In recent times, I have struggled with having a quiet time even though I am aware of all the benefits of such a time. I know the spiritual benefits: communion and personal fellowship, which are indispensable parts of building one’s relationship with God. I know the physical and psychological benefits as well – meditation is a great way to reduce stress. Despite this knowledge, it is a struggle on some days to settle my mind and sit with God. As I lie in bed, I often find that I have not spent any deliberate time with God. I may mumble a quick prayer as I fall asleep, but sometimes I just simply fall asleep.
What is a quiet time? Essentially, it is a period of private meditation, prayer, worship and study of God’s Word. Biblically, it is common knowledge that many of the great followers and prophets often went away to walk or fellowship with God. Even Jesus often withdrew to lonely places to pray (Luke 5:16). So, if Jesus did it, why can’t I? I believe it’s because I haven’t planned it into my day and consciously made it a priority.
In that case, what do I do?
Consequently, I have looked up steps to make my quiet time more consistent. I hope it helps you with yours too:
- Get into a routine: Pick a time and stick to it. As human beings, we are creatures of habit, and including a quiet time in our daily routine is a good way to guarantee consistency. Including it in your daily schedule also shows that it is a priority to you. Like showering or eating, you have set it as something that must be done on a daily basis. For people with busy and unpredictable lives, this may be easier said than done. This leads to the second suggestion.
- Move it to the morning – Get it out of the way! Not in a flippant manner, but on a practical level, assigning your quiet time a slot in the morning essentially ensures that you have a quiet time. For some reason, I have always set up my quiet time for the end of the day. However, this may not be ideal if I am to be serious about consistency. Why? By the end of the day, my mind would have already been inundated with work, obligations and random thoughts, it is so much harder to get my mind into the proper condition and I may even fall asleep if I’m really tired. Also, on a spiritual level, I should be aligning my mind before I step out for the day and giving the first fruits of my day to God. So, plan on placing it at this time, the first thing in the morning and you will see the rapid improvement.
- Identify your sleeveless errands: This step requires honest self-assessment. In my case, I realized that I could sometimes spend hours watching Netflix and YouTube videos, but become inexplicably tired when it was time to pray. What this meant was, I was too tired at this point to spend time with God in the evening, or I slept late and was too tired in the morning. So, ask yourself, what are the things that you could be spending less time, or no time on?
In his book, The Cross and The Switchblade, David Wilkerson talked about a realization he had one evening: “What would happen, Lord, if I sold that TV set and spent that time – praying?” It may not be as drastic a realization for you and me; but I have found that for every day I told myself I didn’t have enough time; I had spent time doing something infinitely less important.
- Customize your quiet time: It’s easier to look forward to your quiet time if it is enjoyable for you. I used to stick to a formula I read somewhere and in time, I found that it became tedious and boring. What works for you may not work for me. Some people can dive right into prayer while others might need to ease into the atmosphere. So, take off the pressure and focus on just spending time with God. You will eventually find your creative ways to enjoy His presence.
Like everything else in life, your quiet time will not happen if you are not deliberate about making it happen. Also, although you may have the best of intentions, your execution may be poor for lack of structure. So, as we move towards a more consistent quiet time, let’s focus on 3 keywords: Prioritize, Plan and Perform.
By: Ugonna Iheme