You want to do it. You know it’s crucial to a healthy relationship with God. And you even have a shelf full of books about it. Then why is it so hard to have a meaningful quiet time?
It’s OK to admit it—quiet times are often a battle. Most of us struggle with finding a quiet time that works for us, sticking with it, or getting frustrated when God doesn’t show up the way we expect. If your quiet time is lackluster or maybe non-existent, you might be feeling pretty ashamed of yourself as a Christian. Or you might be ready to throw in the towel.
But there’s hope! As our relationship with God ebbs and flows during life, we can receive His grace and keep going. Wherever you find yourself, we’ll help you solve your quiet time quandary and reestablish a refreshing connection with God.
Quiet Time Quandary 1: I never do a quiet time.
If you don’t do a quiet time, you might be thinking, Why do I need to have a quiet time anyway? Catherine Martin, author of Six Secrets to a Powerful Quiet Time and founder of Quiet Time Ministries, explains that Jesus Himself modeled the concept for us. “Jesus would often withdraw to lonely places to pray,” she says. “There’s a biblical basis for meeting with God to know Him intimately.”
Pastor Thomas McKenzie of Church of the Redeemer in Nashville, Tenn., calls quiet time “hitting the reset button.” He says time alone with God is essential to refuel, refocus, and become the person God created you to be. “Part of the difference between a person who is fully human and a person who is a shell is this time of solitude,” McKenzie says.
Want to try the spending-time-with-God thing? Martin lists three easy steps to get started.
1) Pick a time. “Put a time when you’re alert into your schedule,” Martin says. “Quiet time doesn’t just mysteriously happen because of the desire.” Start with 15 minutes.
2) Choose a place. Find a quiet place where you can sit alone with God. Organize your materials—a Bible, journal, pen, devotional guide, and so on—in that place, so everything is ready when you are.
3) Follow a plan. “One of the reasons people don’t spend time with the Lord is that they sit down and go, ‘Now what?’” Martin says. “I use the acronym P.R.A.Y.E.R. (Prepare your heart, Read and study God’s Word, Adore God in prayer, Yield yourself to God, Enjoy His presence, Rest in His love) to help me remember what to do.”
Guidance is good, but resist the urge to latch on to a quiet time formula—instead, see your quiet time as a conversation. Allow it to evolve as you and God get to know each other. “When you’re just starting out, it’s an experiment to find out what you love to do with God in your quiet time,” Martin says. Try writing a verse in your journal, speaking a prayer out loud, or reading a paragraph out of a book like A.W. Tozer’s Pursuit of God.
“Don’t worry about doing it right or wrong,” Martin adds. “Go with what you discover you enjoy.”
Easy Step for Today
Try a centering prayer. Choose a name for God that is particularly meaningful for you, like Counselor, Redeemer, or Friend. Think about that name and what it means to you. Repeat it slowly and let it calm any anxious thoughts.
Click HERE for Quandary #2: I sometimes do a quiet time, but I’m not very committed.