We live in an on-demand, microwave culture where seemingly every day a new technology is introduced to make things more “convenient” for us. This kind of world allows us to get information and be entertained quickly. But this world also makes it difficult to sort through the noise and hear God – a voice we so desperately need to hear.
I can’t remember the first time I had designated quiet time, which I define simply as quality time spent with God. Though I do remember the dominant feeling I had once it became a daily habit. Peace. Don’t get me wrong, life has still happened since then and I’ve experienced disappointment, hurt, anger, frustration and impatience. But that peace within has superseded it all.
When we are children growing up our parents teach us a lot of things, good things. How to have manners and be kind and courteous to people. How to follow rules and listen to elders and authority figures. Perhaps, if you’re a believer, your parents may have taught you how to pray even. One thing I believe we’ve failed at though as believers of the Christian faith is teaching our young people how to be still in the presence of God. How to build a relationship with Him through quiet time. How to talk to God but also sit still long and quietly enough for God to speak back to us.
Just like with any relationship, it works best when there is two-way communication. Relationships are most effective when both parties are getting something out of it, in other words, they’re mutually beneficial. Even though God is not a person, the relationship laws still work the same. In order to nourish and grow that relationship, both parties need to be invested in both listening and speaking. Of course, each person’s relationship with God is different and personal, as it should be. But if you currently don’t have designated quiet time with God, I’d like to offer you five tips on how to get it going and make it part of your daily routine.
- Find a daily devotional. A few years ago, I started the tradition of finding a daily devotional to kick off my quiet time with God. There is typically a scripture that serves as the foundation or theme of the writing. Then there are a few short paragraphs that break down that scripture and makes it applicable to some area of our lives. If you’ve had trouble reading the Bible or understanding scripture, this is a perfect way to get introduced to God’s word and have God’s word broken down in a way that is meaningful to you.
- Meditate on a scripture. When reading that word meditate some of you may have just rolled your eyes, shook your head or had some other type of negative reaction. Stay with me. When I think of the word meditate, I think of pondering over something. Try reading it over and over again. Think about how God may be trying to speak to you personally through those words. And it doesn’t have to be a long time. Start by just sitting with that scripture for five minutes. And even if you don’t hear anything the first time, don’t get frustrated or think that it’s not working. You never know how something could show up in your life later that reminds you of that word. This is one of the ways you give God an opportunity to speak to you.
- Express gratitude. Find a few things in that moment for which you can be grateful. It can be something as (seemingly) simple as the fact that you are alive and you have blood pumping through your veins and air in your lungs. Or you can thank God specifically for something He did for you the day before. You can also just express gratitude for God being good. God loves praise. In fact, He can’t get enough of it.
- Talk to God. For some, this may seem like a hard thing to do but that’s all prayer really is. One of the things that helped me early in my walk was starting to talk to him like I was talking to my best friend. What also helped me was journaling. Sometimes I find it easier to write out my words rather than speaking them. One of the benefits of writing your prayers out is being able to go back to them some time later and observe how God answered that prayer or how you’ve grown in your walk with Him. After you’ve spoken (or written) just sit for a little while in the quiet and wait for God to speak.
- Listen to worship music. This is one of my favorite ways to spend time with God. Now someone may be thinking, wouldn’t listening to music be off limits since we’re talking about “quiet” time? Not necessarily. Worship music was created to set an environment for a listener’s heart to be postured towards God. On top of that, most worship music uses the Bible as the foundation for its message so that the listener can hear God’s word through song. Sometimes God uses others to speak on His behalf.
This is by no means an exhaustive or comprehensive list on things to do in quiet time. However, these five tips can at least help you to be more intentional in giving God the time He needs to draw closer to you and give you an opportunity to create a more quality experience with Him.
If you’re looking for a way to jump start your prayers and get your 2020 off to a great start, join my God Doesn’t Make Mistakes 30 Day prayer challenge at www.ourmistakeshisplans.com.