Quiet Time (“QT”): Aka “Daily Devotions”, “Personal Devotions,” “The Morning Watch” – This term describes the practice of having a daily appointment with the Lord, a regular period of communion with God through Bible study, meditation and prayer (e.g., see Seven Minutes with God). The primary objective of Quiet Time should be intimate fellowship with God. It is the vital ingredient which seems to be missing in the lives of many followers of Christ. For many saints, their Quiet Time is more “drudgery” than “delight!” (Ps 37:4) Or they fall into the subtle trap of reading someone else’s devotional thoughts, to the neglect of focusing on the pure milk of God’s Word. There is nothing wrong with devotionals per se, but there is if they are used as a substitute for personal time in God’s Word.
Webster defines necessity as that which is indispensable or that which is unavoidable. While Quiet Time is an indispensable discipline for every believer, unfortunately it is not one which is unavoidable. In fact we can easily avoid a daily meeting with God for a variety of reasons, but we dispense with this discipline to the detriment of our walk of faith.
Someone has described the morning quiet time as “turning the dial until we tune in to God’s wavelength—then we get the message.” (S. Hughes)
Henry Blackaby encourages us to “Try not to think of the time you spend with God as a duty. The purpose of a quiet time is for you to get to know God. And as you come to know Him, you can walk out of your special times with God enjoying a living relationship with Him that you can cultivate all day long — throughout all your life.”
Be still and know that I am God.
IS YOUR QUIET TIME
A common excuse for not practicing (under grace) the discipline of a Quiet Time, is “I don’t have enough time.” If you are too busy to have a quiet time, then you are too busy! A daily time of communion with the King of kings is not just a nice suggestion but it is a holy privilege which is absolutely essential for every believer’s spiritual growth and maturity! In fact, you know you are in serious need of a Quiet Time when you don’t have time! Jesus speaking to His disciples said “Come ye yourselves apart to a desert place, and rest a little.” (Mk 6:31KJV) The Quiet Time is a place to “come apart” from the world and rest in Jesus. “Jesus knows we must come apart and rest awhile or else we may just plain come apart!” (Vance Havner) When the Bible becomes a part of you (in your Quiet Time), you’ll be less likely to come apart! To be much like Christ, we must be much with Christ. Attachment to Christ is the secret of detachment from the world. And so although we must live in the world, we must draw our strength from outside the world. As Charles Hummel wisely said “Adequate time for daily waiting on God… is the only way I can escape the tyranny of the urgent.”
Only to sit and think of God,
Oh what a joy it is!
To think the thought, to breathe the Name
Earth has no higher bliss.
Frederick W. Faber
Is God calling out to you in the morning watch “Where are you?” In God’s original plan, we see He sought to have a personal relationship with Adam, but sin entered the scene…
And (Adam and Eve) heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. Then the LORD God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” (Ge 3:8-9)
Patrick Morley writes that “Whenever a man tells me that he doesn’t feel very close to God, the first question I ask is, “Tell me about your devotional life.” Often the problem is just there.”
The Secret Chamber – Isaac Watts was a lifelong bachelor (he once proposed to a girl, was turned down). He lived in borrowed (but elegant) quarters. He spent much of his time writing great hymns and, later, influential textbooks. And he somehow balanced the tasks of pastoring a church (he died in the pastorate) and producing a massive volume of published works. He once made this statement that explained the secret of his lifelong vitality — and ours: Abandon the secret chamber, and the spiritual life will decay. In other words, don’t miss you daily devotions! (Robert Morgan)
Consider the man who had the motto “No Bible, no breakfast.” Now I don’t have a problem with taking in some physical nourishment before you take in spiritual nourishment. But I do have a problem (I am confessing now) reading the email from men before we “open” God’s “email” to me! As an aside, morning may not be the best time for you to meet with God. Just make sure you make time during the day for the One Who created the day and sustains you all through the day!
If you think you are too busy for a Quiet Time, consider Charles and John Wesley’s mother Susanna Wesley, who had nineteen children. And yet in the middle of her busy day, she would sit down in a chair and pull her apron up over her head and have her Quiet Time! When the apron went up, the children knew mom was praying and reading her Bible and they left her alone. While some question the veracity of this story, if true, it is certainly convicting.
Remember that a daily Quiet Time does not mark the end but the beginning of the day. Don’t fall into the fleshly trap of measuring your spirituality by the number of times you’ve met with God during the week! Quiet time is to be a matter of our heart, not our appointment calender! Our time with God in the morning (although any time can be your quiet time) sets our stage for our time with men during the day. Our time in the morning with God is not meant to be a ritual or a routine but a relationship. We meet Christ at the Cross, and call that conversion. We meet with Him “in the closet,” and we call that conversation. At the Cross we come to know Christ, and in the closet we come to know Him more and learn to walk in the power of His Spirit.
To include the Lord in our
daily routine often results in
seeing His divine activity at work.
Adrian Rogers adds that “Christianity is not a legal relationship; it is a love relationship. And people who are legalists, never have victory. Ten thousand “don’ts” will never make you one iota more like the Lord Jesus Christ. Now there are some “don’ts” in the Christian life and there are some “dos.” But friend, it is Jesus himself, who makes you like Him. You need to spend time with Jesus Christ. Christianity is a love relationship.” (Read his entire sermon on How to Have a Meaningful Quiet Time)
Let me ask you… Does your spiritual life lack power? C H Spurgeon once said that “If we are weak in communion with God we are weak everywhere.” Do you find yourself seemingly unable to resist temptations from your besetting sin? Indeed, our sensitivity to sin and ability to resist it is directly proportional to the nearness of our communion with Christ. Our “power to live a new life depends upon daily communion with the living Lord.” (John Eadie) Have you noticed how quickly your Iphone loses its charge during routine daily use? What about your spiritual life? Beloved, Quiet Times are not optional if we are to have our “spiritual batteries regularly recharged”, ready for the day’s activities! Simply put, we must seek to spend quality time with God, for “Our ability to stay with God in our closet measures our ability to stay with God out of the closet.” (E M Bounds) “If our lives and ministry are to count for anything today, we must solemnly resolve to make time for God (today).” (Vance Havner)
Moses demonstrates the pattern of meeting with God…
Thus Jehovah used to speak to Moses face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend. When Moses returned to the camp, his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, would not depart from the tent. (Ex 33:11, cp Nu 12:8, Dt 34:10)
Comment: In everyday life, friends speak with each other face to face, clearly and openly. “Face to face” speaks of intimacy, not that Moses actually saw the face of God (cp Ex 33:18-23 with Jn 1:18). “Friend” in the Bible is a covenant term (see note #1) and note #2). Even the pagan Aristotle understood this truth writing that a friend is “One soul in two bodies.” J Oswald Sanders once said “Every one of us is as close to God as he has chosen to be.”
Who was Jehovah? This Jehovah Who spoke to Moses from the Cloud (Ex 33:9-10) is most likely identified as the pre-incarnate Christ, the “Angel of God (Jehovah)” (see note) Who moved in the cloud (cp Ex 13:21 and Ex 14:19, Ge 16:7; see related discussion: Jehovah = Jesus) (Related Article The Pillar of the Cloud by Ronald B. Allen – Bib Sac 153:612, 1996)
Why was David a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22)? Surely the opening words of this psalm give us a clue…
There is a QUIET PLACE
(Play this hymn)
Far from the rapid pace,
Where God can soothe my troubled mind.
Sheltered by tree and flow’r,
There in my quiet hour,
With Him, my cares are left behind.
Whether a garden small
Or on a mountain tall
New strength and courage there I find;
Then from this quiet place,
I go prepared to face
A new day with love for all mankind
FOR QUIET TIME
The right time is when you find the time. The point is like the Nike commercial says “Just Do It!” That said, there are a number of reasons to consider the early morning for one’s quiet time.
We are encouraged (actually commanded) to imitate Jesus in 1Cor 11:1, so the question is did Jesus have a time alone with His Father? While the following passage emphasizes prayer, it clearly speaks of Jesus’ communion with His Father which should also be the primary objective of our daily quiet time. Beloved, if Jesus felt the need for time with His Father, how much more should we! (See Jesus’ declaration that He could do nothing “unless it is something He sees His Father doing.” Jn 5:17, 19, Jn 5:30, Jn 8:28 – all emphasize Jesus’ dependence on His Father and thus His necessity to meet with and hear from His Father! And as our Elder Brother demonstrates, we have no less of a need to hear from our Father in heaven. See related post on how to discern THE WILL OF GOD)
Compare this OT passage which speaks prophetically of Messiah:
The Lord GOD has given Me the tongue of disciples, that I may know how to sustain the weary one with a word. He awakens Me morning by morning. He awakens My ear to listen as a disciple. (Isa 50:4)
J D Jones comments on Mark 1:35: I was once taken through the engineering shops in the Devonport dockyard. I saw innumerable machines busy at various kinds of work, most of them making considerable noise in the process. Then my conductor took me to a room which by contrast was almost silent, where a great engine was working smoothly and quietly. “This,” said he, “is the power-room.” In that quiet room I found the secret of the multifarious activities of the machines in the various shops. In Mk 1:32-34, Mark has been showing us our Lord’s various activities. In Mk 1:35 he takes us to the “power-room.” Back of all the activities of the synagogue and the street lay a life of secret prayer. In communion with His Father, Jesus refreshed and renewed Himself for further labour and toil amongst men. “A great while before day”—Jesus made time for prayer! He snatched it from His sleep. What an object-lesson as to the indispensable necessity of prayer! We realize the obligation of service in these days, and consequently we have become very “busy.” But are we neglecting the “power-room”? We must keep the balance true. We must never become too busy to pray…
Our Lord had, according to Mk 1:35, “risen up a great while before day,” and had departed into a desert place to pray. He had stolen out while His disciples were asleep. It was only when, with the dawning of the day, those who had sick folk in the city, and who had not received Christ’s healing grace on the previous evening, began to knock at the door and inquire for Him, that the disciples discovered He was not there. And then they pursued—that is the Greek word—in hot haste after Jesus. Incidentally let us notice what a tribute there is here to the character of Jesus. These four disciples knew exactly where to look for Him. They had already become acquainted with His prayer habits. They knew His love for quiet and solitary communion. And so when He was missing, they went straight to the place of prayer to look for Him. “They pursued after Him.“
What an illustration this is
of the difficulties of communion!
“Scarcely can we turn aside,” our hymn says, “for one brief hour of prayer.” Jesus could “scarcely turn aside.” It was with difficulty He found His “quiet time.” Something or other—the clamor of the multitude, the cares of the world—was always following Him even into the desert place. We know this difficulty too. What between the claims of business and family, social and church duties, we have no leisure for the “quiet time.” Every hour we are “pursued” by something or other, nevertheless, we must make time for prayer. Meal times and prayer times, as the old saying puts it, are not lost times. (Mark Commentary-Devotional)
Around us rolls the ceaseless tide
Of business, toil, and care;
And scarcely can we turn aside
For one brief hour of prayer.
Behold Us, Lord, a Little Space
We see Isaiah speaking prophetically of Messiah’s “Quiet Time” – The Lord GOD has given Me (Messiah) the tongue of disciples, that I may know how to sustain the weary one with a word. He (the Lord God) awakens Me (Messiah) morning by morning. He awakens My ear to listen as a disciple (Hebrew – limmud = one taught, a learner- cf Lk 2:40, 47, 52, Heb 5:8). (Isaiah 50:4)
So even Jesus had a Quiet Time which shows us our great need for the same! While He was clearly fully God, He lived His life in dependence on His Father and the Holy Spirit (John 5:19, 30, 8:28 Lk 4:1, 14, Mt 4:1, Acts 10:38, etc) in order to show us how to live our new life in Christ. If Jesus found it necessary (priority, important) to meet privately with His Father, surely His example is sufficient reason for us to imitate His pattern (1Cor 11:1, 1Jn 2:6, 1Pe 2:21–note).
Take time to be holy
Speak oft with Thy Lord
Abide with Him always
And feed on His Word
Take time to be holy
The world rushes on
Spend much time in secret
With Jesus alone
Daniel a man greatly used by God had the lifelong OT equivalent of a “Quiet Time” – Now when Daniel knew that the document was signed, he entered his house (now in his roof chamber he had windows open toward Jerusalem); and he continued kneeling on his knees three times a day, praying and giving thanks before his God, as he had been doing previously. (Da 6:10–note; cp David’s mention of three times a day in Ps 55:17)
Elijah had a “quiet time” to hear the quiet voice of God – “after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.” (1Ki 19:12KJV) As Adrian Rogers says “If God speaks with a quiet voice, you need to have a quiet time and (a quiet) place to hear Him. If you’re around a lot of furor and hubbub and noise, and somebody is whispering, you’re not going to hear Him. That’s the reason why you need to have a quiet time, so that you can pray, “Lord, what is it You really want me to do?” (What Every Christian Ought to Know Day by Day)
Southern Baptist preacher Robert G Lee used to say “If you wake up in the morning and don’t meet the devil face on, it just means you’re headed in the same direction! (Ed: It follows that we might be better prepared for the attacks from our Adversary and his minions if we first have a Coram Deo [R C Sproul] encounter!)
Claude King – In any relationship you must spend time with the other person in order for the relationship to grow. The same holds true for your relationship with Christ. The most important thing you can do each day is to spend quality time with your Lord. Many people call this a quiet time. (Growing Disciples Series)
COULD YOU SPARE GOD
FIVE MINUTES TOMORROW MORNING?
“Oswald Chambers has wisely commented on the transforming power of even 5 minutes in the presence of the Lord. Indeed, even a short time spent in intercession and the Word still has great value: “It is not the thing on which we spend the most time that moulds us, but the thing that exerts the greatest power. Five minutes with God and His Word is worth more than all the rest of the day.” Now, it may sound like Chambers has made an overstatement. Yet powerful results can come from even a short time of prayer, because God is powerful.” (Dennis Fisher)
J. Hudson Taylor Missionary to China referring to the value of quiet time in the morning once quipped “You don’t tune up the instruments after the concert is over. That’s stupid. It’s logical to tune them up before you start!” Comment: This quote begs the question do I “tune my heart” before I begin each day?
