Remember the morning watch.
Students like Hooper and Thornton found
their days "loaded" with studies, lectures, games and bull sessions.
Enthusiasm and activity were the order of the day. These dedicated
men soon discovered a flaw in their spiritual armor -- a small crack which
if not soon closed, would bring disaster.
They sought an answer and came up with
a scheme they called the morning watch -- a plan to spend the first
minutes of a new day alone with God, praying and reading the Bible. The
sealed the crack. It enshrined a truth so often obscured by the
pressure of ceaseless activity that it needs daily rediscovery: To
know God, it is necessary to spend consistent time with Him.
The idea caught fire. "A
remarkable period of religious blessing" followed, and
culminated in the departure of the Cambridge Seven, a band of prominent
athletes and men of wealth and education, for missionary service.
They gave up everything to go out to China for Christ.
But these men found that getting out of
bed in time for the morning watch was as difficult as it was vital.
Thornton was determined to turn indolence into discipline. He invented an
automatic, foolproof cure for laziness. It was a contraption set up
by his bed:
"The vibration of an alarm clock set
fishing tackle in motion, and the sheets, clipped to the line, moved
swiftly into the air off the sleeper's body."
Thornton wanted to get up to meet his
INTIMACY OF COMMUNION WITH CHRIST
The intimacy of communion with Christ
must be recaptured in the morning quiet time. Call it what you want
-- the quiet time, personal devotions, the morning watch, or individual
worship -- these holy minutes at the start of each day explain the inner
secret of Christianity. It's the golden thread that ties every great man
of God together -- from Moses of David Livingstone, the prophet Amos to
Billy Graham -- rich and poor, businessmen and military personnel.
Every man who ever became somebody for God has this at the core of his
priorities: time alone with God!
David says in (Ps
My heart is fixed, O God. My heart is
fixed: I will sing & give praise (KJV)
Prepared is my heart, O God. Prepared
is my heart. I sing & praise (Young's Literal)
A fixed and established heart produces
stability in life. Few men in the Christian community have this
heart and life. One of the missing links has been a workable plan on
how to begin and maintain a morning watch.
I want to suggest that in order to get
under way, you start with seven minutes. Perhaps you could call it a
daily "Seven-Up." Five minutes may be too short, and ten minutes for
some is a little too long at first.
Are you willing to take seven minutes
every morning? Not five mornings out of seven, not six days out of seven
-- but seven days out of seven! Ask God to help you:
"Lord, I want to meet You the first
thing in the morning for at least seven minutes. Tomorrow when the
alarm clock goes off at 6:15 a.m., I have an appointment with You."
Your prayer might be,
morning, O Lord,
You hear my voice; morning by morning
I lay my requests before You and wait in expectation"
How do you spend these seven minutes?
After getting out of bed and taking care of your personal needs, you will
want to find a quiet place and there with your Bible enjoy the solitude of
seven minutes with God.
Invest the first 30 seconds preparing
your heart. Thank Him for the good night of sleep and the opportunities of
this new day.
"Lord, cleanse my heart so You can
speak to me through the Scriptures. Open my heart. Fill my
heart. Make my mind alert, my soul active, and my heart responsive.
Lord, surround me with Your presence during this time. Amen."
Now take four minutes to read the
Bible. Your greatest need is to hear some word from God. Allow
the Word to strike fire in your heart (See book -
Fire in Your Heart
if your "spiritual coals"
Meet the Author!
One of the Gospels is a good place to
begin reading. Start with the Book of Mark. Read consecutively –
verse after verse, chapter after chapter. Don't race, but avoid
stopping to do a Bible study on some word, thought, or theological problem
which presents itself. Read for the pure joy of reading and allowing
God to speak -- perhaps just 20 verses, or maybe a complete chapter.
When you have finished Mark, start the Gospel of John. Soon you'll
want to go ahead and read the entire New Testament.
After God has spoken through His Book,
then speak to Him -- in prayer. You now have two and a half minutes
left for fellowship with Him in four areas of prayer that you can remember
by the word...
A -- ADORATION. This is
the purest kind of prayer because it's all for God -- there's nothing in
it for you. You don't barge into the presence of royalty. You begin
with the proper salutation. So worship Him. Tell the Lord that
you love Him. Reflect on His greatness, His power, His majesty, and
C -- CONFESSION follows.
Having seen Him you now want to be sure every sin is cleansed and
forsaken. Confession comes from a root word meaning "to agree
together with." Apply this to prayer. It means to agree with God.
Something happened yesterday you called a slight exaggeration -- God calls
it a lie! You call it strong language -- God calls it swearing.
You call it telling the truth about somebody in the church -- God calls it
T -- THANKSGIVING.
Express your gratitude to God. Think of several specific things to thank
Him for: your family, your business, your church and ministry
responsibilities -- even thank Him for hardships. "In everything
give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you"
S -- SUPPLICATION.
This means to "ask for, earnestly and humbly." This is the part of
your prayer life where you make your petitions known to Him. Ask for
others, then for yourself. Why not include other people around the
world, such as missionaries, students studying abroad, friends in distant
and above all the people of many lands who have yet to hear about Jesus
7 MINUTES TOGETHER
TIME IN MINUTES
ACTIVITY IN TIME
Prayer for guidance (Ps 143:8-note)
Reading the Bible (Ps 119:18-note)
Prayer consisting of...
This is simply a guide. Very soon
you will discover that it is impossible to spend only seven minutes with
the Lord. An amazing thing happens -- seven minutes become 20, and
it's not long before you're spending 30 precious minutes with Him.
Do not become devoted to the habit,
but to the Savior.
Do it not because other men are
doing it -- not as a spiritless duty every morning, nor
merely as an end in itself, but because God has granted the priceless
privilege of fellowship with Himself. Covenant with Him now to
guard, nourish, and maintain your morning watch of seven minutes.
devotionals, testimonials, etc on the value of memorizing God's Word
BORN TO REPRODUCE
A short biography on the abundant life of Dawson Trotman founder of
The Navigators. If you are not familiar with how God supernaturally
used this man, you NEED TO READ his encouraging, motivating
biography, because every saint is exhorted to
remember those who
led you, who spoke the word of God to you and considering the result
of their conduct, imitate their faith (Hebrews 13:8)
but we cannot imitate one whom we do not know.
