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Ever wondered what exactly it means or how exactly you would go about spending time with God?
I came across this article from the River Church of the South Bay that gives one of the best blueprints for spending time with God. What better time than with the START of a NEW YEAR to commit to prayer and study of God’s word. HERE is a great aid that helps just about anyone accomplish this task. Even Jesus had quiet time in prayer with God- “Very early in the morning, while it was till dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed” Mark 1:35 and how much more do we - “Man cannot live on bread alone but on every word that God speaks” Matthew 4:4
Topics addressed (with biblical references) are-
Why we need quiet time with God-
- We need nourishment from God’s word to grow.
- We need to hear from God daily.
- We need to draw close to God.
- We need the Word which is our best defense against sin.
- We need to be corrected when we sin.
- We need encouragement and comfort.
What is involved in quiet time?
- Bible reading
- Prayer time
- Journaling and bible note-taking
Then there are some great tips for a meaningful quiet time and then the steps to actually facilitate this quiet time.
Other articles (that can be extemely helpsul to new believers too) on the same website include:
How To Have A Quiet Time With God
Every relationship takes time to develop. You have to spend time with someone to take that relationship deeper. It’s no different with our relationship with the Lord. Spend time with Him. There is just no other way. That’s why we encourage every believer to develop the habit of a daily time with God. As simply as I know how to put it, a quiet time is time alone with the Lord. If we do not spend time cultivating that one-on-one relationship with Him, we will eventually feel spiritually disconnected from Him, out of touch, restless, dissatisfied and unfulfilled. After a while we will begin drifting away and are no longer influenced by His presence in our lives. The fact is we all desire a closeness with God but often aren’t experiencing it simply because we aren’t spending time with Him. After a while we say to ourselves, “I’m the same old person I’ve always been”, “I’m not changing”, “My relationship with the Lord is stale and stagnant”. That’s why each day we need to set aside time to spend with the Lord in Bible reading and prayer in order to deepen our knowledge and love for Him that will result in real life change.
When I find myself worrying, it’s an indication that I am not spending time with the Lord. When I find my mind wandering or my heart hardening to the things of God, it’s again, an indication that I am not spending time with the Lord. The primary goal as growing Christians is to become “conformed to His likeness” (Rom. 8:39). Another word for conformed is “transformation” which means “life change from the inside out”. We can change a behavior or an attitude on the outside, but to change on the inside takes inner transformation. Whatever is going on in your heart will be mirrored by your actions. No one can fake it for long. To change the inside takes a deeper relationship with the Lord. What we also desire for is congruence. We don’t want to live one way in public and another way in private. It takes time with the Lord to bring these two into more alignment and consistency. Romans 12:1-2 reveals that the only way to be transformed is to read, study and reflect on the word of God. The two primary elements that are used to accomplish this are Bible reading and prayer. I have written the following guide to help motivate you and give you the tools you need to begin implementing a quiet time into your daily schedule.
One author says, “In practice we often find ourselves to be “thirsty” Christians: either because we are failing to drink or because God is stretching our capacity for Himself and we need to drink more deeply”. If you find yourself restless, dissatisfied, and unfulfilled, it’s because you are not regularly drinking in God’s word or you are not going deep enough in the well. So I encourage you to use this guide and begin to spend regular time with God and drink deeply. Todd Wendorff
“But whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life” John 4:14 NASB-U
“My soul waits in silence for God only; From Him is my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation, My stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken” Psalm 62:1-2 NASU
“as the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God” Psalm 42:1 NIV
“The one who looks steadily at God’s perfect law . . . and makes that law his HABIT - not listening and then forgetting, but actively putting it into practice will be happy in all that he does” James 1:25 Ph
“Bus his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night” Psalm 1:2 NIV
Why Have A Quiet Time With God?
The Apostle Paul lists some very specific reasons for why we need to have a quiet time in II Timothy 3:16-17. He says, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work”. you will find all four of these reasons in what follows.
1. We need nourishment from God’s word to grow.
Just as we need food for our body, we all need God’s word for our soul. It feeds us spiritually. No one eats just one meal a week. Take in God’s word on a daily basis.
