Questions and Answers About a Personal Devotional Time

Question:  What time in the day is the best time for a quiet time? 

Answer:  The best time of the day for most people is in the morning simply because it is the time of a fresh start to the day’s challenges and gives you perspective on your day to come before you enter in to it.  But ultimately, the best time for a quiet time is when you can get quiet time alone with the Lord (or at least as alone as possible).  Different people have different rhythms to their lives and to their days.  For some it is possible that noon or evening or midnight is their most productive time to connect with God.  There is no wrong or right answer to this question.

Question:  How should I start and end my quiet time? 

Answer:  There is room for individuality here.  Some might prefer to begin with a song of worship, some with a posture of kneeling, others with a reading of the Bible, and still others with prayer.  The point is to connect with God.  You know when you are talking with someone and yet you are really detached.  For our quiet times to accomplish their purpose we need to engage with God.  Often a simple prayer is a good beginning:  “Lord, help me to engage with you today.  Open my heart and mind to Your Word.  Show me what you want me to know and do.”

Question:  How does a quiet time really impact you each day? 

Answer:  As with a trusted friend or spouse, you know that there are days when just being able to say, “thanks for being my friend,” or “I love you,” is enough to further the relationship.  On other days a lengthy conversation in which important issues are covered is the very thing you needed to refresh and re-establish the closeness in your relationship.  It is this way in our relationship with God.  On some days we are ready to take in rich and lavish meals; on other days we can handle minimum nourishment.  Sometimes great changes are embarked upon; some days small reassurances are achieved.  But we connect with the living God, and when we do, something of His life seeps into our own, and we are enlivened, whether in big or small measure.

Question:  I know it is important to have a quiet time, but how important is it really since our pastor does such a good job of teaching the Bible? 

Answer:  Quiet times should not be mistaken for Bible training times, though you may bring a studious disposition to your time.  They are for connecting with God in an intimate way.  Though my wife and I might connect for the purpose of discussing our financial expenditures, and though this might create some intimacy in our bond, it is the discussion we have about the values we agree on in the spending of our money and the joy we share as we work together that most deepens our relationship.  Good Bible teaching is essential to good discipleship, but the quiet time is all about building intimate relationship.

Question:  What are the barriers to spending quality quiet time with God? 

Answer:  Just as you will likely have an unproductive interaction with a friend if there are outward or inward distractions, or if you do not give full attention to him or her, you will likely have an unproductive interaction with God if you are tired or distracted by other concerns or just going through the motions to make it look good.  There are no brownie points with God for having a quiet time.  He wants to have close fellowship with us.  If we stay up all night playing and expect to have a refreshing quiet time early the next morning, it probably won’t happen.  If we’re coming to Him to be able to say that we had our quiet time today, it probably won’t be of much quality.  Parents raising newborns will find it very difficult to have quality quiet times, at least as they measure them by previous times of uninterrupted quiet and emotional energy.  Children are a seeming distraction from God and others but do not have to be.  We will find ourselves needing to switch to a new mode of small bursts of relationship with God and meaningful others during this unusually stressful time.

Question:  What are some methods for doing a quiet time?

Answer:  Here are some suggestions…

Read a passage of Scripture (its best not to jump around, so start in a book of the Bible and stay there awhile) until God causes some portion of it to stand out to you.  Meditate and pray over this portion until you identify what God is saying to you.  Ask Him to help you put into practice whatever principles or commands or knowledge you discern.

Use a daily devotional guide like Our Daily Bread or The Upper Room, or a devotional book with daily meditations or one with groupings of Scripture on a theme (Streams in the Desert, et al).

Journal your way through a book of the Bible recording your prayers, thoughts and actions to attempt in application of what you read.

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