On my recent post, How Much Time Is Enough, I mentioned some advice I had received in the early days of my Christian walk. A sweet man of God told me, “Stephanie, there’s a difference between reading God’s Word and studying it…and you need to try to do both every day.” That advice has been my quiet time filter for over 20 years.
With the exception of a few things, my quiet time hasn’t really changed much. Some of the seasons of my life have caused me to juggle my schedule and change my routine, but the key ingredients have virtually remained the same. I may have juggled the order in which they fall-I may have grown along the way, but there are five elements that have remained a constant in my quiet time over the years.
STUDY – This is my “must do” of the day. I’m a “word” girl, so I love to study the original meaning of things and expand my understanding of God’s Word. That probably explains why I love the Amplified version and why I love study books. I study words, topics, books of the Bible and characters. Most of the time I just get out my Bible, my Bible study books (some of my favorites are on an older post entitled, “Finding What I’m Looking For”) and just dig in, but other times I use a workbook. Right now, I’m going through “A Woman After God’s Own Heart” by Elizabeth George.
My study time also goes hand in hand with what I’m speaking on or writing about, so while I’m going through “A Woman After God’s Own Heart” – I’m also studying the New Testament church, character studies of moms of the Bible and the book of Philippians.
READ – I like to read through the Bible every year. I confess that I’ve never purchased a One Year Bible before, but that’s a personal preference. When I read through the Bible, I want to be able to make notes of how God speaks to me or write a prayer beside a promise and date it. I want to leave a trail in my Bible of where I’ve been and where God has led me.
I also confess that when life gets complicated and I’m on overload that the “Reading” time is the one that gets set aside for a season. Don’t get me wrong, I continue to spend time studying the Word, but when I can’t fit it all in, I set aside my reading until my life gets back on an even keel.
JOURNAL – Although I’m not really into “diary-style” journaling, I love to journal my journey through the Word. This helps me be attentive when I’m in the Word…looking for nuggets of truth and listening for His still small voice.
Each page of my journal normally contains two titles. THE WORD. PRAYER.
The Word – is where I write down insights in His Word, places where He has spoken to me, promises I’m claiming, wisdom I’m seeking, direction I’m in need of, correction I’m also in need of and moments where He has clearly made Himself known to me.
Prayer – is where I write those things that I was prompted to pray for as I was reading. Where I pray in reference to something I had just read in Scripture. Where I list a promise I’m clinging to or a praise for speaking to my heart.
PRAYER – I like to maintain a list for daily prayer. I’ve changed this up over the years as to the way I keep track of it, but I have to have a list or things fall through the crack of things “I meant to pray.” I make a list with headings like, Family, Friends, Church, Nation, Costa Rica & Panama, Pastors, Missionaries & the Persecuted Church.
DEVOTIONAL – I love to read short, challenging and encouraging devotionals. My all time favorite is My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers. I also like Streams in the Desert, The Daily Bread and many blogs that I subscribe to for daily devotionals. Ann Graham Lotz has a great one, as well.
Something new I’ve learned to do over the past year is to “settle” in with the Lord. I learned about it when I went through a book called Saturdays With Stella and it changed my concept of being still before God. It’s more about getting to a place where you just enjoy His presence. Nothing has to be said, nothing has to be done. Like when you sit in the room with a loved one and enjoy the sweetness of being together – silently saying “I love you.”
And when you think about it, isn’t that what our time with the Lord is all about. Through spending time in God’s Word and in prayer – we are telling Him, “I love you” and hearing Him say the same back to us.
Tell us about your quiet time with the Lord. Do you struggle with some things more than others?