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You know you need to have a daily quiet time. And even more, you want to have a daily quiet time. But you still struggle to make it happen.
Don’t give up! Mastering this habit is one of the best things you can do for your spiritual growth as well as your mental and emotional health. But just because it’s important doesn’t mean it’s easy.
Quiet Time Struggles Are Real
There are dozens of reasons why you may struggle with your daily quiet time – and why I sometimes struggle with mine. See if any of these sound familiar:
- The baby wakes up before your alarm goes off.
- Your teenager needed early morning help to review for a big test.
- Your mom has cancer and you’ve been living with her and caring for her for three weeks.
- Your co-worker quit and your workload just doubled.
- You left the dishes undone last night and just had to do them before meeting with the Lord – and then other chores screamed your name.
- The dog threw up before the coffee was even made.
- You’re moving in two days and have millions of things to finish.
I could keep going but I”m sure you get the picture. Life is a series of never-ending demands, crises, and near-misses. All of this pulls you away from meeting with the Lord – which suits the enemy just fine.
Your Challenges Can (Sometimes) Be Controlled
Many things that interfere with your daily devotions are beyond your control. But you may also be struggling for reasons you can control. You may just need to recognize those areas and then make better choices. See if any of this sounds like your life:
- You hit the snooze button 3 times almost every morning.
- You spend at least 20 minutes deciding what to wear every morning.
- When you sit down for a quiet time, you don’t know what to read in your Bible and can’t find a devotional book.
- You meant to just scroll through Facebook for 5 minutes, but 30 minutes later all your ‘quiet time’ is wasted on social media.
- You’ve always been a ‘night owl’ so even though your alarm goes off at 5:30, you’re usually up past midnight – and just too tired to focus on reading the Bible or even praying.
- Your Bible is right beside your bed so you can read it first thing in the morning. But at least half of the time, you find yourself falling back asleep during your quiet time.
Commit to a Daily Quiet Time
If you’ve never had a consistent habit of daily quiet time with the Lord, you don’t know what you’re missing! I have gone through seasons as a Christian when I did not have that time every day. And seasons when I did.
Without a doubt, life is better with daily devotions.
For starters, I go through the day with greater confidence, peace, guidance, joy, and patience. On the flip side, when I don’t have that time, I lose my temper much more easily, give in to temptation without a second thought, waste time by the bucketful, and go to bed wondering what I actually accomplished.
But knowing that having daily time with God is important and beneficial is not enough to guarantee you’ll do it every day. Making a commitment to a daily meeting with Jesus is the first step. Promise yourself and promise Him that you will do all in your power to have that daily quiet time. That’s a great and necessary first step. Then make your plan.Life is better when you start each day meeting with King Jesus. Click To Tweet
Plan Your Quiet Time
To make a plan you will stick ask yourself these three questions:
- Where will I have my quiet time?
- When will I have my quiet time?
- What do I need for my quiet time?
Where will you have your quiet time?
First, consider your options. Perhaps your bedroom, the kitchen table, or on the back deck are options? If you’re short on space at home, maybe in the parking lot at work for 30 minutes before your shift begins. Or perhaps you like the idea of getting away from home even though you have the room. Maybe a coffee shop or cafe? Even a fast-food dining room. The key to this choice is noise-canceling headphones.
Once you’ve considered all the possibilities (and no, I haven’t listed them all), you need to choose one or two that are most likely. And by ‘most likely’ I mean the one or two places that will make having a daily quiet time most likely. The places that you are most likely to use regularly as you keep your commitment to yourself and the Lord.
Finally, choose one spot as your primary meeting place and a second spot as your back-up. You’ll want a back-up for when life is crazy or if you’re getting in a rut. My primary spot is in our home office at the desk. My backup? The couch in the living room. The couch is a bit too comfy for daily meetings since I usually have my quiet time early. I’d fall asleep too much.
When will you have your quiet time?
My preference is for the morning. I find that if I don’t have my time with Jesus and His Word first thing in the morning, then it usually doesn’t happen.
But that’s me. What works for you may be different. However, I do want you to consider morning devotions, even if you’re a confirmed night owl.
I have found that morning devotions have several advantages.
- First, your quiet time is much more likely to be done if done in the morning – before the day gets busy, crazy, or plain overwhelming.
- Second, the benefits of peace, confidence, patience, and joy are more noticeable and more likely when you have morning devotions.
- Finally, if the kids get up before you’re finished, you’re setting a powerful example for them. Your kids seeing you read your Bible and pray is worth way more than 18 years of church-going.
What do you need for your quiet time?
First, you’ll need a Bible. Your devotional Bible should be easy to read and one you are comfortable marking in. My Bible has dates and notes and underlining and circles all over it. It is a history of my spiritual life and growth. Yours will become the same as you mark it up.
Next, you will need marking tools. My favorite tools are pencils: regular for writing notes, and different colors for highlighting, circling, underlining, and so forth. Of course, you’ll want a pencil sharpener as well, to keep all those pencils working!
Then, you definitely need a reading guide of some sort. I periodically use a devotional. Some devotionals I’ve used include the following:
- Awaken: 90 Days with the God Who Speaks, by Priscilla Shirer.
- Made to Crave, by Lysa TerKeust
- Draw the Circle, by Mark Batterson
- The Prayer of Jabez Devotional, by Bruce Wilkinson
- The 40-Day Sugar Fast, by Wendy Speake
But even if you use a devotional book you’ll want to read from the Bible also. It may be only 4 or 5 verses – and that’s OK. The important thing is that no devotional, no matter how wonderful, is God’s Word. Only the Bible came to us from God Himself. If you want to spend time with Him and get to know Him, you need to be reading the Bible.
You may also want a journal. A journal serves many purposes: Recording your thoughts and insights while reading. Keeping a running list of prayer requests. Including intentional prayer lists that you use repeatedly. Recording how you will live God’s Word today. Writing out memory verses over and over and over again.No devotional, no matter how wonderful, is God's Word. No devotional, no matter how wonderful, will connect you to the Creator God like the Bible will. Click To Tweet
Using a journal is not only a good practice for your right-now life. It will also become a record of your spiritual battles, victories, failures, and sanctification. It will be a ‘memorial stone’ of God’s work in your life.
Finally, you may consider including a Christian living book on whatever area the Lord is dealing with you currently (forgiveness, marriage, parenting, love, spiritual disciplines, fasting, dreams, Jesus, and so on). This is not essential because reading good Christian books should never take the place of the Bible and prayer time.
Once you’ve identified what you need for your daily quiet time put them all in a bag, a tote, a box, a basket, or another container. Then, at the time you chose grab your tote, head to your spot, and meet the King of the Universe – who is waiting eagerly to spend time with you.
To Do Today
Three questions – where, when, what.
Answer them today. Gather your supplies today, using whatever you have on hand. Have a quiet time today, even if it’s not at the ‘right’ time. Then get up tomorrow, committed to your new – and delightful – habit of a daily quiet time.