“Man cannot live on bread alone but on every word that God speaks” Matthew 4:4 GN
“Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good” 1 Peter 2:1-3 NIV
2. We need to hear from God daily.
Relationships grow through good communication. God wants to speak to us daily from His word. He wants to reveal to us His direction and give us His insight for our lives. God often wants to correct us in our ways. We will need to come with an obedient heart and be willing to repent and learn what God wants us to change in our lives.
“Very early in the morning, while it was till dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed” Mark 1:35 NIV
“In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation” Psalm 5:3 NIV
“Teach me to do your will, for you are my God,; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground” Psalm 143:10 NIV
3. We need to draw close to God.
There’s a great worship song that goes, “Jesus draw me close, closer Lord to you, Let the world around me fade away… For I desire to worship and obey.” Drawing close to God shuts the world out around us. It allows us to focus on Him and sense His presence in our lives. We live often by brail in our relationship with God when Jesus wants us to see Him clearly. We say we love God but our hearts are far from Him because we aren’t drawing close.
“Come near to God and he will come near to you” James 4:8 NIV
“Come near, you nations, and listen; pay attention, you peoples!” Isaiah 34:1 NIV
The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me” Isaiah 29:14 NIV
4. We need the Word which is our best defense against sin.
If you were in a battle, you couldn’t defend yourself without a weapon. God’s word is a sword that defends you from the enemy’s attacks. When we have the word of God in our hearts, it acts as a shield and a sword against temptations to sin.
“Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm… in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one … and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” Ephesians 6:13-17 NASB-U
“How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your word. With all my heart I have sought You; Do not let me wander from Your commandments. Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You” Psalm 119:9-11 NASB-U
5. We need to be corrected when we sin.
Even though it is not easy to hear correction, we know it is always to benefit. How can we change and grow without it? God wants to bring correction in our lives when we win. Are we willing to hear it and confess it before Him?
“Search me, O 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” Psalm 139:23-24 NIV
“Teach me, and I will be quiet; show me where I have been wrong” Job 6:24 NIV
“Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said “I will confess my transgression to the LORD” — and you forgave the guilt of my sin” Psalm 32:5 NIV
6. We need encouragement and comfort.
No one can make it through the hard times without some encouragement and comfort. We need to know that God cares for us in the midst of trials. We go to His word to hear from Him and learn how He cares for us.
“My eyes fail, looking for your promise; I say, “When will you comfort me?”” Psalm 119:82 NIV
“You hear, O LORD, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, defending the fatherless and the oppressed” Psalm 10:17-18 NIV
What Is Involved In A Quiet Time?
There are three elements of an effective quiet time: bible reading, prayer and journaling.
Spend at least 10-15 minutes each day reading your Bible. Choose a Bible that you find easy and enjoyable to read (see “A word about Bible Versions”) Come up with a system of reading that works for you. Below are some different ideas:
- Choose a book of the Bible and read one chapter every day.
- Start at the beginning of the Bible and read one chapter in the Old Testament and one chapter in the New Testament every day; you could optionally include one Psalm and one Proverb.
- Pick favorite passages or select from the “Suggested Quiet Time Passages” and read one a day.
- Purchase a Bible that is designed for daily quiet times (i.e. The One-Year Bible, Women’s Devotional Bible, the NIV Application Study Bible, and many more).
- You might want to include a biblically based devotional during this time — such as “My Utmost for His Highest” by Oswald Chambers, “Morning and Evening” by Charles Spurgeon, “Grace for the Moment” by Mac Lucado, “Moments with the Savior” by Ken Gire, “Boundless Love” by Woman of Faith Ministries, and many more.
- Choose a topic of the Bible and read various passages that relate to that topic. You might choose Christlikeness, love, joy, patience, compassion, obedience, prayer, God’s word, or any other topic. You can find the verses in a Naves Topical Bible. Also look up a word like growth (spiritual) in a Bible Dictionary and read all the verses they list.
- Go to one of the websites listed and use the online resources to find subjects and topics to study.
Whatever you choose, make sure to always be reading God’s word. There is no substitute for the Bible. You can’t read the newspaper and come away blessed by God. While you are reading, be open to how the Lord would speak to you. Be careful not to turn your daily quiet time into only Bible study. Remember, this is an appointment with the Savior. He wants to meet with you and relate with you. This is a personal time of relationship building with Jesus. Let the word speak to you as you read and reflect.