Quiet Time -
to listen to
Gene Warr's (Navigator's) Message
The Navigators is an international,
interdenominational Christian organization. Jesus Christ gave His
followers a Great Commission in Matthew 28.19.
Go therefore and
make disciples of all nations.
The primary aim of the
Navigators is to help fulfill Christ's Great Commission by making
disciples and developing disciple makers in every nation.
In His Presence - Dennis Fisher
See Pastor Ray Stedman's
The Power of His Presence
Excellent Adjunct to your Morning
Time in His Presence!
Beloved, How goes your daily
communion with Your Best Friend, the Living Lord, the King of kings?
See Bibleteacher.org (this does not signify I
agree with all of the information in these books - be a Berean)
Simple Study on the Power of God's Word
A Primer on the Lost Art of Biblical Meditation
Memorizing God's Word - Why? How? Resource links...
How to Perform A Greek Word Study on the Web
Greek Tense, Voice, Mood Reference Guide
Greek Word Studies - in depth
Figures of speech
Naturalistic, Existentialistic, Dogmatic
Introduction to Inductive Bible Study
Observation - What does it say?
Interpretation - What does it mean?
Application - How do I respond?
Bible Commentaries - some
comments and caveats
RBC Discovery House Booklets:
many Biblical topics
NEED HELP WITH MY QUIET TIME
(Some duplication in excerpts quoted above)
I rise before the dawning of
the morning, and cry for help; I hope in your Word. My eyes are
awake through the night watches, that I may meditate on Your Word.
Today we’re coming to the end of our series of messages entitled “I
Need Help ASAP” and our concluding study will be on the subject: “I
Need Help with My Quiet Time.” By quiet time, I mean the practice of
having a daily appointment with the Lord, a regular period of daily
Bible study and prayer. Some people call this the practice of having
daily devotions. Others call it the Morning Watch. It’s the missing
vital ingredient in many a Christian life, and today I’d like to
approach this from three different angles. First, I’d like to share
a word of personal testimony on this subject. Second, I’d like to
show you some Scriptures that address this topic in the Bible.
Third, I want to share with you a handful of practical ideas and
suggestions for having a meaning Quiet Time on your own.
A Personal Testimony
By way of personal testimony, I want to give a word of thanksgiving
to the Lord for bringing several influences into my life that helped
me establish this practice when I was younger.
The first influence, although I wasn’t aware of it at the time, was
my father. As I grew up, I would often see him reading his Bible at
night; and when I was barely old enough to read, he bought me a
little Bible which I kept beside my bed, and in this way I learned
as a child to read the Scriptures daily.
That didn’t mean, however, that I was actively having a meaningful
quiet time, and as I grew older I got away from any sort of close
daily fellowship with the Lord and grew confused by life, as young
people often do. In my confusion, I enrolled at Columbia Bible
College in South Carolina, transferring there as a sophomore. It was
on my second night there that I surrendered my life to the Lord, and
it was at that school that I began to learn the importance of the
In fact, student life was, at that time in the early 1970s, very
regimented, and the daily Quiet Time was a required part of our
schedule. We were awakened every morning at 6:15 by a bell loud
enough to call the fire department. We had a half-hour to shower,
shave, and dress, then another bell would ring, signaling our Quiet
Time. We had half an hour every morning, from 6:45 to 7:15, and then
a third bell would clang, releasing us to go to breakfast. For three
years that was my college routine, and it established my Quiet Time
habit for life. But I’ll also have to say that I first I wasn’t too
excited about it. I liked to stay up late, and sometimes I’d just
sit there during my Quiet Time period in a dead sleep.
Then one day a man came to preach in our chapel services, and I had
never heard anyone like him. He stood in the pulpit like a machine
gun, with a rapid fire, crystal-clear delivery with a crisp British
accent, and he delivered brilliant expositions on interesting
passages of Scripture. He had a great deal of spiritual power about
him, and after chapel one day I went up to him—his name was Stephen
Olford—and I asked him if he had any advice for a young man
contemplating going into the ministry.
“Yes,” he said with the same dramatic delivery I head heard in the
pulpit. “Yes,” he said, “I do. Never, never, never miss your Quiet
That’s all he said. But that was enough. I began to realize that
there must be something pretty important about this half-hour
between the bells.
It was 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
And then I began to come upon another set of influences. I became
interested in Christian biography and autobiography, and over and
over, as I read about the lives and ministries of great Christian
men and women, I discovered they all had one thing in common. They
maintained a Quiet Time habit. I’ll give you some examples:
Ø Missionary and author
Isobel Kuhn, in her book In the Arena,
wrote about a time when she was a student at Moody Bible Institute
and found herself so busy with school and work demands that she was
in danger of quenching her devotional life. Other students were
facing similar problems. So they met together and Isobel suggested
they sign a covenant—not a vow, but a statement of intention—to this
effect: “I suggested our making a covenant with the Lord to spend an
hour a day (for about a year) in the Lord’s presence, in prayer or
reading the Word. The purpose was to form the habit of putting God
in the centre of our day and fitting the work of life around Him,
rather than letting the day’s business occupy the central place and
trying to fix a quiet time with the Lord somewhere shoved into the
odd corner or leisure moment.” Only about nine people signed the
covenant to begin with, but the news spread and others began to
join. For Isobel, the major problem became finding a quiet place.
She wrote, “The only place I could find where I would disturb no one
was the cleaning closet! So each morning I stole down the hall,
entered the closet, turned the scrubbing pail upside down, sat on
it, and with mops and dust rags hanging around my head, I spent a
precious half-hour with the Master. The other half-hour had to be
found at the end of the day.”
Ø Another missionary to China, Bertha Smith, wrote an
absolutely fascinating story of her life. It was bitterly cold in
her part of China. During the day she wore thirty pounds of
clothing, and at night she slept under heavy bedding and with a hot
water bottle. But her challenge came in the early morning hour when
she wanted to rise before others so she could have her quiet time
before the scores of interruptions that each day brought. She would
struggle in the darkness to put on her thirty pounds of clothing,
then break the ice to wash her face in the cold water, and then she
would slip out to a particular haystack where she should rake aside
the frosted part of the hay, kneel down, and spend time with the
Lord before the sun came up.
