Recently, I shared some lessons that Kay and I have learned regarding our daily quiet time, a daily time for Bible reading, reflecting and praying. If you’re hoping to kick start a daily time with God or deepen it, then I encourage you to consider the following thoughts.
Choose to personally draw near to God. A quiet time is more than a discipline; it is developing your relationship with God. 1 As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. 2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God? (Psalm 42:1-2a ESV)
Drawing near to God means that you’ll have to push back the idle and wasteful rhythms of the world. [Make] the best use of the time, because the days are evil. (Ephesians 5:16 ESV) To develop your relationship with God, you’ll need to establish a new rhythm of life. Your new greater priority—your time with God—will push out the less important priorities. It may take a few weeks of discipline, but as your relationship with God deepens, you’ll find the practice more settled in your daily thoughts and routine.
Choose to establish a morning routine that awakens your soul and enriches your day. If possible, begin your day with the Bible and prayer. As the Psalmist stated, the day starts better when we dwell on God’s love, deepen our trust in him and hear instructions for the day. Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. (Psalm 143:8 ESV)
Anticipate that God will speak to you from the Bible. The Bible is the primary way that God communicates to us. Read with anticipation that God will speak to you. Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way. (2 Timothy 3:16 MSG)
Choose a designated quiet place for uninterrupted time with God. Find a time and place for minimal distractions. Kay and I try to avoid mental disruptions too by not checking email, social media, the news, etc. Before anything else, we want to give our attention and thoughts to God.
Have a Bible reading plan. Reading randomly will lead to inconsistency in your daily time and in your understanding of truth. The Bible is meant to be read in context (the verses surrounding a text are as important as the order of biblical texts).
Ask the Holy Spirit to give you understanding. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. (John 16:13) The Spirit is your primary teacher; he is infallible. Seek him and ask him for understanding as you read.
Understand that God has not instructed us to read the Bible, but to study it and apply it. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (James 1:22 ESV) I strongly encourage you to practice journaling. Kay and I use a wide-margin journal Bible, which gives us opportunity to make simple notations as we read. We use the H.E.A.R. (Highlight, Explain, Apply and Respond) method. Every day we seek to read the Bible for application, and we respond to God by writing short prayers.
Take your time. Rushed reading is hushed reading. We want God to speak to us; the eternal God is never in a hurry, nor rushed.
Learn to meditate on the Bible. We practice meditating by recalling through the day our morning readings and by memorizing at least one verse during the week.
Try to connect with others who are reading and journaling the same passages. Physical and spiritual workouts are often better when connected with others, who can encourage us.
Some people believe that they don’t have time for a morning quiet time. By developing a deep hunger for God and a thirst for his refreshment, you’ll restructure how you use time. By giving God the first of the day and increasing your relationship with him to the highest position in life, you will find the lesser important, temporary things, decreasing. Such rhythm makes life rich. Why not start today?