Hi, guys! I’m back! I know, I know it’s been too long since my last post and I will at some point in the very near future fill you in on what’s going on with me. In the meantime, I find myself forced to a halt, at least momentarily, by a bug making its way through my family. With the kiddos and myself needing to refresh, I’ve had some extra brain power to put toward the blog. Yay! Of late, I’ve fielded questions about how I structure my quiet time with God and wanted to share with you a few things that I’ve used over the years that have completely revolutionized the way I spend time with the Lord.
Get Rid of the Guilt
Before we dive into these resources, I would like to take a moment to talk about a common struggle you may have experienced. It seems that too often people, myself included, react with an overwhelming sense of guilt when analyzing their own personal time with God. They feel that they don’t have it “consistently enough,” or it’s not “deep enough/long enough/spiritual enough.” It gets cut short by the kids, or work, or the dog wanting breakfast. Oversleeping or overscheduling sneak up on us. Shuffled to the bottom of the priority list when you know it needs to be at the top, the guilt is overwhelming. I know. I have been there, done that.
The more guilt we layer on, the further back it gets pushed in our minds. I mean, who wants to dwell on something that brings up such negativity, right?? Really? Not me! Let’s be honest for a moment. Finding time to escape from life to rest in the grace of God is not just hard… It’s spiritual warfare! But dedicating our focus to the King of Kings is so important and worth the battle. But let’s be clear on a few things: Our spending personal time with God does not make God love us more. It doesn’t win us brownie points when it happens or loses us the jewels in our crown when it doesn’t. Remember, Jesus already proved to us His unconditional love on the cross. You don’t need to win it again. Just receive it.
Make The Time You Have Count
The point is that dedicating time alone with God each day is for your benefit! Time spend focusing your heart and mind on eternal matters keeps the momentary ones in the right perspective. It keeps you in tune with the Spirit’s call on your life. And even though every day your quiet time with the Lord might look different, taking on the shape and form of the demands of the day, the important thing is to take the time. It might be seven minutes or four hours and either way, that’s ok!
My Quiet Time with God
So, my quiet time takes on varying shapes and forms as my spiritual walk grows but primarily I try to incorporate six elements into my quiet time with God. Now I certainly don’t get to all of this every day. Some days I barely have time to read a Psalm and say a prayer. Other days, I get some good quality study time… But I try for some sort of balance between these elements over the long haul.
Makes sense, right? Studying God’s Word is an essential element to growing in your walk with God. And there are SO many ways to do this in your personal QT but the one I want to focus on with you today is having a good, quality study Bible. I love love love my ESV Study Bible. Context is really important when studying God’s Word and when you get to those verses when you just don’t get it, it’s really great to be equipped with that information right then and there! Let’s face it, how many of us have the time in that moment to pull out a commentary? A good study Bible is an invaluable tool!
For those of you in the market for a good study Bible, I will share with you one that is on my wish list! She Reads Truth, one of my favorite women’s bible study resources, just released a CSB She Reads Truth Bible! I do not have it myself but I’m really excited to add it to my library at some point in the near future. It’s beautiful (Gah! It’s so pretty!!!) and looks like a great resource! And CSB (Christian Standard Bible, formerly known as the Holman Christian Standard Bible) and ESV (English Standard Version) are both solid translations that are both easy to read and very true to the original text.
Ok, so I can’t stress this point enough. This is my favorite part of my QT. I need to dedicate a blog post just to this topic. Reflecting on what God is teaching through His Word and impressing upon my heart through His Spirit is water to the soul! I always carry a journal with my Bible so I have space to jot down what I’m discovering.
This is extremely important. There is something almost magical about the act of putting pen to paper and giving voice to your thoughts. You define it, remember it, and can go back and remind yourself of it later when you forget it! It’s beautiful. My prayer journals are some of my favorite reading material… For real! It may sound odd but it’s so incredible to go back and reflect upon your spiritual journey. This provides a space to catalog the journey.
And the best part is there are no rules of how or why or what you journal so don’t worry about misspelling words or sounding eloquent. This is between you and God. Write what’s in your mind and heart. Let it be raw and let it be you. That’s where God wants to work.
So, we all need people in our lives who can teach us what we don’t already know and remind us of the truth found in God’s Word. That’s where the teaching element comes into spiritual growth. I always try to have a book going during my personal time with the Lord that incorporates teaching me about the ways of God.
There are innumerable options I could cover with you. For today, I will recommend one my dad gave me when I was a teenager that I have read and reread over and over again. My Utmost for His Highest is an amazing little book. It’s an old book (I like old books!) that has been revised into today’s English so it’s easy to read. There’s a devotion for each day of the year and it’s perfect for those crazy days where you only have a few moments to spare. The depth and richness each of these bite-sized sermons contains is truly amazing! This little book is one of many that has influenced my spiritual growth over the years. I love the way it delivers truth you can take with you as you go about life.
I wish you could have known my Grammie. My Grammie Ruth was a prayer warrior. Defined by how she prayed for people, the name Ruth Dawson was inextricably connected to the power of her prayer ministry. She was a little lady, frail and delicate, plagued with osteoporosis and fingers bent by arthritis. But when you grasped that little hand for prayer, the power of God lit up the room. When she prayed, I felt I learned more about God’s character, His Word, His ways, and who I was in Christ. It was amazing! She moved spiritual mountains, taught theological mysteries, and left a legacy behind her that is still rippling through the generations years after she went to be with Jesus.
Prayer like that… It’s hard to find. There is a wonderful book of prayers, however, that I use every day called The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions. This is another very old book (old books are amazing!) of prayers that, as you pour over them, teach you about the character of God, man’s condition, and of amazing grace. They are truly beautiful, powerful, and poetic. It makes me feel like I’m praying with my Grammie again. I hope it can teach you something about the power of prayer the way she taught me.
Scripture memory has always been a struggle for me. Anyone else??? I mean, I can barely remember my kids’ names on a daily basis! How can I possibly remember a memory verse? Enter The Navigators Scripture Memory App by NavsTMS!
It cost a few dollars to purchase but it is worth every penny! The program walks you through a collection of verses, categorized by topic, that is very manageable. There are review games and exercises make it easy and fun! I try to go through my verses 5 minutes a day and it’s amazing how much progress I’ve made.
So, yeah, I told you there were five but I’ll throw this one in as a bonus! Music is so much a part of my heart language and I’ve discovered lately that if I play instrumental worship music in the background during my quiet time with God, it helps me really focus on the Lord. It also helps bring to mind the truth of Scripture and draw me wholeheartedly into the presence of God, which worship music does so well. David Nevue is one of my go-to pianists for this time of worship. His albums, Adoration: Solo Piano Hymns and Revelation: Solo Piano for Prayer & Worship, perfectly adorn my time with the Lord. You can find them on Amazon for purchase (follow the links above) or on Spotify or Apple music for streaming!
Hope This Helps
As you shape your quiet time with God, I hope these ideas and resources help you dive deeper into His Word and discover more about the richness of relationship with Him! As always, feel free to send me questions or comment below with additional resources that speak to you!