My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up. – Psalm 5:3
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. – Romans 12:2
I’d like to preface this post by saying that the way I structure my quiet time with God, though it works for me, may not work with your current schedule or lifestyle – and I understand that! The ideas below are suggestions based on what has been beneficial to me in this season of my life.
As always, I whole-heartedly welcome your input.
1. Designate a regular time and place. For me, that time is in the morning, after I exercise, and the place is the desk in my bedroom. My mind is clear, and my kids are usually quiet, working on their school work upstairs. As well, if I don’t have my quiet time in the morning, the busyness of the day takes over, and I don’t get to it. In the evenings, I’m usually too tired to focus properly.
2. Eliminate physical and mental clutter. I find myself beginning nearly every devotional time by clearing off the desk (if needed), taking a deep breath, and praying that the Lord will help me stay in tune with him and learn something new about him or his Word that day. To make my surroundings more pleasant, I may light a candle or open the window, depending upon the season. If there happens to be any unusual noise, I put in earplugs.
3. Use a devotional or study guide to get you started, but don’t feel bound by it. I enjoy David Jeremiah’s online devotionals (linked here); I’m also currently working my way (for the third time) through Joanna Weaver’s Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World (linked here). My interest is often sparked to look up verses on topics related to the subject at hand. Those verses can lead to others – a sort of trail of discovery through Scripture. In so doing, I often gain fresh spiritual insight, or new knowledge about Biblical culture, for example.
4. Use a Bible app that includes commentaries. I use the free Blue Letter Bible app (linked here) nearly every day. I often refer to David Guzik’s included commentary to delve more deeply into the passage I’m reading. Guzik includes information from other Bible expositors and commentators, and all of that enhances my understanding of even the most familiar passages.
5. Record new bits of knowledge or inspiration in a journal. My kids actually inspired me, through their example, to record a few sentences about what I have learned, or what has touched my heart that day. The act of writing down this information helps me retain it. As well, it’s helpful to be able to reference those thoughts later.
6. When you pray, allow the conversation to flow two ways. I try to begin my prayers with praise and confession, followed by requests. (I have a different prayer request list for each day of the week: family and friends, missions, church members, and so forth). But before I conclude, I ask the Lord to bring to mind any message he might have for me. Sometimes, I “hear” only silence; other times, a verse, or a person with a certain need, may come to mind. During those times, I pray for that person or contemplate that verse before finishing my prayer time.
7. Share what you’ve learned with others. My family and I sometimes ask each other what we’ve read in the Bible lately. We discuss anything new we’ve learned, or how we were moved by a particular passage of Scripture. Sharing helps us learn from each other, and it helps us stay accountable to one another.
Though I still have far to go in my spiritual walk, these seven steps have helped me grow closer to the Lord and become more like him.
What are your suggestions for a transformative devotional time? I welcome your input!
But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. – Psalm 1:2