Dawson Trotman, founder of the Navigators Ministry, actually had two quiet times, morning and evening. He had a code for his nightly quiet time: H.W.L.W. Whenever he was with a group of people at night or home with his wife and the conversation seemed to be ending, he would say, “All right, H. W. L. W.,” after which a passage of Scripture would be quoted without comment and all would go to sleep. H.W.L.W. stood for “His Word the Last Word.” This was his reminder for the men to go to sleep thinking about and meditating on some verse God had given them that day. Trotman practiced H.W.L.W. throughout his life as a way of ending a day with one’s thoughts fixed on the Lord and His Word. Are you memorizing His Word (see also Memory Verses by Topic) during the day, so that you might able to meditate on it before you fall asleep?
Rob Morgan comments: Dawson knew that the last dominant conscious thought in the human mind at the end of the day would inevitably simmer in the subconscious during sleep and help shape the attitude and personality of the heart. And he was right. If you want to hide God’s word in your heart (Ps 119:11), go to sleep while meditating on a verse of Scripture (Read Joshua 1:8, Ps 1:2, Ps 63:6, Ps 77:6, Ps 119:97). It seeps into your subconscious mind and helps shape your soul. You’ll sleep better, and wake up the next morning more refreshed. Charles Spurgeon used to say that Bible verses make good pillows. (The Best Seat Is On The Floor)
Stephen F. Olford once said “I want to hear the voice of God before I hear anyone else’s in the morning, and his is the last voice I want to hear at night.”
“Blessed is the day
whose morning is sanctified!”
Joseph Parker on Exodus 34:2 – “So be ready by morning, and come up in the morning to Mount Sinai, and present yourself there to Me on the top of the mountain.” Parker writes – My Father, I am coming. Nothing on the mean plain shall keep me away from the holy heights. Help me to climb fast, and keep Thou my foot, lest it fall upon the hard rock! At Thy bidding I come, so Thou wilt not mock my heart. Bring with Thee honey from Heaven, yea, milk and wine, and oil for my soul’s good, and stay the sun in his course, or the time will be too short in which to look upon Thy face, and to hear Thy gentle voice. Morning on the mount! It will make me strong and glad all the rest of the day so well begun… The morning is the time fixed for my meeting the Lord. This very word morning is as a cluster of rich grapes. Let me crush them, and drink the sacred wine. In the morning! Then God means me to be at my best in strength and hope. I have not to climb in my weakness. In the night I have buried yesterday’s fatigue, and in the morning I take a new lease of energy. Sweet morning! There is hope in its music. Blessed is the day whose morning is sanctified! Successful is the day whose first victory was won in prayer! Holy is the day whose dawn finds thee on the top of the mount! Health is established in the morning. Wealth is won in the morning. The light is brightest in the morning. “Wake, psaltery and harp; I myself will awake early.” (Comment: May these precious benefits associated with arising in the morning hour, prompt us to sing out Charles Wesley’s song and then to rise and meet our King – Arise, My Soul, Arise)
F B Meyer on “My presence shall go with thee” (Exodus 33:14) – We should never leave our prayer closets in the morning without having concentrated our thoughts deeply and intensely on the fact of the actual presence of God there with us, encompassing us, and filling the room as literally as it fills Heaven itself. It may not lead to any distinct results at first, but, as we make repeated efforts to realize the presence of God, it will become increasingly real to us. And, as the habit grows upon us, when alone in a room, or when treading the sward of some natural woodland temple, or when pacing the stony street—in the silence of night, or amid the teeming crowds of daylight—we shall often find ourselves whispering the words, “Thou art near; thou art here, O Lord.”
In fact the Bible frequently mentions other godly men and women rising early in the morning to meet with the Lord:
• Jesus: Mark 1:32-39 “And when evening had come, after the sun had set, they began bringing to Him all who were ill and those who were demon-possessed. 33 And the whole city had gathered at the door. 34 And He healed many who were ill with various diseases, and cast out many demons; and He was not permitting the demons to speak, because they knew who He was. 35 And in the early morning, while it was still dark, He arose and went out and departed to a lonely place, and was praying there. 36 And Simon and his companions hunted for Him; 37 and they found Him, and *said to Him, “Everyone is looking for You.” 38 And He *said to them, “Let us go somewhere else to the towns nearby, in order that I may preach there also; for that is what I came out for.” 39 And He went into their synagogues throughout all Galilee, preaching and casting out the demons.” – And so it appears that Jesus used His time alone with His Father (and remember Jesus is showing how a perfect man can and should live, even through we will always fall short of His perfect example) for meaningful fellowship as well as a time to revive His strength and give Him direction in His mission. We need to see that time alone with our Father is our spiritual lifeline. Even in the Garden God sought fellowship with Adam and desired to walk with him. That pattern has not changed, for He still desires to walk with His children in every part of their life journey.
• Job: Job 1:5 And it came about, when the days of feasting had completed their cycle, that Job would send and consecrate them, rising up early in the morning and offering burnt offerings according to the number of them all; for Job said, “Perhaps my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” Thus Job did continually.
• Jacob: Ge 28:18 So Jacob rose early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up as a pillar, and poured oil on its top.
• Moses: Ex 34:4 So he cut out two stone tablets like the former ones, and Moses rose up early in the morning and went up to Mount Sinai, as the LORD had commanded him, and he took two stone tablets in his hand.
Comment: Notice that in this passage “morning time” was commanded.
• Hannah and Elkanah: 1Sam 1:19 Then they arose early in the morning and worshiped before the LORD, and returned again to their house in Ramah. And Elkanah had relations with Hannah his wife, and the LORD remembered her.
Comment: Notice that a major component of this “morning time” was worship, which should likewise be our practice. Devotional study is fine but may it always drive us to desire deeper worship of the Worthy One! This probably will not be your experience the first time you try the “morning time” but over time, it will become your reflexive response to our Master’s majestic manifestions.
• David: Ps 5:3–note In the morning, O LORD, Thou wilt hear my voice; In the morning I will order my prayer to Thee and eagerly watch. Ps 57:7 My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises!8 Awake, my glory; Awake, harp and lyre, I will awaken the dawn!
Spurgeon’s Comment: “In the morning” is the fittest time for intercourse with God. An hour in the morning is worth two in the evening. While the dew is on the grass, let grace drop upon the soul. Let us give to God the mornings of our days and the morning of our lives. Prayer should be the key of the day and the lock of the night. Devotion should be both the morning star and the evening star.
• Ps 90:14–note O satisfy us in the morning with Thy lovingkindness, That we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. (See also Spurgeon’s sermon – The Young Man’s Prayer)
Spurgeon’s Comment: Since they must die, and die so soon (Ed: And won’t we all, when comparing this little speck of time to eternity!), the psalmist pleads for speedy mercy upon himself and his brethren. Good men know how to turn the darkest trials into arguments at the throne of grace. He who has but the heart to pray need never be without pleas in prayer. The only satisfying food for the Lord’s people is the favor of God; this Moses earnestly seeks for, and as the manna fell in the morning he beseeches the Lord to send at once his satisfying favor, that all through the little day of life they might be filled therewith. Are we so soon to die? Then, Lord, do not starve us while we live. Satisfy us at once, we pray thee. Our day is short and the night hastens on, O give us in the early morning of our days to be satisfied with thy favor, that all through our little day we may be happy. That we may rejoice and be glad all our days. Being filled with divine love, their brief life on earth would become a joyful festival, and would continue so as long as it lasted. When the Lord refreshes us with his presence, our joy is such that no man can take it from us. Apprehensions of speedy death are not able to distress those who enjoy the present favor of God; though they know that the night cometh they see nothing to fear in it, but continue to live while they live, triumphing in the present favour of God and leaving the future in his loving hands. Since the whole generation which came out of Egypt had been doomed to die in the wilderness, they would naturally feel despondent, and therefore their great leader seeks for them that blessing which,
• Ps 119:147 I rise before dawn and cry for help; I wait for Thy words.
Spurgeon’s comment: He was up before the sun, and began his pleadings before the dew began to leave the grass. Whatever is worth doing is worth doing speedily.
Spurgeon’s Comment: Lord, my sorrow makes me deaf,—cause me to hear: there is but one voice that can cheer me—cause me to hear thy lovingkindness; that music I would fain enjoy at once—cause me to hear it in the morning, at the first dawning hour. A sense of divine love is to the soul both dawn and dew; the end of the night of weeping, the beginning of the morning of joy. Only God can take away from our weary ears the din of our care, and charm them with the sweet notes of his love. Our plea with the Lord is our faith: if we are relying upon him, he cannot disappoint us: “in thee do I trust” is a sound and solid argument with God. He who made the ear will cause us to hear: he who is love itself will have the kindness to bring his lovingkindness before our minds.
• Isa 26:9–Spurgeon’s sermon (The Desire of the Soul in Spiritual Darkness) At night my soul longs for Thee, Indeed, my spirit within me seeks Thee diligently; For when the earth experiences Thy judgments The inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.
Spurgeon’s Comment: NIGHT appears to be a time peculiarly favorable to devotion. Its solemn stillness helps to free the mind from that perpetual din which the cares of the world will bring around it. And the stars looking down from Heaven upon us shine as if they would attract us up to God. I know not how you may be affected by the solemnities of midnight, but when I have sat alone musing on the great God and the mighty universe, I have felt that, indeed, I could worship Him, for night seemed to be spread abroad as a very temple for adoration, while the moon walked as high priest amid the stars! The worshippers and I, myself, joined in that silent song which they sang unto God—“Great are You, O God! Great in Your works. When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars which You have ordained, what is man, that You are mindful of him? And the son of man, that You visit him?”
• Ezek 12:8 And in the morning the word of the LORD came to me, saying,
William MacDonald comments: Habakkuk retired to his watchtower to see how the Lord would answer him. He wanted to get alone in order to gain God’s perspective. This is a most important principle for believers today as well. Whether we call it our “quiet time,” “devotions,” or by some other term, daily communion with God is crucial for every Christian. (See also Spurgeon’s sermon Watching to See)
In 1882 seven students (see note below) at Cambridge University became famous for their “Quiet Time” slogan…
“REMEMBER THE MORNING WATCH”
In the beginning of his Confessions, Augustine writes…
You stimulate [us] to take pleasure in praising You, because You have made us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless until they can find peace in You.
You are my Strength when I am weak
You are the Treasure that I seek
You are my All in All
Seeking You as a precious Jewel
Lord, to give up I’d be a fool.
You are my All in All…
Jesus Lamb of God
Worthy is Your Name.
You Are My All in All
We need to beware of a subtle trap regarding Quiet Times. We can begin to think of our spirituality as proportionate to the number of times we have met with God during the week. If devotions become a chore we chalk up, then we are in danger of becoming legalists rather than lovers. Not only is this legalistic approach prideful, it is the antithesis of the desired effect of a rightly motivated Quiet Time for as John writes…
As Robert Murray M’Cheyne put it – Live near to God and all things will appear little to you in comparison with eternal realities.
Or as James Philip said “In the light of God, human vision clears.”
The psalmist extols the evening in the following passage…
Ps 119:148 My eyes anticipate the night watches, That I may meditate on Thy word.
Spurgeon: Before the watchman cried the hour, he was crying to God. He did not need to be informed as to how the hours were flying, for every hour his heart was flying towards heaven. He began the day with prayer, and he continued in prayer through the watches of the day, and the watches of the night. The soldiers changed guard, but David did not change his holy occupation. Specially, however, at night did he keep his eyes open, and drive away sleep, that he might maintain communion with his God. He worshipped on from watch to watch as travellers journey from stage to stage. “That I might meditate in thy word.” This had become meat and drink to him. Meditation was the food of his hope, and the solace of his sorrow: the one theme upon which his thoughts ran was that blessed “word” which he continually mentions, and in which his heart rejoices. He preferred study to slumber; and he learned to forego his necessary sleep for much more necessary devotion. It is instructive to find meditation so constantly connected with fervent prayer: it is the fuel which sustains the flame. How rare an article is it in these days.
KEEPING IT SIMPLE:
HOW TO DO A QUIET TIME
There is no specific “formula” for Quiet Time in Scripture and for that matter the phrase “Quiet Time” is not even found in the Bible. The principle of meeting with God however is found (as discussed throughout these notes) and is foundational to growing in grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2Pe 3:16). Modern smart phones have a feature called “Face Time” to make the phone encounter more personal and realistic. As Christ followers we need “face time” with our Master and quiet time is simply one way of accomplishing that end. In the notes below there are a variety of suggestions as well as caveats regarding quiet time, but simply put, we should keep our “face time” with God simple so that we are neither encumbered by even “good things” (Heb 12:1) nor distracted by details. Obviously if we aim at nothing, we are certain to miss. So our aim should be to seek God’s face keeping it simple. I suggest the following as a minimum:
(1) A Bible you are willing to mark in. God speaks most clearly in His Word and we can record notes, thoughts in the margins. It is preferable to select a Bible without notes (lest you be tempted to read men’s words rather than God’s Word – remember your desire should be a face to face encounter with the Living God through His Living Word – cf Coram Deo [R C Sproul]. Sometimes I keep two versions open (NAS or ESV for more literal translation and NLT or Amplified), using the second version to provide insights not readily apparent in the more literal translations.
(2) Prayer – confessing anything unholy that might hinder communication with the Holy One (pray Ps 139:23-24, 1Jn 1:9), asking for His Spirit’s guidance and illumination (Ps 119:18, Jn 16:13), and including a time of intercession for others (Gal 6:2, Jas 5:16).
(3) A notebook – Record passages (eg, one’s you want to memorize – write them out on a small card to carry with you the rest of the day) and insights on passages especially those that convict you and call for Spirit of grace enabled obedience. Your goal is not the complete the quiet time (that’s legalism), but to become more intimate with God, more like His Son, more ready to yield quickly to His Spirit. If you’ve never practiced the discipline of delight (not duty) of a quiet time see Robert Foster’s Seven Minutes with God posted below for his suggestion.
FOR QUIET TIME
A couple who is passionately in love can’t be kept apart. If we love someone, we want to spend time with them. We say we love Jesus, but does our time alone with Him (our deeds) support what we say? “The more any man loves Christ, the more he delights to be with Christ alone. Lovers love to be alone.” (Thomas Brooks) Making time often requires us to be intentional and deliberate. It is easy for the “tyranny of the urgent” to overwhelm our good intentions of time with the “Lover of our souls” and before we realize it we’ve postponed our appointment until the next day or the day after, etc. You’ve never done that have you?
As Spurgeon said “Have your heart right with Christ, and he will visit you often, and so turn weekdays into Sundays, meals into sacraments, homes into temples, and earth into heaven… In forty years I have not spent fifteen waking minutes without thinking of Jesus.”
