In recent months my quiet time with God has become more of a lifeline than ever. But I'm glad to report that as that sweet, simple and fairly short time alone with Jesus has become more necessary and critical to my survival, it has also become a greater source of joy. I absolutely love spending time in solitude with my God each morning.
And I couldn't always say that.
After I became a believer in Jesus Christ at the age of 8, I soon learned from my Sunday School teachers and pastor that a Christian should take some time each day to pray and read their Bible. And being the good little perfectionist that I was at the time, I committed to do just that. So I've had some type of "quiet time" with God most of my life.
However, it's not always been daily, consistent, meaningful, fruitful or even heartfelt. I've had seasons when my times with the Lord were very intentional, but quite unfulfilling. I've had other times when I've been sporadic at best about drawing aside to pray and read my Bible. And I've had long, tear-filled and emotional quiet times as well as mechanical, short and meaningless ones.
I tell you this simply to encourage you to persevere, even when you go through "dry" seasons with the Lord. He has paid such a high price for our salvation and the opportunity to have a relationship with us. We more than owe it to Him to commit at least a few minutes each day to sit at His feet and listen.
But beyond those meager words of encouragement, I want you to understand that consistent and exponential spiritual growth will never take place apart from investing in a daily time alone with your God. If you want to grow in Christ-likeness and know the heart of God, if you desire to worship Him in truth and in spirit, and if you want to receive all the spiritual benefits He promises in His Word, you must commit to sitting at His feet each day.
The 3rd key for spiritual growth is simply
having a daily quiet time with God.
How do you have a quiet time? Well, like the time we spend with most friends or dear family members, that time of conversation with our God will evolve over the years. It is quite natural and normal for your time with God to feel a little clumsy and, well, quiet, when you first commit to spending daily time with Him. You may falter for what to talk about; your language may feel stilted and formal; you may have a hard time hearing clearly from Him; and you certainly may feel like the minutes drag.
But don't give up! Invest in a good devotional guide such as Sarah Young's Jesus Calling or Nanacy Leigh DeMoss's The Quiet Place, both of which I have been through and highly recommend. There are many other equally good devotional guides out there, including my own A Taste of Satisfaction, but I suggest you choose one that supplies you with at least one scripture to look at in your Bible. I'm a big believer in opening your Bible during your quiet time with God.
Use your devotional guide or simply a chapter of a chosen book of the Bible as a launching place for your quiet time, much like you would use an open-ended question as a conversation starter with a new friend or group. Listen to what God has to say to you through the scripture and through the devotional guide. Then, in the presence of God, aware of His desire to speak to you and His huge love for you, sit quietly and meditate on what you have read. Think it through. Chew on it. Journal about it if you choose.
Finally, talk to God about what you have read from His Word. Ask Him to continue to speak to you throughout the day about what He has shown you. Ask Him to open your eyes and ears so that you can see and hear Him communicate with you all day.
Of course you'll also be able during your quiet time to simply share with the Lord other things that are on your heart. Talk to Him about your cares, your burdens, your hurts. Share your joys and excitement and dreams as well. You can even "tell on" the other people in your life who are frustrating you or hurting you! And definitely ask Him to advise you, teach you, encourage you and correct you.
With consistency and perseverence your quiet time will grow more and more enjoyable. And it will become more fruitful and meaningful, too. You will find yourself developing a deep, personal and intimate relationship with your Lord, and you will begin to long for even more time with Him.
I have found that a daily quiet time with the Lord gives me:
- His perspective on my issues
- wisdom for handling problems
- more love for other people
- truth to live by
- a sweet and abiding sense of His companionship
- satisfaction in my soul
- a greater hunger for His Word
- the ability to sift through the other "voices" that speak to me
- clarity of thought
- sustaining gratitude, even through trying times
- and so much more.
What benefits have you gained from having a daily quiet time with God? Or, if you are struggling with having a few moments to sit at God's feet each day, what are your greatest hindrances to this spiritual discipline? Let's talk about it!
Labels: 7 Keys to Spiritual Growth, daily quiet time