Begin and end your daily time with prayer. At the beginning of your time, pray for God to open your mind and heart to what He has to say (Psalm 119:18) and that you will discover new insights from His word. Pray for protection from distractions and attacks from Satan. At the conclusion of your time with Him, pray that what you have learned will sink deep into your heart today.
After you have spent some time opening your heart to God’s word, close your time with prayer. Here are some suggestions of things you might want to pray about (see also “Elements of Prayer”):
- Things you saw in the passages you read
- How you are feeling
- The events of the day
- Praising God for who He is (This is very important — Psalms offers many examples of prayer about who God is. See Psalm 145)
- Thanking Him for things you’ve seen Him do
- Confessing things that are amiss in your life (Psalm 139:23 “Search me, O God, and know my heart”)
- Needs and desires for yourself and others, including your Bible study group
- Silent time to just listen to God
Prayer is vital to deepening our intimacy with God. Don’t overlook this important part of your daily time!
JOURNALING AND BIBLE NOTE-TAKING
Journaling is simply writing your thoughts and reflections about your life and relationship with the Lord in a notebook. Spend some time writing your thoughts as you spend time with God in His word and prayer. It can be as simple as writing what’s on your heart. You can write about what God is teaching you in your Bible reading time. You can also write about how you are feeling and struggling with. Develop the habit of writing . This habit reinforces what God is trying to tell you in your mind and heart. I believe it is part of a good quiet time because it is a way for you to remember what God is revealing to you during that time. Look back and see what God is telling you. Have you forgotten and need to be reminded? Do you see any patterns or consistent themes?
As you develop and build this time each day, consider writing down notes and thoughts from your time in a journal. What did you learn? How are you feeling about what you are learning? What is God saying to you? Here are some suggestions of things you can write about:
- What you have just read in the Bible. Write down your insights and impressions from the Word. Write down a verse or verses that were especially meaningful to you as you read.
- Any thoughts or impressions that God gave you as you were spending time with Him
- Frustrations, fears, experiences, and events that have happened in your life that are especially significant to you.
- Prayer requests and desires of your heart.
Great Tips For A Meaningful Quiet Time
- Set a consistent time each day to spend with Jesus. Early morning or evening, children’s nap times, and lunch hours are typical times. If your quiet time is scheduled, you are much more likely to keep it.
- Get free from distractions (such as, other family members, telephone, TV, email, etc). Try to eliminate all sounds such as music that might keep you from hearing from God.
- Recognize that you were created to be in relationship with God and He desires to spend time with you
- If you miss a quiet time, don’t beat yourself up over it. Realize that you got distracted or chose not to have that time that day. Just start again. The longer you wait to start again, the harder it becomes to make it a regular habit.
- If you quiet time is dry or difficult, try something new. You might change the Bible version, change your location, listen to the Bible on tape, or change your routine of reading and praying. Don’t fall into the trap of a routine that becomes rote. God wants to spend time with you. Take a walk or find a new spot to sit.
How Do I Actually Have A Quiet Time?
Using all the elements we have just described above, here is a formula for a great quiet time:
- Pick a quiet place to meet the Lord that will work for you.
- Have your Bible, notebook and pen with you.
- Start with prayer by asking Him to:
- Meet with you
- Set aside distractions
- Reveal to you His word for today
- Bring comfort and clarification for your life
- Read the passage of scripture you have selected for today.
- Write down some of your observations from your Bible reading by answering the following two questions:
- what does the passage say generally (What is it teaching me)?
- what does the passage say to me personally (What should I do specifically)?
- Write in your journal any other insights, thoughts, fears, concerns, praises, or feelings you have from your time with Him.
“Thoughts disentangle themselves when they pass through the lips and the fingertips”
7. Respond to God in prayer in the following ways:
respond with praise and thanksgiving — “I praise you God for ….”
respond in repentance and confession — “I confess my sin of ….”
respond by asking for guidance – “Lord, lead me today by ….”
respond with obedience – “I will obey you in ….”Click here to download the quiet time page. You can copy this page and make a notebook out of them or transfer these statements and questions to your personal journal or Bible study notebook. Article from www.riversouthbay.org