How To Have A Meaningful Quiet Time With The Lord
One evening, a speaker visiting the United States long ago wanted to make a telephone call. He entered a phone booth but found it different from those in his own country. It was beginning to get dark, so he had difficulty finding the number in the directory. He noticed a light in the ceiling, but he didn’t know how to turn it on. As he tried again to find the number in the fading twilight, a passer-by noticed his plight and said, “Sir, if you want to turn the light on, you have to shut the door.” The booth was filled with light to the visitor’s amazement and satisfaction when he closed the door. He soon located the number and completed the call.
Similarly, we must block out our busy lives and draw inside a quiet place to have God shine his light in our hearts. Yet, many Christians often neglect this crucial Christian discipline. Hopefully, this post will encourage Christians to consistently practice this discipline by asking and answering four questions related to this subject.
However, before we look at the questions, let us remember one important truth. Quiet time is not a means to gain favor from the Lord but is evidence of showing our love and dependence upon our good Lord. We are not working for grace but from grace. Put it another way, our right standing before God comes only through repentance from sin and faith in the shed blood of Christ for our sins. We are saved by grace alone through faith alone and by Christ alone. Quiet time is a spiritual discipline that follows salvation, not the cause of salvation. It is not a means through which we gain favor with the Lord.
With that said, let us proceed.
1. What is a Quiet Time?
It is daily time a person spends alone with God in Bible reading [God speaking to us] and in Prayer [us speaking to God].
2. Who should have a Quiet Time?
Every Christian should have a quiet time with the Lord. We read in 1 Corinthians 1:9, “God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” The word “fellowship” means to share or have things in common. It speaks of an intimate relationship. God created humans to fellowship with him, as seen in Genesis 1-2. While Adam’s sin broke our relationship with God, God restores that broken relationship through Christ. And this relationship is nurtured through ongoing fellowship and quiet time is one means through which fellowship can be fostered and renewed.
3. Why should one have a Quiet Time?
The reasons are many. Here are some.
1. Know more about Christ. Even at the later stages of his life, Paul’s longing was “I want to know Christ” [Phil 3:10]. Knowledge about Christ increases as one spends more time alone studying God’s word that reveals all we need to know about him.
2. Seek direction. David cried out, “4 Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. 5 Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long” [Psa 25:4-5]. We are sheep that need constant direction from the Good Shepherd. As we spend time alone with him, he directs us through his word.
3. Strengthened in the faith. The Christian life is not a bed of roses. Challenges abound. We are reminded that “Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed” [Lk 5:16]. If our Lord and Master set aside time to be alone with the Father, can we neglect this discipline? The three enemies of the Christian—the flesh, the world, and Satan constantly threaten to derail our faith. Only by being alone with God and thus being strengthened in our faith can we fight these powerful and relentless enemies!
Other reasons could be added. But these 3 should be enough to convince us of the need to spend quiet time with the Lord in order to be strengthened for our daily walk on this earth.
4. How can one have a meaningful Quiet Time?
Since knowledge without obedience is useless, let us look at the “how-to” of this particular spiritual discipline. There are three things worthy of our consideration.
1. A Regular Time. At a minimum, believers should set regular times to spend time with the Lord every morning and every night. We cannot start the day without looking to the Lord. Hudson Taylor speaking on the importance of morning devotions, said this, “You do not tune up your instruments after the concert is over, but before!”
In order to get up in time for morning devotions, one needs to go to bed at a reasonable time. We need to pray and ask the night before to help us get up in the morning to spend time with the Lord. And as the alarm goes off in the morning, rather than thinking about getting up, we must get up right away. We need to be aware that the battle for getting up is usually won or lost in the first five seconds. We must strive to give first preference to the Lord.
In addition, we need to end the day with the Lord. He has carried us through the day. He deserves to be thanked! That’s why we must avoid doing night-time devotions half-asleep. The Lord does deserve our full attention!
While everyone needs to work out the amount of time individually, we can try to give at least 20 minutes every morning and 20 minutes every night and then increase as time goes on. Furthermore, as time permits, we must strive to spend at least a few minutes communing with the Lord during the day. In addition, on the weekend, one can try to set aside more time to be spent with the Lord.
2. A Regular Place. If possible, it is good to have a private and comfortable place where one can commune with the Lord without distractions [e.g., TV, internet, cell phone, etc.]. Privacy can be of great help in our communion with the Lord. For some, it may be a place in the home or even in their car. Whatever the location, we need to find a place to call it our “private closet.”
3. A Regular Pattern. The Bible is not a book of random thoughts. God has given his revelation in a progressive and systematic manner. Therefore, we must develop and follow a consistent bible reading plan that will help us study the entire Scriptures. In addition to studying Scriptures, we need to spend time in prayer. Prayer should include praising, confessing, thanking, and petitioning God.
Now that we have briefly seen the 4 questions, here are some concluding thoughts.
It takes about 4 weeks for any activity to become a habit. If we have not been consistent with our quiet time, why not start immediately—tonight or tomorrow morning? If we wait till we “feel” like practicing this discipline, the flesh [and the devil] will ensure that the feeling will not come.
Yes, a Christian at times experiences dryness during quiet times. However, those are not reasons to give up. It’s during those times that we need to stay even more closer to the Lord! Many [including pastors] have attested that their quiet time had diminished [if not completely stopped] before they fell into sin.
We need to examine our own lives and ask a serious question: If we are struggling with sin or not experiencing much spiritual growth or joy in our Christian life, could it be due to a lack of consistent quiet time with the Lord? If so, may we repent of this sin and set things right immediately.
Early African converts to Christianity were earnest and regular in private devotions. Each one reportedly had a separate spot in the thicket where he would pour out his heart to God. Over time the paths to these places became well worn. As a result, if one of these believers began to neglect prayer, it was soon apparent to the others. They would kindly remind the negligent one, “Brother, the grass grows on your path.”
Let’s examine our lives: Has the grass grown on our paths? If so, it’s not too late. Let’s repent and ask the Lord to help us get back on track through the power of the Holy Spirit. He will hear our sincere cry. He will help us get back on track and enjoy our fellowship with him.
And finally, let’s remember, quiet time is a privilege and joy of a redeemed heart—a heart that has already entered into fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Let’s experience this fellowship all the days of our remaining earthly life!