The laundry is piled up, there are clean dishes in the dishwasher and dirty ones in the sink, the grass needs cutting and the flowerbeds need weeding and trimming. There’s vacuuming to be done and someone has been really cute and drawn “dust me” on the sofa table. However, you’re still determined to have some quiet time with God, so you go to a place where you can be alone for a few minutes of prayer and Bible reading.
You settle down and breathe in the stillness until you feel the pressure and issues of daily life subside. As you begin your time with God, it takes less than 60 seconds for the phone to ring in the other room. Your kids begin to squabble and your spouse calls your name. Your cell phone (which you brought into the prayer room, for shame!) begins the insistent little tone notifying you of a new text message or Facebook post. Your peace is shattered and you think, “What the heck, no quiet time today!” and reach for your phone while going to see what your spouse needs and mediate between the kids (in my case the cat and the dog!).
Before I go any further please understand that this is a no judgment zone. There is no condemnation, I need every article written just as badly (probably more!) as anyone else.
Quiet time is difficult for most people because, just like most things, it doesn’t come naturally; it’s a skill learned through discipline. Yep, I said the “d” word, discipline. We are so entrenched in the busyness and noise of every-day life that, in the frenzy of activities we consider important and necessary, we have missed learning the discipline of quiet time with God and the beauty and blessings that come from it. Part of the exercise of quiet time with God and meditating on Scripture is making time and keeping the appointment.
If we stop for a moment to think about the world we live in, noise and distractions are everywhere. However, other than outside influences, there is an inner challenge. Have you ever noticed that when you have time with God for Bible reading and prayer, sometimes your mind wanders and five minutes after beginning you’re mentally going through your to-do list for the day or thinking about an upcoming vacation or social event – everything but a conversation with God! These inner distractions can be just a disruptive when it comes to having quiet time with God.
What you have to realize is that you live in enemy-occupied territory, and Satan hates for you to spend quiet time with God. It is his goal to prevent you in any way, shape, form or fashion from keeping that appointment. He knows that the more time you spend with God the more God’s goals on this earth will be accomplished. Satan also knows that the more time you spend with God the more you will mirror God’s image and be able to resist temptation and walk in faith through trials. Satan wants all to perish and spend eternity in hell but, praise God, though he can cause all sorts of trouble for God’s children (and does at every opportunity!); he is no match for God! The next time distractions, both outer and inner, threaten to keep you from your appointment with God, remember who is standing in your way, and then remember who is greater!
Earlier this year I was able to go to the beach on a personal retreat with only Toby Dog for company. It was just before Unity went live and I spent a lot of the time writing articles and organizing content. However, I also set structured time during the day for meditation and quiet time with God. In the beauty of the wild, untamed ocean setting, I realized not only how joyful it is to be quiet before God, but also how necessary it is if you really want to know God. The Bible even tells us that it’s how to know God and deepen your relationship with Him.
“Be still, and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10
There are many benefits to quiet time with God:
- We find God in a deeper, more personal way and learn more about His nature
- We grow in the skill of meditation on Scripture, leading to a better understanding of His Word
- We learn to shut out external distractions and inwardly dwell in God’s presence
- We strengthen our relationship with God by living out the first commandment to love God with all of your heart, soul and strength
From time to time I have given you little secrets about my character. Here’s another one – I’m not a morning person. I love my sleep and can become quiet possessive and protective over it. I’ll hit the snooze button more than once just to have a few more minutes of sleep. However, in the last couple of years I have disciplined myself to getting up earlier and not hitting the snooze button in order to have quiet time with God as the first thing in my day. Just the simple act of opening my Bible in the morning before the daily grind begins acknowledges that I need God. It is a humble expression of submission and giving my day to Him. What I have learned is that by doing this, it not only sets the tone for the day, I am better able to handle the trials, temptations and stressors that happen every day, no matter the form. If someone tries my patience, I am less likely to snap and more inclined to see them through God’s love and with His Eyes. I am closer to Him, so when temptations come to binge on junk food or take a break from exercise (not if but when!), I can more clearly discern the Spirit’s gentle reproach to take care of His temple and find it hard to fall back into the sins of laziness and gluttony.
I pray that each of you will take time daily to have a heart-to-heart time with God. Find a place where you can focus and, if there are others in your household, let them know that when you are in your quiet room you are not to be disturbed. It should be a place of isolation (no television, cell phone or any other distraction) where you shut the door on the world and open the roof to heaven. There is no time limit.
God looks favorably on those who spend time with Him and in His Word daily. He longs to spend quality time with you. If you discipline yourself to make those appointments with Him and keep them, you’ll find that your daily walk with Him will be more perfect. Things that are usually difficult to do, including walking the walk of a daily healthy lifestyle, will be easier and your life will be more joyful.
Consider what He was willing to do for you in order to reunite you with Him. Is it asking too much to devote daily time to Him?
Jeremiah 29:13 – 14: You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord.
Mark 1:35: Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed.
Prayer: Father God, I thank you for your amazing love, a love that is on a scale I can never comprehend. I know that You are reaching out to me and want me to grow in my relationship with you. I ask that You give me the will and discipline to set aside time with You and to keep those appointments, even when I don’t feel worthy, loving or even eager to do so. I trust You, and know that if I continue to show up, You will too. In Jesus’ most precious and holy name I pray, Amen.