Obviously this one's easy. Who is involved in my quiet time? Me and God, and that's it! In other words, I make sure I do my quiet time when I'm totally and completely alone. That way I can focus. I know this is hard to do if you have small children. But Satan will use anything and everything to distract us during quiet time, so I find it's best to be purposeful about limiting my distractions. I do my quiet time very early in the morning when the world is quiet, and Luke is still asleep. But more about that in a moment!
What do I do during my quiet time? First of all, I do my Bible reading. It is so important for us to be daily in The Word, because it is our guidebook to life (Psalm 119:105). It keeps us alive and growing, and gives us wisdom. Currently, I am reading straight through the old Testament. [Here is a guide to reading through the Bible in a year, if you are interested!] I usually read a chapter or two a day. After that, I write in my prayer journal. I just recently started this, but writing down my prayers works so well for me! My mind tends to wander, so writing prayers down keeps me focused and concentrated on my prayers. Plus, I can write down specific prayer requests and refer back to them as many times as I want. Writing in my prayer journal has completely changed and transformed my quiet time! And my life.
It took me years to find a good time for quiet time. I used to try to do it before bed, but we all know how I have a problem staying awake! About a year or so ago, I finally decided to try my quiet time in the morning. I was reluctant to do that at first, because honestly, I have to get up pretty early for work already, and I didn't want to make it even earlier. But I'm so glad I tried it! I eat breakfast every morning, so I decided to do my quiet time while I eat breakfast. Then I'd never forget or run out of time. I absolutely LOVE having my quiet time first thing in the morning. It's still dark out, the world is quiet, I'm the only one awake in my house (Luke doesn't wake up until I'm out the door), and I can totally focus. Also, it's a great way to start out my day. I feel like I'm starting out on the right foot when I've spent some time with the Lord. Of course, this is just what works best for me. I know not everyone is able to wake up early, and not everyone eats breakfast or wakes up at the same time for work each morning. Experiment, and then do what works best for you!
It's very important to find the perfect spot for quiet time. I experimented, and discovered that I like doing my quiet time at the dining room table best. We have a big table in that room where I can do my reading/writing and eat my breakfast at the same time. Lately it's been especially peaceful. I plug in the Christmas tree so the lights are twinkling in the background. Then I sit at the big table with all of my materials plus my toast and [sugar free] hot cocoa. There is a sort of calmness and ambiance to that setting in the morning. It calms me and helps me to stay focused. The quietness helps me to listen and wait on the Lord. Experiment and figure out which place is best for your quiet time: the kitchen or dining room table, your bed, an office, a patio, etc.
Why do we have a quiet time? Because in church they tell us we should? This is why I did my quiet time for a long time. I felt a sense of obligation about it. I knew it was what I was SUPPOSED to do. I have since come to realize that this is completely the wrong reason. Here is what Francis Chan says about this in his book, "Crazy Love."
"Most Christians have been taught in church or by their parents to set aside a daily time for prayer and scripture reading. It's what we are supposed to do, and so for a long time it's what I valiantly attempted. When I didn't, I felt guilty.I think he summed it up in that last sentence. Our motivation for quiet time shouldn't be guilt, but instead, should be love. I definitely used to do my quiet time out of guilt. But now that my motivation has changed, my quiet time has changed immensely, and that in turn has changed every area of my life.
Over time I realized that when we love God, we naturally run into Him - frequently and zealously. Jesus didn't command that we have a regular time with Him each day. Rather, He tells us to, 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' He called this the 'First and greatest commandment' (Matt. 22:37-38). The results are intimate prayer and study of His word. Our motivation changes from guilt to love."
Think about your friends. Would you want them to spend time with you because they felt bad and guilty, but not because they really enjoy spending time with you? I sure wouldn't! I would feel insulted, and I'd tell them not to waste their time with me. On the other hand, I have friends who I know spend time with me because they love me, and genuinely want to hang out with me. These are the friends that I want to be around!
I bet God feels the same way. He probably feels insulted when we are only doing our quiet time out of duty. He wants us to WANT to spend time with Him, because we love Him and need Him.
For years I did my quiet time for the wrong reasons. And like I said, my life has changed now that I changed my reason.
So that's my quiet time...what is your quiet time like? Do you have any good ideas or suggestions? What works best for you? I would love to hear your ideas!