Robert Boyd Munger in his the little booklet, My Heart Christ’s Home compares his heart to a home where Christ has been invited to dwell as the heavenly guest. He goes room by room, showing how the Lord cleaned the dirty books off the shelves of the study, took down the filthy pictures, how He cleaned the dining room of unhealthy appetites and desires, etc. The living room was a comfortable room with a quiet atmosphere.
The Lord said, “This is indeed a delightful room. Let us come here often. It is secluded and quiet, and we can fellowship together.” Well, naturally as a young Christian I was thrilled. I couldn’t think of anything I would rather do than have a few minutes with Christ in intimate companionship.
He promised, “I will be here early every morning. Meet me here, and we will start the day together.” So morning after morning, I would come downstairs to the living room and He would take a book of the Bible from the bookcase. He would open it and then we would read together. He would tell me of its riches and unfold to me its truths. He would make my heart warm as He revealed His love and His grace He had toward me. These were wonderful hours together. In fact, we called the living room the “withdrawing room.” It was a period when we had our quiet time together.
But, little by little, under the pressure of many responsibilities, this time began to be shortened. Why, I’m don’t know, but I thought I was just too busy to spend time with Christ. This was not intentional, you understand; it just happened that way. Finally, not only was the time shortened, but I began to miss a day now and then. It was examination time at the university. Then it was some other urgent emergency. I would miss it two days in a row and often more.
I remember one morning when I was in a hurry, rushing downstairs, eager to be on my way. As I passed the living room, the door was open. Looking in, I saw a fire in the fireplace and Jesus was sitting there. Suddenly in dismay I thought to myself, “He was my guest. I invited Him into my heart! He has come as Lord of my home. And yet here I am neglecting Him.” I turned and went in. With downcast glance, I said, “Blessed Master, forgive me. Have You been here all these mornings?”
“Yes,” He said, “I told you I would be here every morning to meet with you.” Then I was even more ashamed. He had been faithful in spite of my faithfulness. I asked His forgiveness and He readily forgave me as He does when we are truly repentant. “The trouble with you is this: you have been thinking of the quiet time, of the Bible study and prayer time, as a factor in your own spiritual progress, but you have forgotten that this hour means something to me also. Remember, I love you. I have redeemed you at great cost. I value your fellowship. Now,” He said, “do not neglect this hour if only for my sake. Whatever else may be your desire, remember I want your fellowship!”
You know, the truth that Christ desires my companionship, that He loves me, wants me to be with Him, wants to be with me and waits for me, has done more to transform my quiet time with God than any other single fact. Don’t let Christ wait alone in the living room of your heart, but every day find some time when, with your Bible and in prayer, you may be together with Him. (My Heart Christ’s Home)
May we be ever mindful of Christ’s love for us,
So that our Quiet Time is motivated
By a sense of anticipation and delight,
Not a sense of drudgery and duty.
Tim Schoap notes that many believers are “functional legalists” explaining that…
As functional legalists we recognize and condemn legalism when it comes to salvation, the idea that we can be saved by our works. However, we embrace it and live as legalists for sanctification. Although it is God’s grace that justifies and sanctifies, many of us live day by day relying on our works for our sanctification. When our works don’t measure up, we either question our salvation or our worthiness. We saw this “nobody/somebody” model of behavior in an earlier lesson.
This nobody/somebody “model” works in three ways – first, by causing us to judge according to what we do. Ask yourself these questions: How do you feel about yourself when you miss your quiet time, when you don’t pray, when you pass on a witnessing opportunity, or fall into a “big” sin? When you are less than pleasant with your family, friends? When you just don’t feel spiritual? Now, how do you feel when you have a great quiet time, share Christ with a friend, turn your back on temptation, are kind and generous to all those around you, and you have a plain sense of God’s presence in your life? If you are like most, you fall easily into the trap of feeling like on a “good” day, God is blessing and you are walking in sanctification, and on a “bad” day, God is not only not blessing, but you are the lowest of Christian pond scum! (Ed: Quiet time is to be a blessing, not a burden!) (The Spiritual Life – 46 page monograph)
Steven Cole speaks of another potential stumbling block of quiet times…
There’s a serious danger which both individuals and churches must guard against—institutional religion. It’s so easy to fall into routine Christianity, where you run through your programs and activities, but you don’t live in close touch with the living God.
You even can have a personal quiet time,
but not meet with God.
You can go to church and go through the worship service, but you haven’t made contact with the living God. One day several years ago the phone rang in the rector’s office of the church in Washington, D.C., where the President sometimes attended. An eager voice said, “Do you expect the President to be there Sunday?” The rector replied, “That I cannot promise. But we do expect God, and we fancy it will be incentive enough for a reasonably large attendance.” (In “Our Daily Bread,” Fall, 1986.) (Sermon on 1Timothy 3:14-16)
In another place Steven Cole reminds us that…
Our hearts are so prone to fall into a legalistic spirit, where we congratulate ourselves for keeping our vows, but our hearts are far from the Lord. The main thing is to walk closely with the Lord, judging all known sin and gladly obeying His Word out of a heart of love. If you miss your morning quiet time, your day is not under a curse. Walk with God that day and make it your priority to meet alone with Him as soon as you can. The biblical balance is: Don’t put yourself under manmade laws or rules that have the appearance of wisdom, “but are of no value against fleshly indulgence” (Col 2:20-23–note). On the other hand, do discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness (1Ti 4:7–note). (Nehemiah 10:1-39 Putting God’s Truth into Practice)
For the choir director; for flute accompaniment.
A Psalm of David.
Give ear to my words, O LORD,
Consider my groaning.
Heed the sound of my cry for help, my King and my God,
For to Thee do I pray.
In the morning, O LORD, Thou wilt hear my voice;
In the morning I will order my prayer to Thee and eagerly watch.
Psalm 5:1-3–Spurgeon’s Note
One thing I have asked (desired as in Eccl 2:10) from the LORD, that I shall seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to meditate in His temple. (Ps 27:4 )
Comment: If your quiet times are too quiet consider making this your prayer to God, that He might cultivate this desire in your heart (“One thing I have asked… “)
Devotions are a matter of our heart
more than a discipline of our day timer.
Keil and Delitzsch: There is only one thing, that he desires,… an ardent longing which extends out of the past into the future, and therefore runs through his whole life. The one thing sought is unfolded… a lifelong dwelling in the house of Yahweh, that is to say intimate spiritual intercourse… is the one desire of David’s heart, in order that he might behold and feast upon (of a clinging, lingering, chained gaze) the pleasantness (or gracefulness) of the Lord.
Joseph Carroll adds: There you have it in one verse of Scripture. There is only one thing he desired; but because he desired this one thing, all things became possible. This is the mainspring. This is that which sets everything else in motion and enables all else to function as it was intended and to fulfill its appropriate role. If the one thing that is needful is desired and sought, everything else will fall into its proper place and will perform its proper function… David’s desire is an ardent longing that runs out of the past into the future. It is not a momentary thing. Intimate, spiritual intercourse is the one consuming desire of his heart, and it was this that dominated David all his days… At the end of the day ask yourself what you have done with your time. How much time did you set aside to worship Jesus Christ? You might be surprised.
Of course, to worship Him in your quiet time is not the end. It is only the beginning. You are merely tuning your instrument to face the day. We seem to have the strange idea that if only we can have a quiet time, everything is going to be fine for the rest of the day; and if we do not have a quiet time, everything is going to turn out miserably. This is not so. The quiet time should be set aside early in the morning, but it is only the tuning of the instrument. You cannot say, “I have had my quiet time. Now I’m fine.” This is just the beginning, getting in first gear, so to speak. We must walk in fellowship with the Lord throughout the day. C. H. Spurgeon said he was never out of vital contact with God for more than ten minutes! Little wonder that God used this great lover of Jesus Christ so mightily. Like King David before him, C. H. Spurgeon purposed in his heart to seek to be a true worshiper of his Lord, for no man will ever experience true worship in a consistent manner unless he sets his will to do so. (How to Worship Jesus Christ)
Spurgeon: Divided aims tend to distraction, weakness, disappointment. The man of one book is eminent, the man of one pursuit is successful. Let all our affections be bound up in one affection, and that affection set upon heavenly things. What we cannot at once attain, it is well to desire. God judges us very much by the desire of our hearts. He who rides a lame horse is not blamed by his master for want of speed, if he makes all the haste he can, and would make more if he could; God takes the will for the deed with his children. This is the right target for desires, this is the well into which to dip our buckets, this is the door to knock at, the bank to draw upon; desire of men, and lie upon the dunghill with Lazarus: desire of the Lord, and to be carried of angels into Abraham’s bosom. Our desires of the Lord should be sanctified, humble, constant, submissive, fervent, and it is well if, as with the psalmist, they are all molten into one mass. Under David’s painful circumstances we might have expected him to desire repose, safety, and a thousand other good things, but no, he has set his heart on the pearl, and leaves the rest. That will I seek after. Holy desires must lead to resolute action. The old proverb says, “Wishers and woulders are never good housekeepers, “and “wishing never fills a sack.” Desires are seed which must be sown in the good soil of activity, or they will yield no harvest. We shall find our desires to be like clouds without rain, unless followed up by practical endeavors…
We shall not need to make enquiries in (meditate on) heaven, for there we shall know even as we are known; but meanwhile we should sit at Jesus’ feet, and awaken all our faculties to learn of him.
AND QUIET TIME
A major factor regarding our spiritual growth is our time in the Word. Peter makes clear the relationship of intake and growth…
Therefore (because you are “born again” 1Pe 1:23), putting aside (enabled by the Spirit, discarding the following unholy attitudes and actions must precede intake of the holy Word) all (just try to do this in your own strength! Surrender to the Spirit’s searching of your heart and enabling power to put off all) malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, 2 like newborn babies, long for (yearn for, pant for) the pure (no additives, undiluted) milk of the Word, so that (term of conclusion – don’t miss it!) by it (What?) you may grow (not know but grow – intake without growth was characteristic of the Pharisees of Jesus’ day!) in respect to salvation (In context this refers to sanctification, growth in holiness, growth in Christ-likeness, progressive conformation to the image of God’s Son).
Comment: Notice that the very thing that caused Peter’s readers to be “born again” (“seed which is… imperishable… the living and enduring Word of God.” 1Pe 1:23-25–note), enables them to “grow in respect to salvation.” Simply stated, if you have no regular intake of the Word, you can be assured that you will exhibit no significant spiritual growth. It’s easy to focus on verse two and miss the vital relationship with 1Pe 2:1. If we have unconfessed sin (like those in verse 1), we are not “spiritually healthy” (so to speak) and our spiritual appetite for holy things will be blunted at best and totally absent at worst. D. L. Moody had an excellent practice of keeping “short accounts” with God — Every evening before retiring he would review the day with his Lord, trusting His Spirit to reveal anything that had displeased Him (cp Ps 139:23-24–note). Such a man is prepared for the morning hour of worship (recall that “worship” speaks of the worthiness of someone. He is worthy – Rev 5:12–note). See parallel passage Hebrews 5:14–note. Stephen Olford observes that “It is impossible to subsist as a Christian without one’s daily Quiet Time, because God has put into our spiritual life and nature a hunger for the Word.”
Guy King tells about the time he “lived in a certain vicarage for fifteen years which had a pear tree in the garden; but never a respectable pear did it yield me all that time. I am no gardener; but my successor was – and, strange to relate, he had a bumper crop his very first year! Why? He went at the roots, which I was too ignorant to do. That’s it! take care of the roots, the secret connection with the Soil – the Quiet Time with GOD, and the use of His appointed means of grace – the Word; the Footstool; the Table; the Worship; the Work, “that ye may grow thereby,” 1Peter 2:2, and become “Oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He might be glorified” (Isa 61:3–Spurgeon’s sermon): Not we, but He. May we not be stunted trees.” (Colossians Commentary)
Ivor Powell – Trees which stand on top of a cliff need to send their roots deep!
A B Simpson – Dwell deep in the hidden life of God. The cedar grows more beneath the ground than above it.
C H Spurgeon – The nearer we come to God, the more graciously will he reveal himself to us.
Stephen Olford – God’s best for you is closely linked with this daily meeting with Him. The barometer of one’s Christian life is the Quiet Time. Do you have a Quiet Time, or have you let it slip? Be the man of God who takes time to be holy, speaks oft with his Lord, abides in Him only, and feeds on His Word. God grant that this may be true of you. You cannot tell me you have surrendered to God, that Jesus Christ is Lord of your life, or that you know the fullness of the Holy Spirit unless you have your manna in the morning. May your prayer be:
Help me, O Lord, Thy Word to read,
Upon the living Bread to feed,
Seeking Thy Spirit’s quickening lead
That I may please Thee in all things.
Stephen F. Olford
George Sweeting – While still in his childhood, John Wesley resolved to dedicate an hour each morning and evening to Bible study and prayer.
Warren Wiersbe – I suggest you discipline yourself to spend time daily in a systematic reading of God’s Word. Make this “quiet time” a priority that nobody can change.
Doctor’s say the most important mean of the day is breakfast. Jesus understood the importance of a spiritual “breakfast of champions” and how it even prepared one for the spiritual war each day is certain to bring…
But He answered (addressing the Devil’s temptation in Mt 4:3) and said, “It is written, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.’” (Matt 4:4–note; quoting Dt 8:3, cp Eph 6:17–note)
Comment: How did Jesus resist the Devil’s intense temptation? Filled with, led by the Holy Spirit (Lk 4:1, cp Lk 4:14, Mt 4:1) and filled with the Holy Word (from Deuteronomy)! God’s “template for victory” has not changed. Quiet time can strengthen us for the inevitable daily battles with temptation!
R W De Haan comments: If we have been feeding daily on God’s Word, it’s natural to feel “hungry” when we skip our quiet time. But if we continue to neglect it, we may lose all desire to study the Scriptures. In fact, we may be starving ourselves. How much time do you spend reading the Bible and meditating on its truths? Do you miss the Word when you neglect it? Thomas Guthrie wrote,
“If you find yourself loving any pleasure better than your prayers, any book better than the Bible, any persons better than Christ, or any indulgence better than the hope of heaven–take alarm.”
If you’ve lost your taste for the “bread of life,” confess your negligence and ask God to revive your appetite for His Word. Avoid spiritual starvation!
Break Thou the bread of life, dear Lord, to me,
As Thou didst break the loaves beside the sea.
Beyond the sacred page I seek Thee, Lord;
My spirit pants for Thee, O Living Word.
Elmer Towns – The secret of our future spiritual maturity lies in our daily routine of Bible study.