Ø The great Puritan, Thomas Watson, wrote: “The best time to
converse with God is before worldly occasions stand knocking at the
door to be let in: The morning is, as it were, the cream of the day,
let the cream be taken off, and let God have it. Wind up thy heart
towards heaven at the beginning of the day, and it will go the
better all the day after. He that loseth his heart in the morning in
the world will hardly find it again all the day. O! Christians, let
God have your morning meditations.”
Ø Here is what one of his biographers said about William
Carey, the “Father of Modern Missions” who served many years in the
land of Burma: “On Carey, as the director of the whole enterprise,
the heaviest burden of responsibility fell. He was still a gardener
at heart. He found God specially near among the flowers and shrubs
of a garden. In the walled garden of the mission house at Serampore,
he built an arbor which he called his ‘bower.’ There at sunrise,
before tea, and at the time of full moon when there was the least
danger from snakes, he meditated and prayed, and the Book which he
ceaselessly translated for others was his own source of strength and
Ø A well-known British statesman, the late Earl Cairns, Lord
Chancellor of England, was an extremely busy man, but no matter what
time he reached home in the evening, he always arose at the same
hour to have his quiet time the next morning. His wife said, “We
would sometimes get home from Parliament at two o’clock in the
morning, but Lord Cairns would always arise at the same hour to pray
and study the Bible.” He later attributed his success in life to
Ø This is what a biographer wrote about evangelist D. L.
Moody: “He was an early riser. He generally rose about daybreak in
summer, devoting the early hours to Bible study and communion with
God. He used to say that one who followed this plan could not get
more than twenty-four hours away from God.”
Ø This is what I read in the biography of the well-known 19th
century Bible teacher, G. Campbell Morgan: “Here was a man who
coveted for himself a constant withdrawal from the pressing demands
of his busy life, and kept inviolate the sanctity of the early
morning vigil of prayer and meditation. Here he breathed the
atmosphere of heaven, and daily recharged his spirit with the power
that in turn poured out in extravagant measure in the preaching and
proclamation of the Word.”
Ø In the biography of missionary physician, L. Nelson Bell,
John Pollock writes: “Most important of all was Nelson Bell’s
discipline of devotional life. Early every morning he had a cup of
coffee and went to his desk for about an hour of Bible study and
prayer. He set himself to master the content and meaning of the
Bible, devising such study schemes as looking up every Old Testament
reference which occurs in the New Testament and typing it out. Then
he turned to prayer, for friends, colleagues, and patients, praying
especially for every patient listed for operation that day… This
cycle of reading and prayer did not strike Nelson as formidable but
Ø In the biography of the famous Christian philanthropist,
George Muller of Bristol, there’s a very interesting story. Muller
was having health problems, and the doctors advised more sleep. So
he began sleeping later each day, and he grew worse and worse. He
finally determined that his late rising was interrupting his Quiet
Time, and that was affecting him spiritually. His spiritual decline
was simply worsening his physical health. So he resumed his habit of
rising early for prayer and Bible study. His biographer wrote, “This
resumption of early rising secured long seasons of uninterrupted
interviews with God, in prayer and meditation on the Scriptures,
before breakfast and the various inevitable interruptions that
followed. He found himself not worse but better, physically, and
became convinced that to have lain longer in bed as before would
have kept his nerves weak; and, as to spiritual life, such new
vitality and vigor accrued from thus waiting upon God while others
slept, that it continued to be the habit of his (later years).”
Those are just a sampling of things that I observed as I read the
stories of great men and women, and so it’s no wonder that my
appreciation increased for the importance of the Quiet Time. And so,
by God’s grace, this is a habit that I’ve maintained since 1971. I
can’t say that I’ve never missed a day, because I have. Occasionally
I still do. But by and large, I consider this the most important
habit of my life and I frankly think I would collapse without it. It
provides the daily nourishment for my soul just like food and water
for the body.
A Biblical Mandate
Now we come to the second angle on this subject: What does the Bible
say? A personal testimony is worthless unless it’s validated by the
authority of Scripture. I’d like to show you several verses that
speak to this very clearly. Let’s begin with the prophet Daniel
where I want to show you seven very important words. Perhaps you’re
familiar with the story of Daniel in the lion’s den. Daniel, at the
time the incident occurred, was quite old, and everyone knew about
his faithfulness to his daily devotions and to his prayer time. His
political enemies schemed against him by persuading the king to
issue a one-month prohibition against prayer. Look at Daniel 6:10
and notice especially the last seven words of the verse:
Now when Daniel knew that the writing (the prohibition) was signed,
he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward
Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and
prayed and gave thanks before His God, as was his custom since early
As was his custom since early days! This was a lifelong habit. I
suppose Daniel rose in the morning for his Quiet Time, then went to
his office and worked through the morning before coming home at
lunch where he also found a few minutes for prayer. And then at the
close of day, his work behind him, he spent time with the Lord
before going to bed. That was his lifelong habit.
Now look at the example of one greater than Daniel in Mark 1:35: Now
in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, (Jesus)
went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed.
And finally, look at Matthew 6:6: “But when you pray, go into your
room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is
in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward
The old versions say, “Go into your closet.” I still like that old
translation. I remember visiting in London with my wife, Katrina,
and we took a tour of the house of John Wesley, the famous
evangelist and the founder of the Methodist movement. On the second
floor was Wesley’s bedroom, and attached to the bedroom was a little
room about the size of a closet with nothing in it except a small
table and chair and a little window. This was Wesley’s prayer
closet, and it was called the powerhouse of Methodism.
The actual Greek word Matthew used was tameion. It occurs four times
in the New Testament, and it means a storage room, a pantry, a spare
stable in the barn, a root cellar. In those days, large families
tended to live together in rather small houses. There was very
little privacy. The only room not inhabited would be the storage
room. Jesus was advising us to find a quiet, private place and use
it as a place to meet secretly with the God of this universe. That’s
what the quiet time is.
