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How to Have a Quite Time
The life of a Christian is a journey toward knowing God on a personal, one-on-one level. One way to enrich that journey is by taking time for a quiet time or devotional everyday. This activity is different from studying the bible which is also very important, in that it is a time for reflection and listening to God. We can look to Jesus for the example of spending time with God. He frequently would remove himself from his followers to have intimate time with his Father. Luke 5:16 tells us that "Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed."
This article describes how to have a quiet time using only your Bible and a journal. There are many ways to have a quiet time but I have found this to be my favorite.
Gather Your Supplies
The supplies for this quiet time method are very simple; all you need is a Bible in your favorite translation, a journal, and a pen. When choosing a Bible look at several translations, read a few passages in each one and see which you like best. Also make sure the print is large enough to read easily.
Next choose a journal; this can be as simple as a spiral notebook or a beautiful bound book type journal. With one trip to a bookstore you can find journals in every size and budget. I like the journals that are ruled with lines; I find it easier to write. The only other thing you need is a pen and you're all set.
Check Your Schedule
It's unfortunate but with our hectic schedules it is sometimes difficult to fit in time with God. I have found that if I make it a priority and include it in my schedule it is easier than waiting until I actually "have" the time. In other words get out your calendar, daytimer, or iphone and choose a time each day for you and God. There is no right time although many people find that starting the day with a quiet time prepares you for the rest of the day. This may have been Jesus' favorite time as well, "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." Mark 1:35
Some people find it helpful to begin their quiet time with a devotional reading.
Start With Prayer
Once you have found a quiet place, begin with prayer. Ask God to speak to you during this time and to reveal Himself through your reading. Also ask Him to give you insight and understanding to what you are reading.
Remember, you are not doing bible study so this is not the time to look up references or the original Greek words or commentaries (although these are worthwhile things to do just not during a quiet time). Let the Holy Spirit reveal God's personal message to you through His Word.
Find a Quiet Place
The most important aspect of the quiet time is to actually be quiet. Find a place where you are alone and away from any distractions. If weather permits, an outside location can be great where you are surrounded by God's creation. However, the quietness of a cozy nook in a quiet part of your home can also be very calming. Just choose a place where you can be free of everyday stress, for example having your quiet time in your home office may remind you of work that needs to be done. Even if you are away from home at a hotel or a friends house there is usually some little corner where you can be alone, especially if it's early in the morning or late at night.
Choose a Passage
Choosing what you are going to read can be a little tricky but don't get bogged down in trying to find just the right thing. The Bible is written to reveal God's character so whatever you read God will use to bring you closer to Him. Some people like to start at the beginning in Genesis and work their way through, however I feel that when you are just starting to have a quiet time it's best to start with the New Testament. John is a good place to start followed by Romans and then any of Paul's other Letters such as Philippians or Galatians.
The books are divided up by chapters and most bibles provide further divisions using subtitles. Read a passage using these divisions; read through it once and then read it again this time underlining anything that jumps out at you.
Open Your Journal
You have asked God to speak to you through His Word, you have read His Word, now open your journal. Write the date and the scripture reference you have read. Now write out the verses or words that you have underlined. Under each write out what you believe God is saying to you through these words; do this for each sentence you have underlined. Ask yourself several questions. What is God saying to me? Why did these words, sentences jump out at me? Is there something going on in my life that could be influenced by this passage? What attribute of God (unfailing love, all powerful, all knowing, etc.) is expressed in these words?
Next read the passage again and then meditate on what you have written. Now write a few sentences on how you will apply what you have learned to your daily life. Try to be specific. For example, after reading Ephesians 3:10, "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do" I might write about remembering that I am God's creation when I start worrying about what I'm going to wear or if my hair looks perfect, or this passage could also speak to me about keeping an eye out for the good works God has prepared for me by being aware of my surroundings and others circumstances. When writing your application sentences, remember to consider the context surrounding the passage you are looking at.
End in Prayer
End your quiet time the way you began, with prayer. Thank God for what He has revealed to you and ask Him to help you with your application. Also pray for those you will come in contact with today and ask that He would make you a blessing to each of them.
There you have it! It is my prayer that you will be enriched by following this guideline for a quiet time and that ultimately you would find your ideal way to deepen your relationship with God through your savior Jesus Christ.