A quiet time, at its simplest, is some time set aside to be alone, quiet your heart, and focus on relating to (praying) and learning about (reading your Bible) God. It’s totally private, between you and Him.
Sometimes I have found it helpful to have something to direct my time in the morning. What I mean is, so many times I would hold my cup of tea, close my eyes to pray, and I’m out! Down for the count! Not asleep necessarily, but spaced out. Not there.
Same thing with reading the Word. As infatuated as I am with the words of God, sometimes I can just zone out! I can have the attention span of a puppy! And I don’t realize it till I’m at the bottom of the page, and I ask myself, “What did I just read?”
So on those days, I’m glad to have a kind of “cheat sheet.” This is something I’ve compiled for those times when I need a little direction, a little help. Pam, do this… Ok, this next…
What I like to do first is try to bring my attention fully to God. The best way I know to do that is to enter into worship. I have a handful of worship songs I’ve bookmarked on YouTube, and I scan through the titles and choose one. I choose videos that show the words too, because the meaning of the words is so important to me. It gives my mind something to focus on, truth to embrace. As I listen, maybe sing a little, I find my heart softening, my spirit responding and my mind being prepared to understand.
The meaning behind these lyrics to The Power of the Cross by Stuart Townsend and Keith and Kristyn Getty says it all!
This the pow’r of the cross
Christ became sin for us;
Took the blame, bore the wrath
We stand forgiven at the cross!
Prayer of Consecration
We’re going to skip this for now, because I want to go into more depth in a future post. For now, just know this is an affirmation of your desire to be devoted to God.
Next I want to examine my heart and find where I might be withholding from God or not believing Him. Or it could be like this morning, when I remembered that yesterday I felt the Lord’s direction to “be done with this…” certain pattern of thinking. Or I could have shared some unkind words with someone the day before or been impatient or had a critical, proud spirit. I ask the Lord to show me the root of why I did whatever I did. I try to be aware of this and ask forgiveness and turn away from that sin by grace.
Right after confessing sin, I mean immediately right after, I think it’s so important to receive forgiveness!!! So I will affirm the finished work of Christ and receive the forgiveness that cost Him so much to buy for me. I will sometimes remind myself of a few Scriptures:
As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgression from us. Ps. 103:12
“I, I am He who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.” Isa. 43:25
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Rom. 8:1
In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace. Eph. 1:7
And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way,
having nailed it to the cross. Col. 2:13-14
How confidently we can pray when we know Jesus’ blood has taken care of our sin. And even though we mess up all the time, it is Jesus’ righteous life that is now credited to us! It’s Christ’s righteousness and not our own that we’re standing in!
Finally, I bring my requests to God for others and for myself (Phil 4:6). And not just requests, but … fellowship. Visiting. Keeping company. Just being with the Lord.
It’s at this point when I usually open my Bible to wherever I am reading at that time. Sometimes I read devotionally, sometimes I study. As I read, I’ll look for what God is like in the passage, how He interacts with people, and what He values. I’ll note passages that explain what Jesus has done on my behalf so that I can enjoy this relationship with my Father. I’ll look up words. I’ll look up cross references. It just kinda flows, this fellowship with the Lord through his Word.
Spurgeon says, “Let us use texts of Scripture as fuel for our heart’s fire; they are live coals. Let us attend to sermons, but above all, let us be much alone with Jesus.”
Of course, our quiet times are not going to look like this every day. It’s good to want to incorporate these ideas, but if we “follow a list” daily, pretty soon it becomes ritualistic and the life can go out of it. But if you’re like me, sometimes if we’re too free-spirited about it, our prayer time can be reduced to thoughts that are all about just us. Yikes!
Praying, being in the Word – these are not things we do to be approved by God. We desire to do this because we already are approved in Christ. If we do this, we are not better than anyone else. It’s not a formula – do this, and God will do that.
But if we do this, if we take advantage of the opportunity to do this, I absolutely believe that we will benefit. As we immerse ourselves in Truth – truth about who God is and who we are because of what Jesus has done for us – we can breathe easy. Peace and assurance reign. We can flourish, taking comfort that God is in control.
What do you do in your quiet time? Have you found morning to be best for you or some other time? Please feel free to share…
Spurgeon, Charles H. (2003). Morning and Evening. Revised and updated by Alistair Begg. Wheaton Ill.; Crossway Books.
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