Now I need to say two words of
First, it’s important to realize that a daily Quiet Time does not
represent the totality of our fellowship with God. It doesn’t mean
that we can meet God in the morning and then leave Him there in the
closet while we go into the day. The Bible tells us to pray without
ceasing. In other words, communion and fellowship with God is the
constant privilege of the Christian.
Earlier I mentioned something Dr. Stephen Olford had said to me when
I was a college student. Well, many decades later, just before he
went home to be with the Lord, I met with him again, and once again,
I asked him about his daily Quiet Time habit. He said:
“I have a very, very simple procedure. I read from Genesis to
Revelation. When I reach Revelation I go back to Genesis. Even
though I have read it over the years—over and over and over
again—never a morning with God that He does not reveal something new
to me. I read the passage three times: First time generally, second
time expositionally, third time personally. I let the Lord speak to
me, showing me in His Word a promise to keep, a prayer to echo, a
command to obey, a sin to confess, etc. I personalize it entirely
and write in that form. And then I like to take what I have written
and loosely turn that into prayer so that my prayers are not
mechanical. It is not a Chinese wheel I can just put on and watch TV
while it plays. It is a prayer that comes right out of my quiet time
before I go into thanksgiving, intercessions, etc.”
Then I asked him if he kept a prayer list. He replied:
“Yes. My prayer 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, one of them is a famous
golfing figure that I’m praying for earnestly, because I believe if
he were converted it would turn the youth world upside down. Anyway,
I do have a prayer list, and under those headings. 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. At the drop of a hat… and so I
feel I live in that of perpetual prayer.”
You see, the Quiet Time is not the totality of our fellowship or
communion with Christ. Instead, it sets the stage for it all day
Second, it’s also important to realize that a daily Quiet Time is
not simply a routine or a ritual. It’s a relationship. We meet
Christ at the cross, and we call that conversion. We meet with Him
in the closet, and we call that conversation. At the cross is where
we come to know Christ, and in the closet is where we grow to know
Exodus 33:11 says that Moses met with the Lord face to face, as a
man speaks with His friend.
If I may go back to my college days for just a moment, it was just
as I was learning this habit that Ralph Carmichael wrote a song
about it that was popular during those days.
There is a
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.
Heritage Singers - There is A Quiet Place - YouTube
A Practical Plan
Now I’d like to devote the remainder of the message to some
practical suggestions as to the daily Quiet Time. How do we do it?
First, remember the purpose of the Quiet Time. It is 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.
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.
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.
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 verse 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.
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
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.
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 Time. Harriet Beecher Stow, 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 writes:
with Thee, when purple morning breaketh,
When the bird waketh, and the shadows flee;
Fairer than morning, lovelier than daylight,
Dawns the sweet consciousness, I am with Thee.
1 Isobel Kuhn, In the Arena (Singapore: OMF Books, 1995), pp. 30-32.
2 Bertha Smith, Go Home and Tell (Nashville: Broadman & Holman
Publishers, 1995), p. 76.
3 Thomas Watson, Gleanings from Thomas Watson (Morgan, PA: Soli Deo
Gloria Publications, 1995, first published in London in 1915), p.
4 Iris Clinton, Young Man in a Hurry: The Story of William Carey
(Fort Washington, PA: Christian Literature Crusade, 1961, pp. 55-56.
5 R. A. Torrey, How to Succeed in the Christian Life (Chicago: Moody
Press, u.d.), p. 50.
6 A. P. Fitt, The Life of D. L. Moody (Chicago: Moody Press, u.d.),
7 Jill Morgan, A Man of the Word: Life of G. Campbell Morgan (Grand
Rapids: Baker Book House, 1972), p. 342.
8 John C. Pollock, A Foreign Devil in China (Minneapolis, Minnesota:
World Wide Publications, 1971), p. 52/
9 A. T. Pierson, George Muller of Bristol (Old Tappen, NJ: Fleming
H. Revell Co., u.d.), pp. 163-164.
10 Clipping in my notebooks.
Have a Meaningful Quiet Time
By Adrian Rogers
August 7, 1994
I. You Must Have a Proper Period
II. You Must Have the Proper Preparation
III. You Must Have the Proper Place
IV. You Must Have the Proper Provisions
V. You Must Have a Proper Procedure
Would you take God's Word and find please Psalm 119. I want to begin
reading in verse 97, Psalm 119. In just a moment, I'll begin in
verse 97. And by the way, you could just almost jump in anyplace in
Psalm 119 and read a portion for the message tonight that deals with
how to have a meaningful quiet time.
"Oh, how love I thy law!
It is my meditation all the day. Thou, through thy commandments hast
made me wiser than mine enemies. For they—that is my enemies—are
ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers, for
thy testimonies are my meditation. I understand more than the
ancients, because I keep they precepts. I have refrained my feet
from every evil way that I might keep thy word. I have not departed
from thy judgments for thou hast taught me how sweet are thy words
unto my taste. Yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth, through thy
precepts I get understanding, therefore, I hate every false way."
Christianity is not a
legal relationship; it is a love relationship. And people who are
legalists, never have victory. Ten thousand "don'ts" will never make
you one iota more like the Lord Jesus Christ. Now there are some
"don'ts" in the Christian life and there are some "dos." But friend,
it is Jesus himself, who makes you like Him. You need to spend time
with Jesus Christ. Christianity is a love relationship.
Now, you cannot love
someone that you do not know. And you can not know someone that you
don't spend quality time with. To know Him is to love Him. To love
Him is to trust Him. To trust Him is to obey Him. And to obey Him is
to be blessed.
To know Him is to love
Him. You cannot know Jesus without loving Him. And to love Him is to
trust Him. You cannot trust someone you do not love. And trust Him
is to obey Him. The reason we don't obey is because we don't trust.
And to obey Him is to be blessed. Trust and obey, for there's no
other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey. And it
begins with a quality quiet time, a daily communication with the
Now I'm not here tonight
to put you under a guilt trip. I could do that very easily, but I
want to say you could put me under one, too. Because I'm certainly
not holding myself up here as the paragon of excellence in anything
and especially in needing and wanting and desiring a better quiet
time with the Lord than I have already.