E M Bounds – To be little with God is to be little for God.
Jonathan Edwards – True grace delights in secret converse with God.
Jim Faucett – It is misguided to think that God will revive a people who find no time to commune with him from the heart.
Dennis Fisher asks
How do we know if we’re making progress in our personal time with the Lord? One major characteristic will be an increase in appreciation for who and what God is. Our personal quiet time should cause us to praise Him (Ed: Cp “A garment of praise [Spurgeon sermon]” – Isa 61:3KJV)…
(Ed: In addition we will begin to… )
• Let God into your daily problem-solving activities.
• Expect God to act outside your own limited perspective.
Stephen Olford speaks of a “carry over” benefit of his Quiet Time – :My prayer list is a very interesting one. Monday-Missions. Tuesdays-Thanksgiving. Wednesday-Workers, staff, etc. Thursday-Tasks. Friday-Family. Saturday-Saints (so much of Paul’s praying was for the saints). And Sunday-Sinners. On the list of sinners for this present period of my life… Now, it isn’t the length of time I spend in my quiet time, though I usually take an hour, but there is a carry-over of the activity of prayer, the attitude of prayer, that marks the rest of the day. I never pick up a telephone without a prayer. I never dictate a letter to my secretary without a prayer. I never let anybody into my study or out of my study without a prayer, and as my beloved workers know, any time we get together we say, ‘Let’s pray.’ And so, prayer is literally praying without ceasing (1Th 5:17–note). At the drop of a hat…and so I feel I live in that attitude of perpetual prayer.”
In Joshua 6:10 we see that a “quiet time” preceded a “shouting time” and victory over Jericho. – “But Joshua commanded the people, saying, “You shall not shout nor let your voice be heard, nor let a word proceed out of your mouth, until the day I tell you, ‘Shout!’ Then you shall shout!””
If we believe David’s words
we too will seek the presence of David’s God!
Henry Blackaby challenges us – If you are not keeping a spiritual journal or diary, you need to. If the God of the universe tells you something, you should write it down. When God speaks to you in your quiet time, immediately write down what He said before you have time to forget. Then record your prayer response. I write down the verse of Scripture He uses and what God has said to me about Himself from that verse. I write down the prayer response I am making; so I have in place the encounter with God, what God said, and how I responded to Him. I also write out what I need to do to adjust my life to God so I can begin to experience Him relating to me in this way. (Experiencing God)
George Sweeting the respected former president of Moody Bible Institute once said that “If we don’t maintain a quiet time each day, it’s not really because we are too busy; it’s because we do not feel it is important enough… There’s an old navy rule: when ships readjust their compass, they drop anchor in a quiet spot… Late nights kill the quiet time… Quiet time is not just a helpful idea, it is absolutely necessary to spiritual growth.” (Great Quotes and Illustrations)
A W Tozer – God has not bowed to our nervous haste nor embraced the methods of our machine (Ed: Or technologically crazed) age. The man who would know God must give time to Him.
Robert Murray M’Cheyne – I ought to spend the best hours of the day in communion with God. It is my noblest and most fruitful employment, and is not to be thrust into any corner.
Martin Luther once said “I have so much to do today that I must spend at least three hours in prayer.”
Steven Cole – If you’re bored with worship or with serving the Lord, you’ve lost sight of the glory and majesty of God. Rituals and routines can be pretty boring, but the living God is definitely not boring! Whenever in the Bible someone got a glimpse of God, I assure you, they were not glancing at their watch to find out how much longer the service would last! I realize that not every worship service will give you a glimpse of God! Not every quiet time will be glorious. But if you’re consistently bored with worship, you probably need a fresh glimpse of the greatness of God. (Serving God the Leftovers: Malachi 1:6-14)
The psalmist writes…
Whom have I in heaven but Thee?
And besides Thee, I desire nothing on earth.
My flesh and my heart may fail, ”
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
For, behold, those who are far from Thee will perish;
Thou hast destroyed all those who are unfaithful to Thee.
But as for me, the nearness of God is my good;
I have made the Lord GOD my refuge,
That I may tell of all Thy works.
Ps 73:25-28–Spurgeon’s Note
Joseph Carroll writes…
The best time to worship is, of course, in the morning, in that time that we call a quiet time. But what is a quiet time to you? To me as a young Christian, in the early years, it was anything but a relaxed, meditative time. In fact, it was a time when I had to get through a certain study of the Word of God and certain prayers that I had to pray from my prayer list. Thus, my quiet time was not really a quiet time. It was a study time, a time for intercession, a time for petition. Then I was introduced to a small volume on prayer by A. T. Pierson that led to an intensive study of the teaching of our Lord on prayer… Our Lord’s first lesson on prayer is found in Matthew 6:6–note. He is saying, “The first thing you must do is get somewhere alone with Me,” for a closet is a closed place. A room can become a closet. It means aloneness. A forest can become a closet. The important thing is aloneness, in secrecy, being alone with your Father…
We enter into the holiest, into the very presence of God, by the blood of Jesus to commune with Him on the basis of a blood-sprinkled Mercy Seat (Heb 10:19-23–note). That Mercy Seat is Christ Himself (1Jn 2:2 where “propitiation” pictured in the “mercy seat” as in Heb 9:5–note), whose blood gives us access (1Ti 2:5). What did this do for my quiet time? It absolutely revolutionized it. Instead of looking at my watch and saying, “I have ten minutes to get through my prayer list,” I simply knelt down and quietly meditated upon the fact that I was in the presence of the Lamb of God and worshiped Him. My quiet time then became something for Him, not something for me and with the worship of my heart—the pouring out of my I heart to Him in worship—came the overpowering awareness of His presence. (How to Worship Jesus Christ)
Comment: Were you as convicted as I was when I read Carroll’s description of his quiet time as “something for Him, not something for me?” I confess that too often my times have been inward rather than outward and upward focused. The flesh is very clever, even (especially) when it comes to “religious” activity. We need to approach the Quiet Time with a Ro 12:1 (note) attitude of surrender to the Majesty and Glory of our Great God. Such an approach will surely change our inward to an outward, upward focus and we will walk away less conformed to the world and more transformed by His Spirit, our minds renewed and ready to test and approve the many options of the day as to whether they are the will of God. (Ro 12:2–note). We need the attitude of Richard Fuller who said “Count not that thou hast lived that day in which thou hast not lived with God!”
The renowned Bible teacher Howard Hendricks had this to say about time in the Word…
Dusty Bibles always lead to dirty lives.
You are either in the Word and the Word is conforming you to the image of Jesus Christ or you are in the world and the world is squeezing you into its mold.
The greatest tragedy in evangelicalism today is the many who are “under” the Word of God but they are not “in” the Word for themselves! Being “under” the Word of God ought to be a STIMULUS not a SUBSTITUTE for getting into the Word for one’s self.
The Bible still remains the most sold book in the world and also the most neglected one!
Hendricks went on to answer the question of why people don’t get into the Bible more often for themselves:
1). Not a priority
2). Not considered relevant to our “modern” generation. It’s archaic, out of date.
3). Don’t understand how to begin. People say “get into” the Word of God but don’t tell you “how” to go about “getting into” it for yourself.
4). I’m just a layman, not a professional… you can’t expect me to be able to study the Bible for myself. (Living By The Book Howard Hendricks, William Hendricks) – Highly Recommended; Living by the Book Video Series Workbook 7-part condensed version)
Related Resources: See inductive Bible study
REGULAR QUIET TIME
When Rob Morgan asked respected expositor Stephen Olford if he had any advice for someone entering ministry (by the way we are ALL in ministry of some type – 1Pe 4:10-11), he responded “Yes,” he said with the same dramatic delivery I head heard in the pulpit. “Yes,” he said, “I do. Never, never, never miss your Quiet Time.”
Rob Morgan goes on to say that “It was shortly after that when another influence came into my life. Through a mutual friend, I had the opportunity of spending several seasons of extended time with Ruth Bell Graham, and she described to us how important the Quiet Time was to her. One day, when I was asking her about it, she said, “Robert, do you have the notebook habit?” I didn’t know what the notebook habit was, so I said no, I didn’t think I did. So she told me about her little loose-leaf notebook made of leather. She said that she kept wearing it out, but she knew a leather crafter who kept repairing it for her. There she would record the thoughts God gave her each day as she studied her Bible. That very day I drove down to Ashville near her home and found a stationary shop and bought a notebook, and it’s been a lifesaver to me ever since. All these years, I’ve used a journal as part of my Quiet Time, and I owe it to that conversation in North Carolina.” (I Need Help With My Quiet Time)
Theodore Epp – SPIRIT-CONTROLLED OR CARNAL? BY THEODORE EPP (Devotional on Genesis 13:5-13) In considering the lives of Abraham and Lot, we see that Abraham’s life was symbolic of the Spirit-controlled Christian, whereas Lot’s life was symbolic of the carnal Christian. Unconsecrated Christians who are living according to the flesh are referred to as “carnal” in the Scriptures (see 1 Cor. 3:1,3). It is never recorded that Lot built an altar. He was not known for his communion with God. As a result, he got into trouble, just as any believer gets into trouble when he does not take time for daily fellowship with God. I am not referring to a time when the entire family reads the Bible and prays together. This, too, is extremely important, but I am referring particularly to your personal time alone with God. Perhaps you say you do not have enough time because you are too busy with life’s activities. Anything that takes you away from this time of fellowship with God is sin. Regardless of how much work you have to do, you can find some time to spend with God alone. As a believer, this is your number one prerogative. The Devil will always see to it that we have little or no time to fellowship with God. But we can–and we must–make time for such fellowship. We must put first things first. “Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16). (Back to the Bible)
Andrew Bonar a great man of prayer, had three rules related to our discussion of Quiet Time…
1. Not to speak to any man before speaking to Jesus;
2. Not to do anything with his hands until he had been on his knees;
3. Not to read the papers until he had read his Bible.
A QUIET PLACE WITH A QUIET HEART
FOR A QUIET TIME
Jon Courson writes that…
When I get up before the beginning of the day to find a quiet place with a quiet heart for a quiet time, I find the Lord instructs me about what I should do with my discretionary time. We waste so much time trying to figure out what we should do next. And when we don’t get to it, we feel condemned about it. In reality, the decision ought to have been made early in the day. I’m not saying there’s no room for flexibility, but for the most part, I have discovered that the real key is to say early in the day, “Lord, what do You want me to do? By Your grace and with Your help, that’s what I’ll do.”
And as I do those things, as I come to the end of the day, I realize the sun has indeed stood still. Therefore, like Jesus, I’m able to say, “Father, I’ve finished the work You gave me to do.” The tensions disappear; the burdens dissipate; and I find myself living a life of serenity and tranquility to a much greater degree.
What God gives us to do is doable. Do what our Greater than Joshua did day by day. Before the day begins, find a quiet place and have a quiet time with a quiet heart. Let God direct your day. You will have less decision to make and you’ll be victorious in a whole new way…
It was in the wilderness that God gave manna to His people. And it is in our wilderness here on earth that He daily provides the Bread of His Word, the Bread of Himself. If I don’t feast on the Scriptures daily, I become disillusioned, disoriented, confused. I get mixed up on the days I don’t get away with the Lord in a quiet spot at a quiet time and enjoy the truths and promises of His Word. I think about fleshpots and the bread of Egypt; I become restless and troubled. But when I take in the Word, I find what Jeremiah said to be oh, so true. I find it to indeed be the very joy and rejoicing of my heart (Jeremiah 15:16). (Jon Courson’s Application Commentary)
Max Lucado – Some of us have tried to have a daily quiet time and have not been successful. Others of us have a hard time concentrating. And all of us are busy. So rather than spend time with God, listening for his voice, we’ll let others spend time with him and then benefit from their experience. Let them tell us what God is saying. After all, isn’t that why we pay preachers? …If that is your approach, if your spiritual experiences are secondhand and not firsthand, I’d like to challenge you with this thought: Do you do that with others parts of your life? …You don’t do that with vacations… You don’t do that with romance…You don’t let someone eat on your behalf, do you? [There are] certain things no one can do for you. And one of those is spending time with God. (Grace for the moment: inspirational thoughts for each day of the year)
Finding Rest – He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. —Psalm 23:3
According to a survey conducted by an insurance company, one of every six workers in the US feels too busy to take all the vacation days he or she has earned. Even though studies show that a week’s holiday each year can dramatically reduce stress and the risk of heart attack, many people just keep working.
A vacation can be good for body and soul. But many people don’t have the luxury of time away from work and daily responsibilities. What can we do when we must remain in demanding circumstances?
Psalm 23 paints a beautiful word picture of a caring shepherd, secure sheep, and a tranquil scene of quiet meadows and still waters. But it is the Lord, our shepherd, who gives rest, not the green grass or the flowing stream. “He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake” (v.3).
Rest is a place of peace that our spirits find in God. Neither the presence of those who oppose us nor the dark valley of death can keep us from what hymnwriter Cleland McAfee called “a place of quiet rest, near to the heart of God.” Through prayer and meditation on His Word, we can commune with Him. In the Lord’s presence we can experience the rest and renewal we so desperately need.
There is a place of comfort sweet,
Near to the heart of God,
A place where we our Savior meet,
Near to the heart of God. —McAfee
Spending quiet time with God will bring quiet rest from God. David McCasland
Quiet Times – Be still, and know that I am God. —Psalm 46:10
My friend Mary told me that she had always valued the time she spent fishing with her dad. Not being a fishing aficionado myself, I was curious about what she found so enjoyable. “I just like being with my dad,” she said. “So you just fish and talk?” I asked her. “Oh, no, we don’t really talk,” she said. “We just fish.”
It wasn’t the conversation—it was the company.
Did you ever think about how much time we spend talking? In what we like to call our “quiet time” with God, we usually fill in any silence with our prayers. But do we ever practice just being “still”?
God said, “Be still, and know that I am God” (Ps. 46:10). When Jesus noticed that the disciples were so busy that they didn’t even have time to eat, He told them, “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while” (Mark 6:31). When we leave the distractions of life behind, we can more easily rest and refocus on God.
Are you allowing quiet moments alone with God to be a part of your life? Do you desire for Him to restore your soul? (Ps. 23:1-3). Let Him teach you how to “be still.” And listen when Jesus invites you: “Come aside with Me and rest a while.”
