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As a young Christian woman, I often heard people talk about the importance of “quiet time with the Lord” or “morning devotional time”. Even though I had grown up in the church, I wasn’t sure what that meant or how to do it. To hear these people talk, this was THE most important thing that Christians did. I often felt like I was a failure in my spiritual life (my “Christian walk” as they said) because I wasn’t having the all important “quiet time with the Lord.”
It wasn’t that I didn’t want to, I just didn’t know how!
There are two aspects I had to figure out: when to do it, and what to do.
As a teen and before becoming a wife and mother, I didn’t have too much trouble finding the time. Now, my schedule is the tool that helps me make room in my busy 24 hours for time with Him. If you’re struggling to find the actual time, I encourage you to follow my scheduling series for a step-by-step plan to use your time most effectively.
What do I do during my Quiet Time?
It seemed most people spent time reading something. A trip to the Christian bookstore, or a browse on Amazon, offers up more options for devotional books than you could read in a lifetime of “time with the Lord”. How could I know which book was most effective? Which book would draw me closer to God? Which book would have the answers, the lessons I needed to learn, and the words of encouragement I needed at this particular time in my life?
The answer is so glaringly obvious now, but it wasn’t always. The only book that can offer all that is the Bible. “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12 (ESV)
Only the Word of God can discern your thoughts and intentions and lead you to the lessons you need on a daily basis.
Oh, come on, Christina! That’s a cop-out answer! You promised a devotional book!
Indeed, I did.
Don’t worry, I’m not going to leave it there!
The only devotional book you’ll ever need is….
Other devotional books fall short because they are not the Word of God, but someone else’s thoughts. God’s word is our spiritual food, and as Teri Maxwell writes in Sweet Journey:
Some will consider a daily devotional with a Bible verse and story for each day of the year to be their Bible reading. IF I might be blunt, that is a little like eating breakfast after someone else has chewed it up for you, and a minimal amount at that. One verse a day isn’t enough spiritual sustenance. Save those devotionals for another time in your day, and reserve Bible-reading time strictly for Bible reading.
There is great wealth in sharing our stories, our lessons, and our thoughts with one another, but we have to allow time and space for God to speak directly to us.
My Bible-Study Method
Once I implemented my current method of Bible study, my quiet time with the Lord changed dramatically! Instead of something I felt a Christian obligation to do, it became something I joyfully wake up before my family to fit in! Honestly, I used to hear other people say the same thing and think they were so much more spiritually developed than I was. I wanted desperately to be like that, but I just wasn’t.
Listen to me, if you want to develop in your spiritual life, this will work. You will grow and you will learn things you never realized.
Now, I get up in the morning and read a chapter in my Bible. I underline any particular verses that speak to me that day, then I copy those verses in to my journal and write my thoughts and prayers.
It’s very simple.
But SO effective.
Writing my prayers keeps me focused. My mind is less likely to wander. Copying the verses helps me learn them.