Reading the Bible and having a quiet time are an important part of my life. I’ve noticed that my thinking is clearer and I am calmer when I start my day with some reading and journaling. If too many days pass without a dedicated time to read and pray, it shows up in my life as less patience and joy.
As a young Christian I wondered how in the world to have a “quiet time.” Devotional books usually caused me to just read the devotion and skip the Bible part. With a job that required overtime, and later a bunch of little children, I didn’t have time for a complicated study.
Over the years I struggled to maintain an active devotional life, but gradually I found what worked for me. The Bible says that God will “gently lead those that are with young,” and what I do now as an older mother whose youngest child is seven differs somewhat from what I did during the baby-and-toddler years (25 years, in my case), but the basic principles are the same.
Everyone is different and personal quiet time is, well, personal. Your beliefs and practices will probably differ, but here are some things that work for me:
Read a chapter a day. When I had little ones, this might be shortened to a verse. If you read and think about just one verse a day, that will definitely add up. If you keep meaning to get to a chapter and never get around to it because you’re overwhelmed, that will add up to a lot of days with no Bread of Life.
Find a passage that speaks to me. Usually something will jump out at me, either as encouragement or conviction. If it doesn’t, I keep reading.
Copy the passage that speaks to me in my journal. We do copy work in our homeschool, and I tell my kids that I still do copy work every day as an adult.
Personalize and/or write about the passage in my journal. This can be either re-copying the verse in a different tense (change “you” to “I”) or paraphrasing it and using part of the actual wording.
Occasionally do a simple word study. If there is a passage that really speaks to me, I will look up the main words in the Webster’s 1828 dictionary. That usually opens up the meaning for a deeper understanding.
Continue the conversation with God by writing more in my journal. I write about what I’m thinking of, problems I’m having, sins I’m confessing, gratefulness I’m expressing, and more.
That’s it. No DVDs, no book studies, no formal Bible studies. I’ve bought a few over the years and I don’t know that I ever completely finished one. But I’ve been pretty consistent with my simple method for many years.
Years ago I found myself in a dry spell spiritually and I listened to Cheryle Touchton in an interview. Her “Six-Week Wisdom Challenge” really helped me and I repeated it many times.
As a 19-year-old new Christian, I felt like I had a lot of catching up to do (and I still feel that way). I wanted to grow up to be a godly woman, and somehow I knew that God’s Word was a key. Thirty-four years later I’m still learning and an almost-daily quiet time has shaped my life.
I hope these tips have helped you! Please leave a comment…