The quiet times we spend with God In solitude and prayer Will strengthen and restore our souls And help us sense His care. —Sper
Quiet times with God store up power for future emergencies. Cindy Hess Kasper
Quiet Time With God – He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. —Psalm 23:2
The word connected captures our contemporary experience of life. Many people rarely go anywhere without a cell phone, iPod, laptop, or pager. We have become accessible 24 hours a day. Some psychologists see this craving to stay connected as an addiction. Yet a growing number of people are deliberately limiting their use of technology. Being a “tech-no” is their way of preserving times of quiet, while limiting the flow of information into their lives.
Many followers of Christ find that a daily time of Bible reading and prayer is essential in their walk of faith. This “quiet time” is a disconnection from external distractions in order to connect with God. The “green pastures” and “still waters” of Psalm 23:2 are more than an idyllic country scene. They speak of our communion with God whereby He restores our souls and leads us in His paths (v.3).
All of us can make time to meet with God, but do we? In Robert Foster’s booklet “7 Minutes With God,” he suggests a way to begin: Start with a brief prayer for guidance, then read the Bible for a few minutes, and close with a short time of prayer that includes adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication for others. It’s vital to take time today to connect with the Lord, who is our life.
We need to set aside the time To read God’s Word and pray, And listen for the Spirit’s voice To guide us in His way. —Sper
Time spent with God is time well spent. David McCasland
If you are too busy for God, you are too busy.
One day I was in trouble and oppressed about many things. It was one of those days when everything seems to go wrong. I was trying to get my Quiet time but was constantly interrupted. Suddenly these words came—I could hardly believe they were in the Bible, they seemed so new to my needy heart—“Grace to help in time of need.” I found them and read them and marked them with joy, and in that moment, the moment of their coming, I was renewed in strength. —Amy Carmichael
Selah – Is it a Musical Rest Note? That is the opinion of many. And this suggestion fits in splendidly with many Psalms, such as Psalm 7:5, and others. There is need in our lives for frequent rest pauses. The daily quiet time is such an one. The blessed Lord’s Day is another. Whilst there is no music in a rest, the making of music is in them, and without them there could not be much harmony. Is that why there seems discord in so many lives?
“This I say then, Walk in the Spirit…” (Gal. 5:16)
Exactly what is involved in walking in the Spirit? Actually it is not as complicated and impractical as some tend to think. Here is what a day’s walk in the Spirit would be like!
First, you start the day in prayer. You confess all known sin in your life; this makes you a clean vessel and therefore usable by God. You spend time in praise and worship; this gets your soul in tune. You turn over control of your life to Him; this makes you available for the Lord to live His life through you. In this act of rededication, you “cease from needless scheming and leave the ruling of your life to Him.”
Next, you spend time feeding on the Word of God. Here you get a general outline of God’s will for your life. And you may also receive some specific indication of His will for you in your present circumstances.
After your quiet time, you do the things that your hands find to do. Ordinarily they will be the prosaic, routine, mundane duties of life. This is where a lot of people have wrong ideas. They think that walking in the Spirit is foreign to the world of aprons and overalls. Actually it is mostly composed of faithfulness and diligence in one’s daily work.
Throughout the day you confess and forsake sin as soon as you are aware of it. You praise the Lord as His blessings come to mind. You obey every impulse to do good, and refuse every temptation to evil.
Then you take what comes to you during the day as being His will for you. Interruptions become opportunities to minister. Disappointments become His appointments. Phone calls, letters, visitors are seen as part of His plan.
Harold Wildish quoted the following summary in one of his books:
“As you leave the whole burden of your sin, and rest upon the finished work of Christ, so leave the whole burden of your life and service, and rest upon the present inworking of the Holy Spirit.”
“Give yourself up, morning by morning, to be led by the Holy Spirit and go forth praising and at rest, leaving Him to manage you and your day. Cultivate the habit all through the day, of joyfully depending upon and obeying Him, expecting Him to guide, to enlighten, to reprove, to teach, to use, and to do in and with you what He wills. Count upon His working as a fact, altogether apart from sight or feeling. Only let us believe in and obey the Holy Spirit as the Ruler of our lives, and cease from the burden of trying to manage ourselves; then shall the fruit of the Spirit appear in us, as He wills, to the glory of God.” – William MacDonald – Truths to Live By (Devotional)
And then there is the quiet hour. At Wellesley College, in Massachusetts–a young ladies’ college–there are twenty minutes reserved in every day for a quiet hour. During that twenty minutes every young lady is expected to be in her room; there is to be no passing through the halls; there is to be no life of conversation, no laughter. What the young lady does in her room is between herself, her own conscience, and her God. She may read, she may study, she may pray, she may think, she may do what she likes; only she must not disturb other pupils in other rooms. For twenty minutes a quiet time. We ought to have our quiet hour; at least, we will say, our quiet quarter of an hour. (Lyman Abbott, D. D.)
Our ability to trounce temptation is in direct proportion to our fellowship with Christ. If we’re walking with the Lord each day, having our daily quiet time, memorizing His Word, praying without ceasing, and enjoying unbroken fellowship with Christ—if we are abiding in Him—temptation will lose much of its power. There’s no temptation to which we’re immune; but there’s no temptation over which Jesus isn’t victorious. So when the devil knocks, let Christ open the door. – Robert Morgan
James Smith – COMMUNE. “Commune with your heart upon your bed, and be still.” Have a quiet time with your own heart. Examine yourself. “If we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged” (1 Cor. 11:31). The heart is deceitful. Commune with it, find out its motives, search into its desires, and cross-question its purposes. In the solitude of the bed-chamber, and in the stillness of the night, there is a favourable opportunity of finding out the true character of our own hearts. “Prove your own selves” (2 Cor. 13:5). The bed and the heart are fields in which many startling discoveries have been made, many great battles fought, and many victories lost and won—bloodless battles, whose issues reach away into the depths of eternity.
Without – One of the castaways on the TV phenomenon “Survivor” was a 24-year-old youth ministries major from Seattle Pacific University. With 15 others marooned on a deserted island in Malaysia, Dirk Been wanted to be the lone survivor and winner of one million dollars. The “lone” part was the problem. When advised that each contestant could bring one “luxury” item to the remote island in the South China Sea, Dirk took his Bible. “I couldn’t imagine not having my quiet time with the Lord for a single day, let alone 39,” he said. Being forced to eat beetle larvae was not the most difficult ordeal Dirk faced. The hardest aspect of being stranded was having no one around who shared his beliefs. “The other members of the Tagi and Pagong tribes couldn’t understand where I was coming from.” Confronted by the rising tensions of tribal politics, and insufficient food and sleep, he said, “I didn’t have someone I could really open up to and pray with. The spiritual isolation was tortuous.” But Dirk remembered the support of family and friends at home praying for him each day. The day before he left for the island, about 70 members of his church in Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin, gathered around him to pray for his health and safety. “It was awesome!” Dirk recalls. “And it didn’t end there. Even though I was alone and lonely as the sole Christian on the island, I felt the presence of the Lord in incredible ways.”
Sip and Savor – I reached into the cupboard for a mug, filled it with water, then popped it into the microwave. After the water was piping hot, I mixed in a packet of hot chocolate and carried it up to the room where I have my quiet time. I sat on the couch with my Bible and sipped the hot liquid, savoring each swallow. Then it dawned on me that what I was doing with my morning hot chocolate was exactly what I should do with the Word of God. As I drank my hot chocolate, it becomes a part of me. So should I be with God’s word. I should sip and savor, be warmed and fed. —Carole Mayhall,
Postmodern Faith – What we have left is a Christianity of tips and techniques: three steps for a good quiet time; four habits for effective marriage communication. It does not take your breath away, and if Christianity does not take your breath away, something else will…. When you live in a Christianity of tips and techniques, you trivialize sin. Sin is something external. It’s running stop signs. It’s drinking too much. It’s smoking. But God calls sin adultery of the heart. It is what you give your heart away to other than the heart of God.
I have found if I don’t have my quiet time each morning, I tend to lose my temper over insignificant things. Recently, my son, Andrew, reminded me of the need for daily prayer. He had accidentally spilled his drink and I went into a tirade. Andrew ended my harsh words when he quietly asked, “Mom, did you forget to ask Jesus to help you be nice today?” —Cathy Fussell,
Robert Morgan – During some seasons of the year, our sheep drank little or nothing from their trough. We learned that if the climate is right, sheep can go for a long time without actually drinking water because of the heavy dews. When the grass is sopping wet, the sheep take in their needed moisture with their nutrition. It’s a wonderful picture of the Spirit-drenched Scriptures. In the early morning we graze in the sweet pasturage of the Word of God covered with the watery dew of the Holy Spirit. What an apt image of the Christian’s daily quiet time.
Something I Should Know? – He went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Matthew 14:23
During a concert, singer-songwriter David Wilcox responded to a question from the audience about how he composes songs. He said there are three aspects to his process: a quiet room, an empty page, and the question, “Is there something I should know?” It struck me as a wonderful approach for followers of Jesus as we seek the Lord’s plan for our lives each day.
Throughout Jesus’s public ministry, He took time to be alone in prayer. After feeding 5,000 people with five loaves of bread and two fish, He sent His disciples to cross the Sea of Galilee by boat while He dismissed the crowd (Matt. 14:22). “After [Jesus] had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone” (v. 23).
Lord, speak to me by Your Spirit and Your written Word
If the Lord Jesus saw the need to be alone with His Father, how much more do we need a daily time of solitude to pour out our hearts to God, ponder His Word, and prepare to follow His directions. A quiet room—anywhere we can focus on the Lord without distractions. An empty page—a receptive mind, a blank sheet of paper, a willingness to listen. Is there something I should know? “Lord, speak to me by Your Spirit, Your written Word, and the assurance of Your direction.”
From that quiet hillside, Jesus descended into a violent storm, knowing exactly what His Father wanted Him to do (vv. 24–27).
Taking time to be with God is the best place to find strength. – David MacCasland
The alarm clock goes off. Too early, it seems. But you have a long day ahead. You have work to do, appointments to keep, people to care for, or all this and more. Well, you are not alone. Each day, many of us rush from one matter to another. As someone has wittily suggested, “That’s why we are called the human race.”
The Source Of Impact – When they saw the boldness of Peter and John . . . they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus. —Acts 4:13
The Nobel Prize is awarded annually to people in a variety of fields who have made an extraordinary impact. Leaders in economics, physics, literature, medicine, and peace are recognized for their contributions. When a person is acknowledged with a Nobel Prize, it is the ultimate affirmation of years of training, effort, education, and sacrifice in pursuit of excellence—investments that are the source of their impact.
We might wish to make a significant impact spiritually in our world, but we wonder, What is the source of spiritual and ministry influence? If we want to make an extraordinary impact for Jesus Christ, what must we invest in?
Christ’s first followers were impacted from spending time with Jesus. Israel’s religious leaders recognized this. Acts 4:13 tells us, “When [the leaders] saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.”
Training and education are valuable in the service of the Savior, but nothing can replace time spent in His presence. He is the source of whatever spiritual impact we might have on our world. How much time have you been spending with Jesus—your source of impact?
In the secret of His presence How my soul delights to hide! Oh, how precious are the lessons Which I learn at Jesus’ side! —Goreh
To master this life, spend time with the Master. Bill Crowder
Defragment – Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you. —Psalm 55:22
Every so often, my computer becomes sluggish. Frequent use of certain programs and documents causes pieces of information to become scattered, requiring my computer to search for the pieces before I can use them. To fix it, I need to run a program that retrieves the pieces and groups them together where they are easily accessible. This process is called “defragmentation.”
Like my computer, my life gets fragmented. One situation tugs on my emotions while I’m trying to concentrate on something else. Demands from every direction bombard me. I want to accomplish everything that needs to be done, but my mind won’t stop and my body won’t start. Soon I begin to feel weary and useless.
Recently I attended a retreat where one of the handouts included a prayer with words that expressed how I felt: “Lord, I am scattered, restless, and only half here.”
King David also went through such times (Ps. 55:2). In prayer, David presented his needs to God morning, noon, and evening, confident that he would be heard (v.17).
Prayer can help to defragment our lives. When we cast our cares on the Lord, He will show us what we need to do and what only He can do.
O Lord, we bring our restless hearts To You in fervent prayer; Now help us wait expectantly While resting in Your care. —Sper
We need prayer the most when we have the least time to pray. y Julie Ackerman Link
Awake With His Word – I rise before the dawning of the morning, and cry for help; I hope in Your Word. —Psalm 119:147
My eyes fluttered open, but the room was still dark. It was too early to get up. I sighed, adjusted my pillow, and hoped for sleep. Unfortunately, a lengthy to-do list bombarded my brain. I needed to buy groceries, deliver a meal to a friend, answer e-mail, schedule a doctor’s appointment . . . .
If you’ve ever been overwhelmed and worried, you know how it feels to stare at the ceiling when you should be sleeping. The writer of Psalm 119 was no stranger to this experience. He wrote, “I rise before the dawning of the morning, and cry for help; I hope in Your Word” (v.147).
God’s Word delivered special comfort during the psalmist’s sleepless nights. Although he couldn’t make his problems disappear, he said, “My eyes are awake through the night watches, that I may meditate on Your Word” (v.148). At night he reviewed God’s Word over and over in his mind. He concentrated on Scripture rather than his concerns. This practice allowed him to proclaim, “Oh, how I love Your law!” (v.97).
If your soul is parched and thirsty
And you feel weighed down by care,
Go to God’s Word for refreshment—
You’ll find strength and comfort there. —Sper
Only God can still our hearts and quiet our minds.
Slack Tide – He said to them, “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” —Mark 6:31
I find it fascinating to consider the pull of the moon on our great oceans, which creates high and low tides. At the changing of the tide, there is a brief period of time called “slack tide” when the water is neither high nor low. According to scientists, this is when the water is “unstressed.” It is a quiet pause before the surging of tidal flow begins again.
Sometimes in our busy schedules we may feel pulled in different directions by competing responsibilities. In Jesus’ ministry, we see how He understood the demands made on His followers and the need for rest. Returning from a traveling ministry in teams of two, the Twelve reported the wonderful things that God had done through them (Mark 6:7-13,30). But Jesus responded: “‘Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.’ For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat. So they departed to a deserted place in the boat by themselves” (vv.31-32).
What responsibilities are pulling on you today? It is certainly acceptable to plan some rest and relaxation time to rejuvenate your body and soul for more fruitful service to others. Jesus advised it, and we all need it. He will meet you there. Dennis Fisher
My Shepherd is the Lord
Who knows my needs, and I am blest;
By quiet streams, in pastures green,
He leads and makes me rest. —Psalter
Spending quiet time with God can bring quiet rest from God.