But I have learned some
things. And I'm going to share with you what others have taught me,
and also, some things I've learned in my own pilgrimage about having
a quality quiet time. I want to give you about 5 factors and they'll
be easy to remember because we'll let them begin with the letter
I. You Must Have a Proper Period
First of all, you must have a proper period. That is, the right
time. When should you have your quiet time? Here are two keys.
Number one, it should be the very best time and number two, it
should be early in the day. Now don't give the Lord the leftovers.
Give Him the very best time and that best time should be sometime in
Now I think that it takes at least a half an hour to have an
effective quiet time. Ha, but sometime is better than no time. So,
start out with sometime and by the way, you won't just find this
time. The devil will see to that. You have to make time. You study
the life of the Lord Jesus, you find that Jesus made time to be
alone with the Father. He in the midst of a very busy ministry would
withdraw Himself and be alone.
This quiet time ought to
be in the morning. Psalm 5:3, says, "in the morning will I direct my
prayer unto Thee and will look up." Why in the morning? Well,
obviously in the morning because you're getting ready to live the
day. You don't take the trip and then read the map, do you? I mean
it's early in the morning that you take your time. You don't get the
car tuned after you taken the trip. You don't pray for your bread,
your daily bread after the day is over. I mean it's very obvious
that this is the prayer that unlocks the key of the morning. It's a
time to get started with God. And any athlete knows that it's the
start that insures a good finish.
Now I dare say that most
of us feel we don't have time in the morning. Well, obviously we do
have time if we make time. It's just a matter of determining to make
time. Now, it may seem to some of you who are efficiency experts to
have a quiet time is a waste of time. But if you were chopping wood,
would it be a waste of time to sharpen the ax? If you're going on a
trip and you don't know where you're going, are you wasting time
when you study the map? If you're trying to read a book, are you
wasting time when you turn on the light?
You see, God's Word is a
lamp to light the way. It's a map to show the way. It is a tool that
we work with along the way. And so, it's, it's very, very important
that you make time. There must be the proper time. The best time for
me is sometime after breakfast. Now I've told you before, while I
have to wake up in the mornings and my alarm clock is generally set
at 6 or 6:30. It meanders a little back and forth. But I have to get
up and get started, but I never want to get up. It's a resurrection
for me every morning. I mean, to get the bed off my back is
difficult. I mean, confession, I don't know whether that's a sin or
not. It's just the way I'm wired.
Now the longer I go, the
stronger I get. I mean, I'm like a steam engine and if I want to be
alert, I have to get up and get going because as I've told you
before, Joyce is a lark, but I'm an owl. And she's a springer and
I'm a groper. And when I wake up in the morning, you know I stumble
into the bathroom, put my knee on the toothpaste to squeeze it. Just
to try to get going. So, for me to have my quiet time when I first
wake up, would be just a good cure for insomnia. If I bowed my head
and closed my eyes, I'm off again. And so, you know I just have to
get up and get ready and so what I try to do personally is bathe,
shave, have breakfast, and Joyce and I'll have a prayer time
together at breakfast. We'll pray for our family and try and pray
around the world and then, retire to my study. By that time, that's
my best time. Now, what I'm trying to say is, it's got to be early,
but it needs to be your best time. That is when you can bring all
the mental acuity that you have.
II. You Must Have the Proper Preparation
So, there must be the proper period. Ask God when that time is and
don't try to find it, make it. And you'll make it as a matter of
priority. Now here's the second thing, not only must you have the
proper period, but you must have the proper preparation—the proper
preparation. And there three things that will prepare you for a
quiet time. Number one, you must be physically alert. I've already
mentioned that. Physically alert. Find a time when the cobwebs are
out of your mind, when you can think clearly, when your juices are
flowing in you body, physically alert.
Number two, and this is
very important. You must be morally pure and clean to have a quiet
time. Do you know what quiet time is? Quiet time is fellowship with
a holy God. The reason that some folks don't have a quiet time, they
feel uncomfortable. And the reason they feel uncomfortable is, they
don't want to look God in the face. And the reason they don't want
to look God in the face is there's sin in their life. What did Adam
do after he had sinned and God came walking in the Garden? Adam
fled. Before that, Adam had a quiet time with God, didn't he? I
mean, Adam and God walked in the Garden, they had fellowship. That
was Adam's quiet time, in walking in the Garden, in the cool of the
day. But then, when there was sin in Adam's life, he did not want to
look God in the face.
If you find in you,
sometimes a reluctance, maybe even a repugnance to what I'm talking
about, it's simply because there may be sin in your life. Now you've
got to have your heart clean and pure in order to have a quiet time.
Now it may be that a part of your quiet time will be to get you
heart clean and pure, but you need to take yourself by the nap of
the neck and do it, though confession because you're foolish and
wicked to pray from a wicked heart.
Because Psalm 66:18, says, "if I regard iniquity in my heart, the
Lord will not hear me." Now we quote the prayer promises. That's a
prayer promise. If I regard iniquity in my, the Lord will not hear
me. Or again, the Lord Jesus said in the, in the Sermon on the Mount
in Matthew 5:23, 24, "Therefore, if thou bring thy gift to the altar
and there remember that thy brother hath ought against thee; leave
there thy gift before the altar, go thy way; first be reconciled to
thy brother, then come and offer thy gift."
Now obviously, he's
talking there about the temple worship. But the principle is, you
can't worship God if there's a bad relationship in your heart that
needs to be put right.
So what you come, you come physically alert, you come morally pure.
Well, how do you get morally pure? Does that mean you can't have a
quiet time? No, it just simply means that you search your heart at
the very beginning of the quiet time and say Oh, God, search my
heart, try me and see if there be some wicked way in me. And if God,
the Holy Spirit, points that out, 1 John 1:9 says "if we confess our
sin—He's what?—faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to
cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
There's no reason that
any of us should not be as clean, as pure as the driven snow because
of that. The blood of Jesus, that we've been singing about tonight,
1 John 1:7, the blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son, cleanseth us from
what? All sin. Not some, all. And don't you let the devil intimidate
you by some failure in the past because you may through the precious
blood of Jesus and by the grace of God be clean.
