How To Have A Daily Quiet Time
The great men of God in the Bible shared something in common. Each of them spent a good deal of time regularly with God...getting to know Him.
MOSES Another busy man who had time for God. Exodus 34:2 says, "So be ready in the morning, and come up in the morning to Mount Sinai, and present yourself to Me there on top of the mountain." It was from meetings like this that Moses gained the wisdom and strength to lead over two million Jews on a forty year hike through the Sinai Desert.
DAVID He knew God well because he spent much time in His presence. The book of Psalms is largely a diary of David's quiet times with God. In Psalm 5:3 this warrior-king reveals his daily pattern. "Morning by morning, O Lord, You hear my voice; morning by morning I lay my requests before You and wait in expectation."
DANIEL Prime minister of an empire. Undoubtedly much busier than you or me. If anyone could have said, "I don't have time to meet with God," it was Daniel. Yet he met with God three times daily. "...he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days." says Daniel 6:10.
Daily fellowship with God. Vital to the Christian life, it is called many things: quiet time, devotions, morning watch. But to live an effective Christian life, all Christians need to draw on the strength, wisdom and guidance of Jesus Christ. This we do as we take time to get to know Him personally.
But what is the quiet time, when should we have one, and how do we have one?. A quiet time isn't something we do to equalize our sins. Nor is it those half-mumbled words we pray toward the ceiling to pacify God just before we pass out for the night. And it isn’t an audience with a jolly Santa Claus God who we hope will empty a sack of presents down our chimney.
Quiet time is an opportunity to come to God as we are to get to know Him as He is.
FOUR THINGS A QUIET TIME CAN DO FOR YOU
First, it allows you to get your bearings each day. Where are you in relationship with God, with man and in your own heart? Are you on target in your Christian life? That is what David meant in Psalm 139:23,24 when he said,
"Search me, 0 God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."
Second, you can fix your course for the day, determine what you are going to do today and how the hours ahead can contribute to God’s plan for your life.
Third, the quiet time is the chance it gives us to gain spiritual strength for the tasks and decisions of the day. Isaiah says,
"But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." Isaiah 40:31
Fourth and possibly most important, the morning time with God enables you to know more and more of Jesus Christ, His love for you and all that He wants to do in you, and through you.
WHEN SHOULD YOU HAVE A QUIET TIME?
Although the best time to meet with God has to be settled individually, the Scriptures offer considerable help in this matter. Many of God’s men practiced meeting Him in the day’s first hours, before that inevitable host of responsibilities hemmed them in.
Mark 1:35 points out that Jesus did this.
"Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out, and departed to a solitary place, and there He prayed. "
The morning probably would be best for you also. Those quiet hours before the world has gotten into gear offer the best time for uninterrupted concentration on what God wants to say to you from His Word.
Another reason favoring the early morning is a defensive one. If you don’t get fellowship with Christ early, you may not get it at all. The devil knows the devastating impact of an effective Christian life. Satan will pepper your schedule each day with unexpected activities to keep you from that appointment with God.
You have breakfast every morning because you know your body needs nourishment to sustain you through the day. Apply the same idea to your Christian walk. Get your spiritual nourishment when your day is fresh.
WHERE SHOULD YOU HAVE A QUIET TIME?
Again take a note from Christ's life. He headed out to the hills where He wasn't likely to be disturbed.
"Jesus went out into the hills to pray, and spent the night praying to God. " Luke 6: 12
You may not be able to head for the hills literally, but look for a quiet, isolated spot in your home or at the office. Make that place your private meeting place with God.
WHAT TO DO IN YOUR QUIET TIME
Don't trap yourself into believing that God rates your fellowship with Him by the amount and pace of things you do during the quiet time. Remember, your goal is to get to know a person. Make the pace leisurely. Take time to mull over God's Word.
The right frame of mind. I begin by reading a Psalm or a portion of a Psalm because it helps put me in an attitude of worship.
Prayer. Then I spend some time in prayer. In that prayer time, I worship the Lord for WHO HE IS, and praise the Lord for the GREAT THINGS HE HAS DONE (and is doing.) Confession of sin is important, as is thanksgiving for the Lord's gracious forgiveness. Then I pray for my family and friends. Lastly, I bring my personal needs before God.
Scripture reading. After prayer, I read scripture. It isn’t a good idea to read here and there, in a willy-nilly fashion. Read through the scriptures. Begin with the gospels. You may want to alternate between the Old and New Testaments. Finish a book before going to another one. Don’t try to read too much at a time, so that you can give some thought to what you are reading. I jot down in a journal what the Lord is saying to me through the passage I just read. Writing your thoughts down will help cement them in your mind.
You will find at first that your quiet time will be short. But as you get to know Jesus better, you will be spending more and more time in His presence because your developing love and friendship will demand it.
WHAT ABOUT DRY PERIODS?
Along the way in your fellowship with God, you will encounter dry times. There will be times when you either don't feel like having a quiet time, or don't seem to get anything out of the Bible. It may not seem like you met with God at all. David talks of this in Psalm 42:1,2:
"As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for You, 0 God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?"
Expect this experience, but don’t let it master you. Often you can trace dryness back to some practical loopholes in your life. You may not be getting enough sleep; consequently, your ability to concentrate in the early morning suffers. Or a small item like an upset stomach can take the joy out of your fellowship with God.
Don’t let these things, or the guilt you may feel for not having had much or any quiet time, keep you from going on. When you miss a day—or two—or more...Don’t fret about it to the point that you abandon having a quiet time altogether. Simply confess your shortcoming to the Lord, and begin again.
God has a plan for your life. He wants to use you in your home, at work, and in social activities to introduce people to Jesus Christ and to help other Christians begin to know Him better. But you must know Jesus Christ well yourself before you can acquaint others with Him.
Evangelism, as well as ministry to believers, ought to be the overflow of a heart that is filled with love for God. Nothing will build up your love and devotion to God like having a daily quiet time. This is why your daily quiet time is imperative.