Time For A Change – There he built an altar to the Lord and called on the name of the Lord. —Genesis 12:8
Many believers long to spend daily time with God, praying and reading His Word. Ironically, they are often distracted by a busy schedule. Frustrations mount as busyness seems to crowd out an opening in their schedule.
Oswald Chambers has wisely commented on the transforming power of even 5 minutes in the presence of the Lord. Indeed, even a short time spent in intercession and the Word still has great value: “It is not the thing on which we spend the most time that moulds us, but the thing that exerts the greatest power. Five minutes with God and His Word is worth more than all the rest of the day.” Now, it may sound like Chambers has made an overstatement. Yet powerful results can come from even a short time of prayer, because God is powerful.
Sometimes our days are filled with busy demands that crowd out time spent in listening to and responding to God. But no matter where we are, any time taken to build our own spiritual “altar” to the Lord as Abram did (Gen. 12:8) opens the door to His transforming power. If you are having trouble establishing a time with God, you could start with just 5 minutes and see where it leads. Our God longs to meet with us and show His power in our lives. – Dennis Fisher
Lord, it’s amazing to me that You, Almighty God,
would want to spend time with me! Thank You.
I stumble with my words at times but am in awe of
You. Thank You that You want to hear from me.
Talk with God—He wants to hear your heart.
Check The Oil – My voice You shall hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning I will direct it to You, and I will look up. —Psalm 5:3
When I helped our daughters learn to drive, I included a little instruction on basic auto maintenance. We visited a local service station where they learned to check the oil every time they put fuel in the car. Today, years later, they often remind me of my six-word slogan, “Oil is cheap; engines are expensive.” Adding a quart of oil is nothing compared to replacing an engine.
Maintenance is also important in our spiritual lives. Taking time each day to read the Bible, pray, and listen to God is a key element in avoiding a breakdown. In Psalm 5, David wrote, “My voice You shall hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning I will direct it to You” (v.3). In the following verses he poured out his heart in praise, thanksgiving, and requests to God.
Many people find it essential to begin every day with the Lord. Before checking email, catching the news, or eating breakfast, they find some quiet moments alone to read a portion of God’s Word, praise Him for His greatness, thank Him for His love, and seek His guidance. Others spend time reading and praying at different times of the day.
It’s not magic—it’s maintenance, as we ask the Lord each day to fill our hearts with His presence on the road of life. – David McClasland
Give me a strong desire, O Lord, to look into Your
Word each day. Help me hide it in my heart so that
I might not stray from Your truth. Feed me and
teach me about Yourself and Your will for me.
The roots of stability come from being grounded in God’s Word and prayer.
World’s Fastest Walkers – According to a study measuring the pace of life of cities in 32 countries, people in the biggest hurry live here in Singapore. We walk 60 feet in 10:55 seconds, compared to 12:00 seconds for New Yorkers and 31:60 seconds for those living in the African city of Blantyre, Malawi. But regardless of where you live, the study shows that walking speeds have increased by an average of 10 percent in the past 20 years. And if walking speed is any indicator for the pace of life, we are certainly much busier than before. Are you caught up in the frenzy of a busy life? Pause and consider Jesus’ words to Martha: “You are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:41-42). Notice Jesus’ gentle words. He didn’t rebuke Martha for wanting to be a good host but rather reminded her about her priorities. Martha had allowed the necessary to get out of proportion. And, in the process, she was so busy doing good that she didn’t take time to sit at Jesus’ feet. In our drive to be productive for the Lord, let’s remember the one thing worth being concerned about—enjoying time with our Savior. Jesus longs for our fellowship even more than we long for His.
Crumbs of Time – A friend was coming to town. He is a very busy man and his schedule was tight, but after a difficult day in important meetings, he managed to see my family for half an hour for a quick and late dinner. We enjoyed his visit, but I remember looking at my plate and thinking, “We only got the crumbs of his time.” Then I remembered how many times God gets the crumbs of my time—sometimes just the last minutes before I fall asleep. Daniel was a busy man. He held a high government position in the ancient kingdom of Babylon, and I’m sure he had a full schedule. However, he had developed the habit of spending time with God—praying three times a day, praising God, and thanking Him. This routine helped him develop a strong faith that did not waver when he faced persecution (Dan. 6). God desires a relationship with us. In the morning we can invite Him into our day, and then we can praise Him and ask Him for His help throughout the day. At other times we can treasure some time alone with Him and reflect on His faithfulness. As we spend time with God in prayer and in His Word, we grow in our relationship with Him and learn to become more and more like Him. As time with God becomes a priority, we enjoy His company more and more. Keila Ochoa
In The Morning
In the morning . . . He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed. —Mark 1:35
Are you so rushed during the day that you find it hard to take even a few minutes to spend with God? Many people set aside time in the early morning before they get caught up in the hectic pace of the day.
I read about a very busy man who somehow manages to find time for giving the day a spiritual jump-start. He’s Dr. Ben Carson, chief of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, a position he assumed in 1984 when he was only 33 years old.
Here’s Carson’s testimony about the value of putting spiritual things first: “I’ve found that having a morning ritual—meditation or some quiet reading time—can set the tone for the whole day. Every morning, I spend a half-hour reading the Bible, especially the book of Proverbs. There’s so much wisdom there. During the day, if I encounter a frustrating situation, I think back to one of the verses that I read that morning.”
Jesus faced busy days filled with demanding crowds of people. In Mark’s gospel we read, “In the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed” (1:35).
Do you take time to read God’s Word and pray? Try it in the morning. It can transform your day. Vernon C. Grounds
In the stillness of the morning,
Before a busy day of care,
How sweet to be alone with God
Through His holy Word and prayer. —Anderson
Let Christ be first in your thoughts in the morning, and last in your thoughts at night.
Oswald Chambers – Morning Appointments with God – Unless you learn to open the door of your life completely and let God in from your first waking moment of each new day, you will be working on the wrong level throughout the day. But if you will swing the door of your life fully open and “pray to your Father who is in the secret place,” every public thing in your life will be marked with the lasting imprint of the presence of God. – Oswald Chambers in My Utmost for His Highest, entry for August 23.
Ray Pritchard – Twenty-five years ago I spent a summer at Word of Life Island in Schroon Lake, New York. While I was there as a counselor I was exposed for the first time to a concept called “the quiet time.” A quiet time means that you set aside a few minutes each day to read the Bible and pray. The people at Word of Life were so committed to it that they actually set aside 30 minutes every day when the whole camp stopped and we all went off and had a quiet time. We even had a little diary that we filled in with our thoughts and prayers. Some people would call it devotions, others the morning watch. It makes no difference. In the years since then I have been to Christian college, four years of Dallas Seminary, further study at three other seminaries, and completed 18 years as a pastor. I have studied and read hundreds of books on the spiritual life. When all is said and done, I know of nothing more important for maintaining a warm relationship with Jesus Christ than this—a consistent, regular, quality quiet time. I also testify that it has not gotten easier over the years. In many ways it has gotten harder. It almost always does because we tend to substitute our knowledge and Christian activity for this simple discipline of a daily time with God and his Word. I commend to all of you the practice of a daily quiet time. How can we say we believe the Bible and accept its authority if we do not daily spend time in the Word? If you are an elder or a deacon or a deaconess, if you attend a Christian college or if you work for a Christian organization, if you have been a Christian for many years, if you teach Sunday School or serve the Lord in some way, I exhort you not to rationalize that your knowledge makes a quiet time unnecessary. New Christians rarely have to be convinced about this. It’s experienced Christians who tend to drift away. (What Does It Mean to Believe the Bible – Keep Believing Ministries)
Stephen Olford on the quiet time – Daily communion with God is more than a commendable practice; it is absolutely vital to a life of sustained spirituality and maturity. It is the barometer of the Christian life. Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4). Read that without the negative comparison, and you will see what man is to live on. “Man shall live by every spoken word that comes from God.” That is not the Bible memorized, nor the Bible on your bookshelf, nor in your study. It is the word that God speaks to your soul in the quiet place of prayer and meditation. That is how man lives. You can be doctrinally correct and yet be spiritually dead. The thing that maintains life is the living Word of God spoken to your soul every day. The quiet time is vital to spiritual health, whether you are newly converted or a mature Christian (see 1 Pet. 2:2; Heb. 5:14).
The quiet time is vital for spiritual cleansing. You are initially cleansed by the precious blood, and again and again you have to return to the cross for restoration. But the day-to-day cleansing is from the laver of the Word (see Ps. 119:9; John 15:3; 17:17).
The quiet time is also vital to spiritual counsel. You can never know the true principles that determine a life of holiness and righteousness without letting “the word of Christ dwell in you richly” (see Col. 3:16; Ps. 73:24).
The quiet time is likewise vital in equipping you for spiritual conflict. The supreme example is our Lord Jesus Christ when He encountered Satan in the wilderness. For forty days and nights He had fed His soul on the book of Deuteronomy, and He could therefore make His sword thrusts from a personal experience of the written Word. Paul later exhorted the Ephesian believers to “take… the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Eph. 6:17). Important as these things are, the greatest incentive to having a daily quiet time is not your need—great as that is—but the fact that God wants to meet with you. Therefore, it is not merely a duty; it is a privilege and an honor. God in Christ has a definite time and place for meeting with you. His heart is saddened when you fail to keep the appointment. He longs, as He did with the woman of Samaria, to drink afresh of your love, devotion, and worship (see John 4:23, 24).
Establishing your quiet time is never easy. I confess quite frankly that it is harder for me to have my quiet time now than it was when I was first converted. The reason for this is that what counts costs.
You will find that the most vicious attacks of the adversary will be directed toward robbing you of that daily time with your Lord. And you will have to guard it fearlessly if you are to keep it. Whatever your sphere of service—as a pastor, Sunday school teacher, missionary, or Christian in the office or home—I give you little hope of living victoriously unless you are successful in maintaining your quiet time.
With the reasons for the daily quiet time, there are some practical and specific requirements. First, you will need a definite place and time. Consider the example of the Lord Jesus (see Mark 1:35). Next, have a good-sized Bible, one with print you do not have to strain to read. Don’t get in the habit of waking up in the morning, rolling over in bed, and with sleepy eyes trying to read a Bible with small print. Don’t stay in bed at all! Get up and wash your face or take a shower so that you are fully alert.
Another essential is a prayer list or prayer cycle—something to keep reminding you to emphasize a different request for each day. My wife and I use one that works this way:
Monday: M is for missionaries.
Tuesday: T is for thanksgiving for wonderful answers to prayer.
Wednesday: W is for workers.
Thursday: T is for tasks—our job at the church or the ministry God has given us.
Friday: F is for our families.
Saturday: S is for the saints—especially young Christians, that Christ might be formed in them.
Sunday: S is for sinners—in particular, the gospel services for which we are responsible.
Then you should have a quiet-time notebook or journal. I believe that the thoughts of every quiet time should be written down, even if only in brief sentence form. God gives you something there you’ll never find in a commentary or anywhere else, and the thoughts are worth keeping.
Along with these tangible items of equipment, be sure to come to your quiet time with a spirit of expectancy. I believe such expectancy has at least three contributing factors. First of all, there is the physical factor. You cannot go to bed at all hours of the night and expect to get up fresh in the morning. Going to bed when you ought takes discipline, and some of these social occasions that you enjoy may be great, but they are not as precious or vital as your quiet time.
There’s a moral factor, too, in this matter of expectancy. “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear” (Ps. 66:18). When there is something in your life that is out of adjustment with the will of God, don’t expect to have fellowship with Him. If you have something against another person, leave your gift at the altar and first be reconciled to that individual (Matt. 5:23-24).
Then there is a spiritual factor involved in this matter of expectancy. John 7:17 states, “If anyone wants to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine”; that is, he shall know the teaching. Revelation and obedience are like parallel lines: as you obey, so He reveals; when you cease to obey, He ceases to reveal. My experience has been this: when I find it impossible to “get through” to God, when the Bible has become a dead book to me, usually it is because there was an issue of obedience on which I had not followed through. Therefore, before proceeding with my quiet time, I have to get right with God. (Not I But Christ)
Selwyn Hughes – Organizing a Quiet Time – I wait and put my hope in His word. I wait for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning.—Psalm 130:5-6 – Someone has described the morning quiet time as “turning the dial until we tune in to God’s wavelength—then we get the message.” But how do we gain the best results from our quiet time? First, decide on the amount of time you want to invest in waiting before God. Next, take your Bible and read a portion slowly. Let it soak in. If some words or verses strike you, focus on them in meditation. They will yield up new meanings to you. Write these down. After the reading, let go, relax, and say to Him: “Father, have You anything to say to me?” Learn to listen. All those who hear God’s voice on a regular basis say that it is something they have had to develop over time and by experience. They pause, they wait, and they learn after a while to disentangle their own thoughts from what God is saying. Then speak to God in prayer. And finally, thank Him for the answer. He always answers—whether it is “yes,” “no,” or “wait.” His “no” is just as much an answer as His “yes”—sometimes even a better answer. (ILLUSTRATION) Not far from my home is the River Thames. Sometimes I walk along the riverbank and watch small boats entering the locks from the adjoining rivers. To get into the Thames, these boats must enter the lock and wait there to be lifted up to a higher level. Our quiet time does that. It shuts us in with God. But then infinite resources begin to bubble up from below, and we are lifted silently and without strain onto a higher level. The lifting is the result of being shut in with God. Prayer – O Father, help me resolve to spend a quiet time with You every day. May my quiet time at this moment be the open door through which I glide out onto a higher level of life. In Jesus’ name. Amen. (Every Day with Jesus)
Henry Blackaby writes…
God created the first man and woman, Adam and Eve, for a love relationship with Himself. After Adam and Eve had sinned, they heard God walking in the garden in the cool of the day. They hid from Him because of their fear and shame. Try to sense the heart of a loving Father when He asked that wonderful love question, “Where are you?” (Ge 3:9). God knew that something had happened to the love relationship.
When your relationship is as it ought to be, you will always be in fellowship with the Father. You will be there in His presence expecting and anticipating the relationship of love. When Adam and Eve were not there, something had gone wrong.
Early each day, I have an appointment with God. I often wonder what happens when the God who loves me comes to meet me there. How does He feel when He asks, “Henry, where are you?” and I am just not there. I have found this to be true in my own walk with the Lord: I keep that time alone with God, not in order to have a relationship, but because I have a relationship. Because I have that love relationship with the Lord, I want to meet with Him in my quiet time. I want to spend the time there. Time with Him enriches and deepens the relationship I have with Him.