So what is the proper
preparation? You're physically alert, you're morally pure you are
thirdly, mentally aware. And this is very important. You know the
Bible tells us often to gird up the loins of our minds. Now what
does that mean? Well, in Bible times the men wore long flowing robes
and if you go to Israel today, you'll still see the Bedouin's and
others wearing these long robes. Now when a man was going to work,
to plow or to fight, he would take those robes and he would take the
loose ends and gird them up and tie a rope around there. And that be
called girding up his loins. Just taking those long loose ends and
bring them all together and tying them up tight so he wouldn't trip
Now your mind is like
that. You've got a lot of loose ends. And in order to have a quiet
time, you have to get mentally tough. It's hard for me. I have a
peculiar type of mind. My mind wants to run off on all kinds of
ideas all the time. And I have to gird up the loins of my mind and
bring it. You see, when you, when you come to a quiet time, you've
got to be serious. Come with anticipation. Come eagerly. Come
expecting to receive something. And don't just wait till you get all
warm around the heart and wet around the lashes and just think, I've
got to feel real mellow.
Be tough-minded. Say I'm coming, Lord, and emotion doesn't really
have all that much to do with it. It's good to feel juicy when you
pray, but you don't have to. And I hear people say, well, you know,
my prayers didn't get above the light bulb. Well that's probably
your problem because God is underneath the light bulbs as well. I
mean, He's here, He's present and your emotions don't bring Him
near. He is near by the blood of Jesus Christ. And what you need to
do is to be physically alert, morally pure, and mentally aware.
III. You Must Have the Proper Place
Now we've said you have the proper period, you have the proper
preparation. Now here's the third thing if you would have a good
quiet time, a meaningful quiet time. There must be the proper place.
Now what is the proper place? Jesus said, when you pray, enter into
your closet and pray. Now He did not mean the clothes closet. I'm
serious about that. Some people, the only thing we know about a
closet is a clothes closet.
I went to school with a
boy, a preacher boy, at Stetson University. He took this so
literally, his name Jud. Jud in the dormitory, went into the clothes
closet, shut the door to pray. And after a while, I mean late in the
day, or late in the night, we said, where's Jud? Anybody seen Jud?
Has something happened to Jud? Finally, when finally when we opened
the closet door, he was in there sound asleep on his knees in that
closet. He had gone in there, shut the door, and gotten quiet, no
air in there. It's a wonder he didn't suffocate in there. He had
just taken this so literally, he went into a little closet and shut
What did our Lord mean
when He said enter into your closet and pray? The word "closet"
simply means into a place of isolation. Somewhere where you can shut
the door on the world and open the windows to heaven. As you study
the life of Jesus, you find out that Jesus was not always in a
literal closet. But you will find out that Jesus would seek to be
alone. Sometimes He'd go out into a mountain. Sometimes He went into
the wilderness. Sometimes He went into a garden.
You see, it is the secret
place that is the sacred place. Now, when I say the secret place, I
don't mean a place that no one else knows about. I simply mean a
place where you are there alone with the Lord. My suggestion is that
it be well-lit and well-ventilated.
What is, why is the Lord saying enter into your closet and pray?
Well, number one, we are to, what you are when you're alone is what
you are. I mean it—the mark of your prayer life is not really how
well you pray in public, but in private. Your Father who sees you in
secret will reward you openly.
Now that's one reason
just to keep us from being hypocrites. But another reason that you
go to the secret place is to avoid distraction, visual distractions
and noises, audible distractions and people who come in. And so,
have the proper period, "in the morning will I direct my prayer unto
thee and will look up."
Have the proper
preparation physically, morally, mentally. Be prepared. Find a
proper place. Get someplace that is the place that you're accustomed
to going. My place, I'm blessed in that I have my study at my house.
And I love that. It's a blessing to me. Most people don't have that,
but I have that. I do my work there. I, when I'm there, I can go
into my study, my books are there. My desk is there. I have my
materials out there. And that's a blessing to me, and granted, many
people don't have a place like that. My wife has a place where she
gets up and goes around. There's a hallway that connects our garage
to our living room and we have some books out there and there's a
little nook out there. That's the place that she retires to be alone
with God. And it's her special place, but find a place. Pray and ask
God to give you a place. It just may be your bedroom. It may be if
you got a lot of children in the house, you may have to go the
bathroom and lock the door. Whatever, but find a special place to
get alone with God.
IV. You Must Have the Proper Provisions
Now here's the fourth thing. Not only should there be a proper
place, but you need to have the proper provisions. You need to have
the right tools. And these are going to include first of all, a
readable Bible. Now don't get a small print Bible. Invest in a
Bible. If your Birthday's coming up, go in the bookstore and let
Curtis show you a good Bible with good print and wide margins and
good paper. Something that you can write in and make notes in and
don't be afraid to write in your Bible and make notes in your Bible.
Wear it out and get another one! And but don't throw the old one
away. Save it and keep it and look back on it sometime. Be like an
old friend to you.
I have Bibles that are decades old. Sometimes I go back and find
things that, notes I made there and memories will spring back up of
things that God taught. Things that maybe I had long since
forgotten. But get a good readable Bible. As a matter of fact, you
need two or three Bibles. Maybe a Study Bible, and then a Bible to
bring to church. But, that's the best investment. Somebody said the
person that has a Bible falling apart probably has a life that's
not. I mean when you read it and underlined it and wept over it and
written in it. That's fine. That's not irreverent to do that. But
still treat the Bible with reverence.
Now, not only should you
have a readable Bible, but get also a loose leaf devotional journal.
I have a journal and I don't write in the journal every morning, but
I will write something when I study. If I don't put it in the
journal, it I don't think it's worthy of the journal, I'll write it
on a piece of paper and maybe discard it. Maybe on a yellow legal
pad. But get a journal.
To me it would almost be
unthinkable to think that I would read with a pen in my hand. Almost
unthinkable! I mean, I instinctively, when I reach for the Bible,
reach for a pen. Why? Expect God to give you something. You say,
well, that's all right Pastor, I've got a good memory. I'll remember
it. Who are you kidding? I have a fair memory, but I want to tell
you folks, that it is better to write it down. It impresses it in
your mind. And the weakest ink is better than the best memory. Write
it down in your journal. Expect God to give you something.
