When I first became Christian, I’ll be honest, I was completely lost when people spoke to me about their ‘quiet times’. I knew about prayer and scripture, but they were things I scheduled into the day when I had time. I kinda assumed it meant that they just sat quietly in stillness (which can be a part of it for some, but for me the chronic fidget, seemed way too daunting). It wasn’t until I began watching videos, speaking to more mature Christians, and reading more about it that I began to fully understand what it meant to fully dedicate a part of your day to spend time with the Lord.
Below you will find my current quiet time routine and hopefully a few tips to help you with yours. Please note, that this is my ideal,when I ‘adult’ properly and am well rested and on top of things. There are days, especially in this season of grief, that I can only wholeheartedly do some of these things. Although I prefer being able to do everything, I want to always make sure I am doing it to have relationship with God, to spend time with Him, rather than following a perfect routine with a half heart. I have also been working with developing my quiet time for over a year and it will likely change, as I change, and my relationship with God changes. We are all different, in different seasons, different parts of our walks, and called to do different things by God; thus, how we communicate and spend time with God will also differ. This is true from the timing of our routines (time of day, how long) and of how we go about them.
So feel free to try out some of the steps below, but if something doesn’t work for you, stop, or if you feel you do like something, but would change it up slightly, do so. Your quiet time is about you and God, and as I said in my last post, God only calls us to be ourselves and to relate to Him as we are, not as someone else.
Prayer: How to pray and prayer journals
I usually start my quiet time with prayer. Sometimes it’s an intentional prayer before I read, other days it’s that with prayer throughout this special time. I also usually pray throughout the day (kind of like an ongoing dialogue with God), with dedicated prayer time in the evening before bed. During my quiet time, I am mainly praying that my heart will be open to God’s word, that He will guide me through my reflection and reading of His Word, and that He will also guide my day.
Another area where I add prayer into my routine is through a prayer journal. I write out prayers for myself and those in my life. Sometimes they are based on my own observations (more than likely God speaking to my heart about them), other times they are specific requests they have asked. Recently, I have also begun to ask my husband, Austin, if he has anything he would like me to specifically pray for. I like keeping a prayer journal, as it helps me to look back and see how prayers were answered.
Scripture: How to read and study
The Bible is God’s Word, so to properly communicate with Him, we need to read it and meditate on it, as Psalms 1:2 says:
“but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night”.
There are a variety of ways to read your Bible and to study it. We all read and learn in a unique ways, so this may be an area where you try a few different methods before finding something that really clicks in your heart. When I first started, I just read through whatever I felt I should be reading and that was it. And though this is okay, my soul still craved a deeper connection. So I began taking note of where a verse or series of verses stood out. Sometimes I would highlight or underline those verses. I used to use a different color for each reason it could have stood out; for instance, pink would mean it stood out as a message to me and blue for verses I felt were meant for me to share with someone else. As I began to get more into the habit of reading, I began finding new ways to study and reflect on what was being read. Ultimately, our readings of scripture should be kept within the context of both wisdom/instruction and a conversation with God.
Reflection: Digging deeper into scripture
Over time, I began to realize that it is important to go beyond just reading the Word. To truly cement it into your heart, we need to learn to go a bit deeper, to help further our understanding. Something I have tried is to write out each verse that stood out in a selection of reading, and then afterwards, journal about why that verse stood out to me, specifically what I thought God was trying to tell me. Another thing I have tried is similar to how I used to study in university, by trying to recall what I had learned, by explaining it in a way that someone who had never read it could learn, almost as if I were teaching someone who had never heard it before (teaching method). At present I am trying out the SOAP method, and so far so good. It’s similar to how I usually study scripture, so it works well and is helping me to develop my prayer life a bit more in context of the scriptures I have just read.
How we meditate and reflect on the Word of God will also vary from person to person. There is no right or wrong way to do it, we only need an intentional heart and a desire to affix God’s word within us. For instance, my husband is very passionate about apologetics and evangelism, so he usually undertakes in depth studies and incorporates notes from a study bible (we both currently use the MacArthur Study Bible) to provide context and theological understanding. He also tends to cross reference related scripture and practices recalling which verses are related to what he just read (his memory for scripture is something I deeply admire in him). Due to his interest in apologetics, he also uses a debate method to help remember scripture, so he anticipates questions someone may raise against what he just read and uses what he learned to defend it. (Side note: I am probably not doing justice to his study methods, his devotion to God was one of the first things that caught my interest in him, his heart for the Lord is truly awe inspiring, and something I deeply cherish in him. He also encourages me to serve God better myself.)
As you can see, both of us study and reflect on the Word in different ways. Both of us stick to how we personally learn and utilize methods relevant to how we would use the scripture in our daily lives (like how I prefer to journal written reflections, which helps me write for this blog). These aren’t even the only methods out there, so experiment, and remember that as you grow in your faith and develop your spiritual gifts, your methods will likely change.
Both my husband and I read Christian books and watch Christian videos to help us further develop our faith. It is important to note three things when it comes to supplemental sources:
- That you properly discern the material before, during, and after you read them, to ensure they are based on scripture and aren’t deviating from the true Word of God. The Word of God is your primary and if something is contrary to scripture, it is best to be avoided.
- Sometimes a Christian writer may be biblically sound in one area, but vastly mistaken in another area. This is why discernment and prudence is key. Sometimes we tend to admire certain speakers and writers and want to absorb everything they put out there, but if we do this blindly, we may be taking in something contrary to God’s Word and Law. We are only human, so we are going to make mistakes. I will likely make mistakes in my own writing and speaking, if anyone ever notices a deviation from scripture or a misunderstanding, feel free to contact me or comment below.
- The Bible should be your first and primary source. It isn’t necessary to read or watch works by other Christians. It is certainly good for learning and inspiration, but we should be going to our Bibles first. This way, as noted above, we can properly discern if what we are reading, watching, and listening to is based on solid scriptural understanding. This is also good when trying to find a church, to ensure that the community and pastor are biblically sound as well (but this is a whole other article that needs to be written, or maybe even a video).
With that in mind, I either read a Christian book during my quiet time or at different point in the day. I usually prefer to separate these from my main study, but sometimes I join the two for timing ease. I usually like to read books about missionaries, helpful books for my season in life, and articles on improving my Christian walk. I also like to watch YouTube videos by fellow Christians, to help support their channels, and to become inspired by how they incorporate their faith within their own lives.
There are so many different resources out there ranging from singleness and marriage, theological fiction, apologetics, to Bible studies. You can learn about missions and missionaries or simple how to guides. As long as we turn to our Bibles first, there is an endless array of Christian content to both help us during our spiritual walks and to replace content that is detrimental to our walks (also a topic for another time).
I hope that you enjoyed a quick look at how I do my quiet time and that some of the explanations above are helpful to you. If you have any questions, feel free to comment below or send me a message. I have also included some helpful links below:
A video by Cambria Joy on how to study your Bible
Highlighters, journals, and studies available at Daily Grace Co
An article on prayer by Girl Defined