I hear many persons say, “I really struggle trying to have that time alone with God.” If that is a problem you face, let me suggest something to you. Make the priority in your life to come to love Him with all your heart. That will solve most of your problem with your quiet time. Your quiet time is because you know Him and, therefore, love Him, not only in order to learn about Him. The apostle Paul said it was “the love of Christ” that compelled or constrained him (2Cor 5:14).
Suppose you were dating a person you loved and intended to marry. What is the primary reason you date (spend time with) that person? Is it because you want to find out about his likes and dislikes or family background? Is it because you want to find out about her knowledge and education? Or is it because you love him and enjoy being with him?
When two people love each other and plan to marry, they are concerned about finding out information about each other. That is not, however, the primary reason why they date. They spend time together because they love each other and enjoy being together.
Similarly, you will learn much about God, His Word, His purposes, and His ways as you spend time with Him. You will come to know Him during the day as you experience Him working in and through your life. Learning about Him is not, however, why you should want to have a quiet time with Him. The more you know Him and experience His love, the more you will love Him. Then you will want that time alone with Him because you do love Him and enjoy His fellowship. (Experiencing God Knowing and Doing the Will of God, Revised and Expanded Henry Blackaby, Richard Blackaby, Claude King)
Wayne Barber speaks of the value of a quiet time in our ongoing battle with the lusts of our fallen flesh…
You had better learn this: don’t focus on the sin! Focus on the Savior who has conquered the sin! And learn! Train your senses to line up under Him. Accommodate yourself to Him. Put yourself where you can be influenced by the Spirit and not influenced by the flesh. This is why it’s so important to have a quiet time. Quiet times have been used and abused over the years.
A quiet time is not to make you spiritual.
It just helps you start your day by putting yourself in the right place. Then all day long you begin to fellowship with Him. That’s all it is! It’s just a discipline. It’s not going to make you more spiritual at all. What prayer is and what Scriptures are and what praise is all about is the atmosphere we put ourselves in so that we can be drawn closer and so that the Spirit now can be accommodated instead of accommodating my flesh! I’ve learned now to accommodate my spirit. That’s what we are trying to say. I’m learning, too. (Romans 612-14)
Steven Cole asks…
Do you often make time to spend with the Lord? It’s sure easy for that first love to cool off, and time between you and the Lord gets squeezed out with other things. Or, it becomes your duty to have a quiet time, so you get out your Bible, grimace, and swallow a chapter a day to keep the devil away. But there wasn’t any love in it (cf Rev 2:4, 1Jn 4:10, Ge 3:8-9). You weren’t seeking to know Christ in a more intimate way. You weren’t opening your heart to Him, so that He could confront you and cleanse you and make you more like Himself. There’s no closeness, no intimacy. (Knowing Christ and Being Like Him)
Talk with us, Lord, Thyself reveal,
While here on earth we rove;
Speak to our hearts, and let us feel
The kindling of Thy love.
Ron Mattoon tells a story that relates to having a quiet heart during our Quiet Time…
In the book “Directions,” James Hamilton writes: Before refrigerators, people used icehouses to preserve their food. Icehouses had thick walls, no windows, and a tightly fitted door. In winter, when streams and lakes were frozen into silver-gray pathways, large blocks of ice were cut, hauled to the icehouses, and covered with golden sawdust. Often the ice would last well into the summer. One man lost a valuable watch in this sawdust while working in an icehouse. He searched diligently for it carefully raking through the sawdust, but didn’t find it. His fellow workers also looked, but their efforts, too, proved futile.
A small boy who heard about the fruitless search slipped into the icehouse during the noon hour and soon emerged with the watch. Amazed, the men asked him how he found it. The boy replied, “I closed the door, laid down in the sawdust, and kept very still. Soon I heard the watch ticking.”
Beloved, often the question is not whether God is speaking but whether we are being still enough, and quiet enough, to hear what He has to say to us. Be still and get God’s direction for your life! (Ps 4:4, Ps 63:6) (Luke Commentary)
The knowledge of the book is not as important…
as knowing the Author of the book.
Skip Heitzig – Devotional Bible study is the process of reflecting on a few verses or a passage of Scripture and making a personal application. Many Christians refer to this worshipful way of reflecting on the Scriptures as “having a quiet time” or “having devotions.” Although devotional study is not primarily an academic approach to the Bible, it doesn’t mean that we bypass observation or interpretation on our way to application. Instead, we are simply endeavoring to encounter God on the holy ground of His word by “stepping through the veil” into His presence to commune with Him. Devotional study is a peaceful and reassuring way to begin or end your day. Rather than examining the Bible as simply a textbook, as we might in school, devotional study focuses on seeking the Lord and desiring to know His will as it applies to us. The knowledge of the book is not as important in this method as knowing the Author of the book. Time spent in devotional Bible study becomes a joyful rendezvous with God. (How to Study the Bible and Enjoy It)
Mark 1:35 Early in the Morning (My All in All – Robert J Morgan) In college I discovered the habit of rising early to hear His voice. My school required students to rise at 6:15, and, after showering and dressing, to devote a half hour to personal devotions before breakfast. I resisted at first, but it gradually became an ingrained habit. British army chaplain Bishop Taylor Smith testified, “As soon as I awake each morning, I rise from bed at once. I dress promptly. I wash myself, shave, and comb my hair. Then fully attired, wide-awake and properly groomed, I go quietly to my study. There, before God Almighty and Christ my King, I humbly present myself as a loyal subject to my Sovereign, ready and eager to be of service to Him for the day.”
- Early in the morning Abraham went to the place where he had stood before the Lord. Genesis 19:27
- Early in the morning Jacob took the stone that was near his head and set it up as a marker. He poured oil on top of it and named the place Bethel. Genesis 28:18-19
- Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, He got up, went out, and made His way to a deserted place. And He was praying there. Mark 1:35
- Very early in the morning, on the first day of the week, they went to the tomb at sunrise. Mark 16:2
- Early in the morning my song shall rise to Thee.—Reginald Heber (Pause and sing this hymn to Him in spirit and in truth!)
Greg Ogden in his excellent book on Biblical Discipleship has the following guidelines…
A daily quiet time is a private meeting each day between a disciple and the Lord Jesus Christ. It should not be impromptu. We can commune with the Lord on a spur-of-the-moment basis many times each day, but a quiet time is a period of time we set aside in advance for the sole purpose of a personal meeting with our Savior and Lord.
A daily quiet time consists of at least three components.
• Reading the Bible with the intent not just to study but to meet Christ through the written Word.
(Ed: One caution – while you might occasionally use devotional books to augment your Quiet Time, you want to keep these resources to a bare minimum. Why? Because even excellent, inspirational as devotionals like “Our Daily Bread” [Radio Bible Class] or “My Utmost for His Highest” [Oswald Chamber’s devotional] are not the pure milk of God’s Word, but are the words others have gleaned from the pure Word. Your goal is communion with God Himself and this is achieved primarily by going directly to the Word He has spoken to you in the Holy Scriptures. God has promised to bless His word, not the words about His Word!)
• Meditating on what we have read so that biblical truth begins to saturate our minds, emotions and wills. “Meditate on [the Book of the Law] day and night” (Joshua 1:8).
• Praying to (communing with) God: praising, thanking and adoring him as well as confessing our sins, asking him to supply our needs and interceding for others.
Why Is It Important? – Why should we have a daily quiet time? There are at least three reasons.
It pleases the Lord. Even if there were no other consequences, this would be sufficient reason for private daily communion with God.
Of all the Old Testament sacrifices there was only one that was daily—the continual burnt offering. What was its purpose? Not to atone for sin but to provide pleasure (a sweet-smelling aroma) to the Lord. The New Testament directs us to continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, “the fruit of lips that confess his name” (Hebrews 13:15). It may astonish us to realize that God is seeking people who will do just that: “They are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks” (John 4:23). One indicator of the depth of our relationship with the Lord is our willingness to spend time alone with him not primarily for what we get out of it but for what it means to him as well.
We receive benefits. The psalmist had this in mind when he wrote, “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God” (Psalm 42:1-2). We benefit from a quiet time in several ways.
• Information. We learn about Christ and his truths when we spend time with him and his Word. Before we can obey him we need to know what he commands. Before we can understand what life is all about we need to know what he has taught.
• Encouragement. At times we get discouraged. There is no better source for inspiration than the Lord Jesus Christ.
• Power. Even when we know what we should be and do we lack the strength to be that kind of person and do those kinds of works. Christ is the source of power, and meeting with him is essential to our receiving it.
• Pleasure. Being alone with the person we love is enjoyable, and as we spend time with Christ we experience a joy unavailable anywhere else.
Jesus had a quiet time. “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed” (Mark 1:35). If our Lord found it necessary to meet privately with his Father, surely his example gives us a good reason to do likewise. The question is whether we will be mediocre Christians or growing Christians. A major factor in determining the answer is whether or not we develop the discipline of a daily quiet time.
How to Begin – Once you desire to begin a daily quiet time, what can you do to start?
First, remember the principle of self-discipline: do what you should do when you should, the way you should, where you should and for the correct reasons. In other words, self-discipline is the wise use of your personal resources (such as time and energy).
(Ed: Fisher writes: I knew a student a number of years ago who was an excellent writer. The problem was that he always turned in his papers late. Why? “If I can’t do it right, I won’t do it!” was his response. His commitment to perfectionism led him down a path of inconsistency. This is a common problem in maintaining a quiet time. It is a “throwing the baby out with the bath water” mentality. It is the “all or nothing” approach to a devotional life. But in a realistic sense, daily devotions are about progress more than perfection. It’s better for us to have a shorter and even less meaningful devotional time on a given day than it is to skip it in the name of high standards.)
Second, set aside time in advance for your quiet time. A daily quiet time should take place each day at the time when you are most alert. For some this will be in the morning, perhaps before breakfast; for others it will be another time of the day or evening. Though it is not a hard and fast rule, the morning is a preferable time since it begins before the rush of thoughts and activities of the day. An orchestra does not tune its instruments after the concert.
How much time should you spend? This will vary from person to person, but a good plan to follow is to start with ten minutes a day and build up to approximately thirty minutes. This regularly scheduled chunk of time can be a major factor in strengthening self-discipline. Here’s a suggestion: pause while reading this and make a decision—now—about when and for how long, beginning tomorrow, you will meet the Lord Jesus Christ for a daily quiet time.
(Ed: Fisher writes “When I was taking classical guitar lessons, the instructor told me, “It’s better to practice 15 minutes a day every day, and then to practice for several hours on only a few days.” He was right, especially when it comes to establishing new habits.”)
Third, plan ahead. Go to bed early enough so that you can awaken in a refreshed condition to meet Christ. The battle for the daily quiet time is often lost the night before. Staying up too late hampers our alertness, making us bleary-eyed and numb as we meet the Lord, or else we oversleep and skip the quiet time altogether.
Fourth, make your quiet time truly a quiet time. Psalm 46:10 speaks to this: “Be still, and know that I am God.” Turn off your radio or television. Find as quiet a place as possible and make sure your location and position are conducive to alertness. Get out of bed. Sit erect. If you are stretched out in bed or reclining in a chair that is too comfortable you might be lulled into drowsiness.
(Ed: We all concentrate or are distracted in different ways. C. S. Lewis brings up a surprising suggestion in his book Letters To Malcolm. His admonition on the “quiet time” is to make sure we have “just the right amount of distraction” to help us concentrate. Lewis tells the story of a man who would have his devotional time in a railway compartment because complete silence left him open to inner distractions. Ironically, his focus was enhanced when it was challenged just slightly.)
Fifth, pray as you start your time with God. Ask the Holy Spirit to control your investment of time and to guide your praising, confessing, thanking, adoring, interceding, petitioning and meditating, as well as to help you get into the Bible. Open your mind and heart to Scripture.
Sixth, keep a notebook handy. Write down ideas you want to remember and questions you can’t answer. Expression deepens impression—and writing is a good mode of expression.
(Ed: W G T Shedd once said “It is not sufficient to commune with the truth, for truth is impersonal. We must commune with the God of truth.” Although our Quiet Time is not to be a study time per se, our reading and understanding of what God is saying in His Scripture and hence our communion with Him can be greatly enhanced by practicing simple inductive Bible study techniques and you don’t have to be a seasoned inductive student to accomplish this end. Take time to make simple observations [See discussion of the basics of observation], learning especially to ask the 5W/H questions of the terms of conclusion, terms of explanation, terms of contrast, and terms of comparison] which will slow you down and facilitate meditation on the text, allowing your Teacher the Spirit to lead you into the truth. As you engage in “active” rather than “passive” reading, you will be amazed at what God is able to say as you invest the time to slow down and “listen. Take time to chew the cud of God’s Word – cp Jer 15:16)
Last, share your plans and goals with a friend. Tell him or her you are trying to develop the discipline of a daily quiet time. Request his or her prayer that God will enable you to succeed with your objectives.
(Ed: Most importantly, when you leave your “Quiet Time,” don’t let your “Quiet Time” leave you ! In other words, as you enter the busyness of your day, remember to mentally take with you the truths God has spoken to your soul during your time of blessed communion with Him! Consciously recall specifics of your time of communion with God [passages, insights, prayers, etc] at various intervals during the day. As you begin to practice the conscious choice to reflect on your earlier time of meeting with God, you are more likely to find that the rest of your day becomes an ongoing experience of the presence of the Living God. As Frank Gaebelein said “A test of Christian devotion is the extent to which, in happiness as well as in sorrow, we think of Jesus.” Vance Havner said it this way “It is tragic to go through our days making Christ the subject of our study but not the sustenance of our souls.”)
When Problems Arise (Ed: Expect them to arise!). Below are some common problems you might encounter.
I know I ought to have a daily quiet time, but I don’t want to. Solution: Ask the Holy Spirit to plant within you the desire to have a daily quiet time. Nobody else can do this for you. You cannot generate the desire, and no other person can produce it for you. (Ed: See Php 2:13NLT–note)
I don’t feel like having a daily quiet time today. Solution: Have your quiet time anyway and honestly admit to Christ that you don’t feel like meeting him but that you know he nevertheless is worth the investment of your time. Ask him to improve your feelings and try to figure out why you feel this way. Then work on the factors that produce such failings.