Not only should you have
a journal where you keep thoughts, but you need a companion which is
a prayer journal. I've kept a prayer journal for many years. And I
don't use it every morning, but I use it many mornings. I'd get down
to remind myself of things that I'm praying about for myself and for
my family and for my loved ones and for you and for this church.
And then a third thing
that you need, and this doesn't need to be a piece that you keep all
the time, but just keep a little notepad there to write down things
that you need to do during the day. Just your daily assignment. And
those things will come to your mind as you pray or come to your mind
before you pray, so you can pray for them. So if you have your
devotional journal, you have your, where God is giving you thoughts
from His Word. You have your prayer journal of people that you're
going to pray for and by the way, when you have a prayer journal,
that will help you spread out your prayers and to pray
systematically for things and people that you might not pray for
And then also, have that notepad of things that God wants you to do
during the day. What you're doing when you come to the prayer time
is reporting for duty and asking God to show you what He wants you
to do that particular day and also, pleading for power to do what He
wants you to do. So, there are the proper provisions, the Bible, the
devotional journal, the prayer journal and a note reminder of things
T hat's a very
simple thing, but at least those things. There are many other tools
if you are into serious Bible study. Of course, you want a Bible
dictionary, you want a concordance and all that, but I'm not talking
about that for this. This is your quiet time. You're not even here
preparing your Sunday School lesson. You're not here preparing a
sermon, per se, you're just here to meet with the Lord.
V. You Must Have a Proper Procedure
Now, number five: a proper procedure. What is the proper procedure?
Now, you're walking into the place. It's your best time. Physically,
alert, you're morally pure, you're mentally aware. You've come.
You've shut out distractions. You're in there with God. You're
All right, now what do
you do? What procedure do you take? May I recommend that the very
first thing you do is just to get still and to get quiet. You know
the Bible says, "be still and know that I am the Lord." Just fix and
focus your mind on Him. Calm down, relax, recognize His presence. Be
still and know that I am God. If you'll think about what's
happening, you are having a private interview with the Lord Jesus
Christ. Now you need to think about that. Let your mind dwell on the
fact that Jesus is there with you.
Night before last, I had
a very wonderful privilege. I taught a couple of days in North
Carolina at The Cove, which is The Billy Graham Learning Center. On
Thursday night, Dr. and Mrs. Graham came over and said to Joyce and
myself, they would like to have dinner with us. And so, we sat down
in a little upper room with Dr. Billy Graham and Mrs. Graham and
Joyce and myself. And had a wonderful dinner. And just to talk about
the things of God and the blessing that was. And what a humbling
experience, and a great experience it was for us.
But friend, we all have a
bigger, better honor than that every morning. And that's to meet
with Jesus. I mean to be alone with the Lord Jesus Christ. To sup
with Him and He with me. That's what He has invited us to do. And we
need to fix our minds and focus our minds on the, on the gift of
privilege for the Lord Jesus said, "Lo, I am with you always, even
to the end of the world."
So, number one, just get
quiet. Take a deep breath. Focus your thoughts on the Lord. I have
begun to do something recently and it's been a blessing to me. Now,
you don't have to do this, but I want to tell you something: it's
one of the sweetest things to me personally that I have learned to
do. I want you to try it sometime. Get alone with the Lord. When
you're getting ready to have that time with Him. Look up and lift
your hands to Him. When you lift your hands, first of all lift your
hands in praise and say, Lord, I praise you, just praise you. Then,
lift your hands again and say, Lord, I surrender. You know when you
lift your hands, you surrender. Just say, Lord, I surrender, I'm
yours! I am under your control. And then lift your hands a third
time and say, Lord, I receive, as you're expecting to receive
something. Just try it. Just try those three things. Just get alone,
and just before God, just lift your hands and say, Lord, I praise
you. Lord I surrender. Lord, I receive. Now that just will tune your
heart to think about the presence of God.
Now, I think those kind
of things are a lot better done in private than in public and I, if
I feel even a little embarrassed talking about those kind of things
alone in private with the Lord. It's such a blessing to me to do
that! To know that I just something about saying, Lord, I lift my
hands in praise. Lord, I lift my hands in surrender. Lord, I lift my
hands in expectation. You just do this. Even before you begin to
pray and so, you get still and know He's there.
Now next, get into the
Word of God. It's better to start reading the Bible than it is in
prayer—than to start in prayer. Don't pray first, this is my advice.
Don't pray first and then read the Word. Read the Word first, and
then pray. It is more important for you to hear from God, even than
for God to hear from you—because God already knows all about you,
but you need to know a lot more about Him.
So, you start, first of
all, reading the Word of God. That will tune your heart and get your
heart ready to pray. You hear God and then talk to God in prayer. A
quiet time is a time alone with God where you hear from God and God
hears from you.
Now when you read the
Bible, read for quality and not quantity. Don't see how much of the
Bible you can read. Now, a lot of people have a goal to read the
Bible through in a year, read the Bible through in six months.
That's wonderful! Do that! But that's not your quiet time. I mean if
you're not careful, you'll be pushing ahead when you ought not to be
pushing ahead. Sometimes you might spend a morning on one verse.
Stop and think as your reading the Word of God, what is God telling
me? Not what does this say, of course it says something. Of course,
it's the Word of God, but what is God saying to me, to me! Not what
does God want me to tell somebody, not what am I going to teach in
Sunday school. What is God saying to me?
So, read it very
thoughtfully. Now, of course, read the Bible like you would read any
other book in one sense of the word. You don't just pick up a book
and just open it up at random and start reading in the middle of a
paragraph and then say, well, this book doesn't make sense to me.
That's the way a lot of people read the Bible, just kind of a lucky
dibs. I mean, there it is! No, read it sequentially and read it in
paragraphs or units.
I mean, use some common
sense when you read the Bible.
And keep your Bible
reading balanced. Read from the Old Testament and read from the New
Testament. Read regularly from the Psalms because when you read the
Psalms, you learn to worship and you'll get encouragement. Read
regularly from the book of Proverbs. Because from the book of
Proverbs you'll get wisdom. And then, read balanced reading in the
rest of the Bible.
