I have loved reading about everyone’s personal time with the Lord … and have gleaned some great insights from each post so far. I’m already trying to figure out how to add photos like Kathy and incorporate those Sabbath principles shared by Julie.
My life is routine-driven. In fact, that might be the understatement of the year so far. I’m definitely a “type-A” personality. I like lists, schedules, and plans … I do not thrive in chaos nor do I enjoy spontaneity. It should, therefore, not be any sort of surprise that my quiet time is much the same today as it has been the past 10 years.
As I mentioned in a Your Turn post, I generally get up before my family … remember my rule, “I don’t speak to anyone until I have listened to God”? I have a comfy corner of the couch where I can look out the patio doors and watch the sunrise as I spend those early moments of my day with the Lord.
I always begin my quiet time by journaling. As I write out the events of the past day and what is coming in the day ahead, I find myself processing … that becomes a blend of recording specific events and feelings merged with prayers and verses that the Lord brings to my mind as I write. For me, getting all of that out helps me prepare to hear from the Lord as I read the Bible.
I read a chapter of Proverbs every day. Sometimes I also read from another portion of Scripture as well … savoring the passages and making notes/prayers as I read. But, honestly, there are many days when I simply read a chapter of Proverbs, choose a verse and focus on it for the rest of that day.
In addition to reading the Bible, I prefer devotional material that is at least 100 years old … something about the lasting nature of these writings draws me to them. In 2009, I used Streams in the Desert which is not quite 10o years old but certainly qualifies as a Christian classic. This year, I am reading several books by various authors … currently, I am reading The Dark Night of the Soul by St. John of the Cross. Using this type of material helps me gain perspective on the difficulties and joys of daily life.
My prayer time is filled with lots of stops and starts … generally I begin by just sitting. Practicing the discipline of stillness … which does not come naturally to me. As thoughts or individuals come to mind I pray for wisdom or healing or peace, whatever the situation demands. Often I will use a Psalm as a prayer, taking a passage and praying it as it applies to me. I use my prayer calendar as well during this time – dedicating each month to praying for a specific person or group. Finally, I grab my Daytimer and to do list … I pray over each moment and task – in my life and for my husband and daughter.
Instead of trying to fight my organizational nature and my lists and plans, I use them to guide me … and in the process I lay them down before the Lord’s plans, trusting in His over mine.
Ho does your personality influence your quiet time patterns? Maybe you are having such a difficult time because you are trying to fit your personality into a quiet time format designed for someone else … embrace the way God made you and commune with Him!
For Further Reading:
A Quiet Time Routine – Additional insights on quiet times from my blog.
Prayer Calendaring – An example of how I have used a prayer calendar.
Books I have found useful:
Sacred Pathways by Gary Thomas – Identifies 9 different “pathways” to connect with God. This book has been very useful to me in helping others figure out how to improve their quiet times.
Streams in the Desert by L. B. Cowman – If you are facing difficulties right now, this is a great one-year devotional book packed with insight and encouragement.
Also, please check out our new Devotional Materials and Resources page for more book and website suggestions on this topic.