My mind wanders. Solution: Ask the Holy Spirit to give you strength to set your mind on Christ and his Word. Use your self-discipline to direct your mind so that it wanders less and less. If you are in a quiet place, singing, praying and reading out loud will give a sense of dialogue. Your mind will wander less when you write things down, like making an outline for prayer or study notes while reading the Bible.
I miss too many quiet times. Solution: Ask the Lord to strengthen your desire and to give you power to discipline your use of time. Share with another Christian friend your desire to have a daily quiet time and allow your friend to hold you accountable for it. Don’t let an overactive conscience or the accusations of the devil play on your guilt. Confess that you have failed to keep your appointment with Jesus, ask his forgiveness and renew your relationship.
My daily quiet time is a drag. Solution: Pray that the joy of the Lord would be restored to your private meeting with Christ (Psalm 51:12). Put some variety into your approach. Sing a hymn for a change, or try a different form of Bible study.
There are two major reasons it is so difficult to develop the discipline of a daily quiet time.
First is the influence of the flesh. Keep in mind that your old nature is opposed to daily quiet time (and to every other discipline that would please Christ; see Galatians 5:16-17). Pray that the Holy Spirit will enable your new nature to overcome your old nature in this battle.
The second reason is resistance by Satan. The devil opposes your every effort to please Christ. His strategy is to rob you of daily quiet time joy, to complicate your time schedule by keeping you up late at night and making it hard for you to get up in the morning, to make you drowsy during your time with the Lord, to make your mind wander, and otherwise to disrupt your meeting with Christ. Ask the Holy Spirit to restrain the devil.
Do It Now! – Plan now for your daily quiet time tomorrow—and every tomorrow. If you miss a morning, do not quit. Deny the devil the pleasure of defeating you. Ask the Lord to forgive you for missing the meeting and to help you make it next time. You will doubtless miss several times, and it will take repeated beginnings before you succeed in developing this discipline. Indeed, it takes some people months to mature to the point where they develop the habit of a daily quiet time. For some it is a lifelong battle. In any case, don’t quit when you miss. With God’s help determine that you will grow to be a committed disciple who meets Christ regularly in meaningful daily quiet times. (Discipleship Essentials A Guide to Building Your Life in Christ by Greg Ogden – Highly Recommended read!)
Anne Ortlund’s testimony on the value of a Quiet Time…
Ten months after Ray and I were married we had baby Sherry. Eleven and a half months later we had Margie. Seventeen months later we had Buddy. And immediately after that, Ray had a shrew for a wife. My problem wasn’t Ray or the babies; all four were adorable! My problem was no quiet time, no focus. My eyes weren’t fixed on Jesus, they were fixed on what I had to do. A work-centered life gets complex, and it leads to burnout. A Christ-centered life — even in the midst of work — stays basically simple, nourished and rested…
Fix your eyes on Jesus! Like Mary, focus; that’s what I had to learn. Become a “one-thing” person (Luke 10:42). How do you do this? First, begin to develop the habit of continual fellowship with Him (see chapter 18) in the midst of it all. Second, determine to give Him the sacrifice of a regular “quiet time“. Yes, it will be a true sacrifice. (“You will never find time for anything,” says Charles Bixton. “If you want time you must make it.”)
Cartoon seen recently: A fellow is listening uncertainly as a recorded voice says out of his telephone receiver, “Your number cannot be completed as dialed. Please check the number you are calling and dial again. Or ask yourself if talking to another person is what you really need at this moment!” Sometimes your need is just to be quiet. At least once a day, you need to back off from all the other voices and hear only His. It needs to be a long enough time to be meaningful — to express your love, confess your sins, receive guidance, delight in Him, listen. I have an electric toothbrush, and I don’t take it with me to conferences because it needs frequent plugging into the socket to get re-juiced. And you and I can’t go anywhere for very long without the sacrifice of times of quiet with God to get restored again. I said sacrifice. A thirty-ish woman said to me at a conference two days ago, “There’s no way I can have a daily quiet time. I have five small children who take everything I’ve got, and then I work every day from four to midnight.” As I questioned her, I discovered she has a working husband and almost no debts. She stood there, weepy, overweight, defeated. It would mean true sacrifice for her to add time with the Lord to her exhausting days. But until she does, she may not hear His solutions and so she’ll spiral ever farther downward. Whatever your circumstances — if you’d lived in Old Testament times you would have regularly given God a male animal or bird — whatever you could afford — that had no defects: something you’d humanly want or even “need” for yourself. If you’re stressed out from a tight schedule, offer God the sacrifice of your time. If you love to be with people, give Him the sacrifice of your solitude. If you’re not very excited yet about Bible reading and prayer, lift up to Him the sacrifice of your surrendered will. And when you sit down or kneel to be with Him, what do you do? No two people will have quiet times just alike, but first decide on a time, a place, and a plan — and stick to it. Since the children were in school, except when I’m conference speaking, I’ve chosen mid-mornings — my high-energy time. I have with me my Bible, my notebook, and a pen (To continue reading click the following link). (Fix Your Eyes On Jesus — Anne Ortlund)
Rick Blackwood on how he prepares his sermons – Let It Overflow From Your Quiet Time – For me, everything I teach is the overflow of my quiet time before God. In the early hours of the morning before my family awakens, I get alone before God, and it is there that he impresses in my heart about what I should teach. Even though I generally teach through books of the Bible, it is in my quiet time that God gives me insight into the Big Idea of the sermon series that I extract from his Word. When I teach courses on preaching and teaching, I always talk first about the need for quiet time. People often ask me, “Where do you get your ideas and illustrations?” Sometimes, there is no rhyme or reason to it. I can only say that in my time alone with God, incredible thoughts pass from his heart into my heart, and I write them down. I always have a pad and pen in my quiet time, because I don’t want to miss what God gives me. It works for me; it will work for you (The Power of Multi-Sensory Preaching and Teaching)
Pastor Rob Morgan offers us a practical plan for our Quiet Time “How do we do it?”…
(1) First, remember the purpose of the Quiet Time.
It is essentially a conversation, a time of fellowship, a daily meeting or appointment with the Lord. It isn’t a complicated thing, and the simpler we can keep it the better. It isn’t even always necessary to have a Bible. Sometimes it’s nice just to go for a walk and spend some time meditating on some verse of Scripture and thinking it through, and then talking to the Lord about it and praying over the things that concern you. Usually, however, it’s very helpful to have a Bible, preferably a new translation. And remember that you aren’t reading your Bible to get through a certain amount of Scripture or to prepare a sermon or to develop a Sunday School or Bible Study lesson. You’re going to the Bible in order to find nourishment for your soul. Psalm 37:3-4 puts it very well when it says: “Feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the Lord.” That’s a good definition of the Quiet Time.
(2) Second, have a procedure for your Quiet Time.
I like to follow a two-step plan. First, I open God’s Word and, after a brief prayer asking for His blessing, I start reading where I left off the day before. I don’t try to read a certain number of verses or chapters; I just read until I find a verse that speaks to me. Right now I’m reading through the Gospel of John. It may take me a couple of weeks or a couple of months, but I’m in no hurry. I just begin reading today where I left off yesterday, and I look for that verse to underline as my verse for the day. Then I begin praying at the point of that verse, and move into a time of prayer. For example, my verse this morning was John 1:43: “Follow Me.” I began praying at that point and I said, “Lord, help me follow You more closely,” and then I prayed for my loved ones that they would follow the Lord, and from there I went into a time of prayer. So that’s the essence of it—a time of Bible reading and meditation followed by a time of prayer. It’s a conversation. The Lord speaks to me through His Word, then I speak to Him in prayer. And it’s through this sort of daily conversation that we get to know Him better.
(3) Third, use a pen.
As I said earlier, I like to keep a little notebook. It’s divided into two parts. The first part is my journal. Every morning I come to my desk fairly early. I have a cup of coffee and my Bible, and I open my journal and put down the date. Then I might or might not write something about my day or how I’m feeling. Usually I make a little entry of some kind. But then I just put down the Scripture reference that I’m reading, and as I read through the passage I make notes. I find this an enormous help.
For example, one day this week I came to the passage in John 1 in which John the Baptist introduced Jesus to the crowds at the River Jordan. I read the paragraph several times, but it just didn’t seem to register with me. I felt I was brain-dead. I just didn’t get much out of it. So I decided to make a little list of everything that John said on that occasion about Jesus, and, putting pen to paper, I developed a list of five things about Jesus that John articulated in introducing the Messiah to the world. I thought, “Wow, this is pretty neat!” One day I might convert that into a little five-point sermon (for I often find that my messages are best when they’re the overflow of my own devotions).
The last half of my notebook is for my prayer lists. I have a daily list, for there are some things I want to pray about every day. Then I have a list for every day of the week. For example, if I want to pray for a particular missionary family on a weekly basis, I just take their prayer card, punch holes in it, and insert it under the Monday tab, or the Tuesday, or whatever.
(Ed: The godly pastor Charles Simeon said that “It is scarcely ever that we can intercede with fervor unless we enjoy habitual nearness to God.”)
So I find a little notebook to be an incredible aid. However, a notebook isn’t necessary, and I’d like to give you a simpler alternative. Try using the margin of your Bible. Suppose, for example, you are reading through the Gospel of John. Beside John 1:1, put today’s day—11/7/04, for example. Then start there and read through the passage, marking anything that is of interest until you find just the verse that speaks to your soul for that day. Let’s say that it is Jn 1:16: “From the fullness of His grace we have all received one blessing after another” (NIV). Circle that verse and end your reading there. The next day, put the new date—11/08/04—beside John 1:17 and read on until you find that day’s verse, then circle it. And so forth.
For a prayer list, you can use the flyleaf of your Bible or a slip of paper in the back cover. Or you can just use a mental list. I’m not sure that our Lord took a paper list with Him when He rose early on that morning in Capernaum and retreated to the nearby mountains. Perhaps it would work better for you just to say, “Lord, guide me today to those things You want me to pray about.”
Again, simplicity is the rule. The Word of God and prayer. Going into the closet and meeting with the Father in secret. A notebook works for me, but don’t feel like you have to do it the way I do. Find the method that works best for you.
(4) Fourth, have a place and a regular time.
As I read through the Gospels, it seems to me that Jesus had two places that He used for His closet. When He was in the north of Israel, He would retreat into the mountains to be alone. We saw that in Mark 1, and we also see it later when He sent His disciples by boat to the other side of the lake while He Himself went up into the mountains to pray. But where would He go when He was in Jerusalem? It was much more difficult to be alone there. John 18:2 says that He would often go out of the city, across the Kidron Valley, and into an olive orchard which was apparently owned by a friend who gave Him access to it. I suppose the friend said, “Jesus, here’s the key to the gate. Feel free to relax there whenever you’d like. The place was called Gethsemane and Judas led the soldiers there to arrest Jesus, for He knew that Christ often went there late at night or perhaps early in the morning for His Quiet Time.
For you it might be the kitchen table, or the front seat of your car, or your bedside at night. And that brings up another question. Does it have to be in the morning? No. If the evening is better for you, or the midnight hour, or the noon hour during your lunch break, that’s fine. We each need to find the routine that works for us. My suggestion is just that you have a regular time or place in order to make it habitual and regular and a part of the normal routine of your day.
Some people say, “Can I have my Quiet Time at night?” Absolutely. In fact, in the Hebrew culture, the day began the night before. Here in our society, we think of the day beginning with sunrise; but the Jewish people thought of the day beginning at sunset. The Jewish Sabbath, for example, begins at sunset on Saturday night and extends into the next day. Genesis chapter 1 says, “The evening and the morning were the first day,” etc.
They understood the fact that whatever you are thinking about when you go to sleep is what will reside on your subconscious mind all through the night hours and will determine our mental mood and makeup for the next day. So if it works for you to have your devotions at night, that’s perfectly all right.
Now, whenever I speak on this subject, the question comes up—what about those times in life when our schedules are out of our control. Sometimes, despite our very best efforts, we go through periods of life in which we have a difficult time maintaining a habit such as I’ve described. This is especially true of mothers of preschoolers.
In my reading, I was intrigued with the testimony of Rosalind Goforth, who was a mother and a busy missionary in China. She was very eager to maintain her Quiet Time habit, but she was greatly frustrated by the fact that no matter how early she got up and how quiet she tried to be, one or more of her children woke up, and the daily circus just started that much earlier. So she finally just kept a small Bible or testament with her all the time, and she learned to take those odd moments all through the day to memorize Scripture. That way, she had it available for meditation all day long, and she just turned each day into one long 24-hour Quiet Time.
I’ve read several magazine articles by mothers who have done that very thing. One had five children between the ages of ten months and ten years, and finally she went out and bought a handful of small Bibles which she kept open at various places in the house. One was by the ironing board, one was by the bathroom vanity. One was by the kitchen sink. And all day she would catch a snitch of Scripture here and there. And when she bathed the baby, she would pray for that child. When she folded clothes, she prayed for the one to whom they belonged. She kept the radio on a Christian station so that day was filled with Christian music and Bible teaching. She just turned each day into an extended Quiet Time.
My wife, Katrina, however, has a different idea about it. She was a stay-at-home mother with three small children; but she sat them down one day and had a talk with them and said something to this effect: “Now, girls, I want to be a good mother, and to be a good mother who is kind and patient, I need to spend time with the Lord each day. So every afternoon I’m going to have my quiet time, and that’s going to be your alone time in your rooms. You can sleep or nap or read or play quietly by yourselves, but you are not to come and interrupt me—and if you do I’ll break your necks.” I’m really not sure she said that last part, but whatever she said worked, and she was able to maintain her quiet time even during that phase of her life.
So there’s more than one way to skin a cat, and there’s more than one way to have your Quiet Time; but all things being equal, I still think a few minutes early in the morning with a Bible, notebook, and a cup of strong, hot coffee is the best way to start the day.
(5) Finally, exercise perseverance. Paderewski, one of the world’s greatest pianists, said:
When I miss a day of practice, I can always tell it. If I miss two days, the critics will pick it up. If I miss three days, the audience will notice it.
I feel the same way about my Quiet Time. Harriet Beecher Stowe, the famous 19th century novelist and author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, was a dedicated Christian and a hymnist. She regularly rose early in the morning for her time with the Lord. One of her most famous poems speaks to this when she writes:
Still, still with Thee, when purple morning breaketh,
When the bird waketh, and the shadows flee;
Fairer than morning, lovelier than daylight,
Dawns the sweet consciousness, I am with Thee.
Courtesy of http://www.preceptaustin.org/quiet_time_seven_minutes_with_god