Now, what about having
devotional books? Well, devotional books are wonderful, but even
now, this is not the place for devotional books. Read devotional
books. Joyce and I read almost every morning from Oswald Chambers,
My Utmost for His Highest. Wonderful, but that is still not the
place for this. This is the place where you just open the Bible and
read intelligently, sequentially, with an open mind, a readable
Bible to let God speak to you.
All right, so, get quiet,
focus your mind on the Lord. Begin to read the Word of God.
And then meditate on it.
Meditate on it! Think about it. And I don't mean oriental
meditation. I don't mean mystical meditation. The difference between
oriental mystical Buddhism and all that kind of meditation is that
those people assume that the answer is within them. But the answer
is not. You focus on the Word of God and you meditate on the Word of
God and let the Word of God permeate you. Just think about it,
meditate on it.
Now, I've given you many
times these questions to ask as you meditate on the Word of God. And
if you're a teacher or a preacher or anybody else and you're trying
to get up a sermon or you just simply, or a lesson or you want a
blessing out of the Word of God, you can ask these questions with a
clean heart and the Bible will burst aflame. Here they are. Jot them
down. Joyce says, when you give lists, you always give them too
fast. So we will slow down.
Number one, is there a command to obey? Number two, is there a
promise to claim? Number three, is there a sin to avoid? Four, is
there a lesson to learn? Five, is there a new truth to carry with
me? Now, just simply take those questions. There may be others.
I used to have those questions recorded in the flyleaf of a Bible.
And I would refer to them often. It's amazing. Let me give them to
you again in case you did not get them all. Is there a command to
obey, a promise to claim, a sin to avoid, a lesson the learn, a new
truth to carry with me?
So, prepare your heart,
get into the Word of God. Meditate on the Word of God and then
record what God has given you. This is where the Prayer Journal
comes in. Write it down. It doesn't have to be flowery. You're not
writing it for publication. You're not writing it to impress other
people. Make it intensely personal, but once you do this, you'll
find yourself sharing it with other people. I mean, you will, when
you do this and you leave it, you will be wanting to share the
nuggets that God has given you. And that will make you a blessing to
be around. You'll have a wealth of material for lessons and
devotions, though that's not even your purpose in doing it.
At the same time, take
that notepad and write down the things that you need to do. Action
points. This is the one that may be just for the day—obligations and
goals and decisions that come out of that time.
Now you're ready to pray.
Pray it in and when you pray pour out your soul. Be natural. Don't
try to use flowery language when you pray. Jesus said don't use vain
repetition. You're not hurt for your much speaking. Be honest with
God. Tell Him how you feel, He already knows. Tell Him. Be honest.
This is a time from time
to time you refer to your Prayer Journal. Continuing burdens and
prayer. People that you're praying for, answers to prayer. Pray out
loud. Pray, pray audibly. If you just try to pray silently, and you
have to pray silently sometimes if you're in a crowd, but when
you're alone, pray audibly. Why? It keeps your mind on track. It
enables you to stay focused.
Try to make complete
sentences. Try to use good English when you pray. I'm not talking
about King James English. I'm just simply saying that you're
speaking to God. Speak clearly; speak plainly. Think about what you
are saying when you pray and don't rush your prayer, but don't draw
it out. I mean when you finished. When you finish, quit. Pray as
long as you have a concern on your heart. Don't just keep repeating
things like you're going to impress God with the number of words
that you say.
What about when you pray
and your mind wanders? Do you ever try to pray and your mind
wanders? Lift your hands. Sure, sure! Why? Well, two reasons. Number
one, it may be an attack of the devil and if you sense it's an
attack of the devil rebuke the devil. But, number two, it may be
that something is coming to your heart. You're praying over here,
but your real need and your real desire and your subconscious is
saying, this is what I'm concerned about, my meeting this afternoon.
And you mind goes to that. How do you deal with that? Just leave
this thing and go over there and pray about that thing. That thing
that's caused your mind to wander, well then, pray about it. Tell
God about it. Talk to God about it and then you're done with it. But
until you deal with it, it'll just keep coming back again.
So, have that time where
you, where you, tell God the concern of your heart and then go back
to your other praying. Now after you've done this, begin to share
out of your quiet time with one another. We ought to meet people and
exhort one another. You see, God did not make us to be reservoirs.
God made us to be conduits.
All right, now what have
we said. Number one, get still and know He's God. Number two, get
into the Word of God. Number three, meditate on the Word of God and
ask those questions. Number four, write down what we've learned.
Then, number five, pray it in, be natural, pray our hearts out to
God. Number six, share what we've learned and now listen.
Obey what God tells you.
That's the seventh thing we're talking now, about this proper
procedure. Obey. Trust and obey, for there's no other way. Now, your
spiritual train is going to run on two rails. One is revelation and
the other is obedience. Revelation and obedience. And if either rail
stops, your train stops. Learn to obey the Word of God and when you
fail, confess it.
Now you say, Pastor, if I begin to do this, how soon will it be
before I see a change in my life? Well, I don't know. You'll see
some change, I believe right away. But don't expect anything radical
Do you know what my wife
gives me every morning? You won't believe it, but brewer's yeast.
Did you ever taste brewer's yeast? Have you tasted brewer's yeast,
Bob? I'm gonna give you some. Brewer's yeast, two big tablespoons
full of it. And then on top of that, bee pollen. Did you ever take
bee pollen? Bee pollen. About a half a teaspoon full of bee pollen.
And then a fist full of vitamins and then 2% milk. And, certain
brands of food that have, that's good. You know what? I've learned
to like it.
But I'll tell you
something. When you begin to eat that or to ingest that, you're not
going to feel 100% better in 15 minutes. But if you'll get on a
regiment of eating right, it'll change you. It'll change you. And if
you'll get on a regiment of obeying the Word of God, getting into
the Word of God and feeding your soul, the change will not be
spasmodic and it may not be dramatic, but on the long run, it will
change you for eternity. We need to have a quality quiet time. And
again, I don't stand before you as the paragon of excellence and I'm
well aware when I put that finger out, they're three pointing right
at me. But these are some things that I've learned and may you learn
Father, seal the message
to our hearts, and help us to learn, dear Lord, how to have a
quality quiet time. In Jesus' wonderful name. Amen.