having your quiet time
How are you doing? We are glad to get in touch with you once again. We wish to congratulate you once again on your decision to walk with the Lord. It is the greatest decision that you will ever make, so we encourage you to keep on in Him.
Before we get started, here are some testimonies/experiences of some of us that should ‘whet your appetite’:
Soon after rededicating my life to Christ, I came across a book written by Benny Hinn– ‘Good Morning Holy Spirit’. This book spurred up in me a longing for God. I started consuming every Christian literature that could help me grow in my relationship with Him. My quiet time became my most precious time: time spent thinking about His goodness, awesomeness, and love. And with every opportunity I had, I wanted to spend it alone in God's presence and soon I was enveloped in His love.
Your quiet time should be a time you look forward to everyday. It is not supposed to be done reluctantly. If you are doing it reluctantly, then maybe you have not fully understood the purpose.
For me, particularly, it is a time to settle my activities and experiences for each day with God. As God speaks to you through His Word, you also take some time out to tell Him about your concerns, weaknesses and needs. I believe that our quiet times will make more meaning to us if we see it as a way of partnering with God to control the events of our lives according to His will. God loves us- and we should not underplay the magnitude of His love by failing to involve Him in the daily events of our lives. And we can only involve Him by being committed to regular time of fellowship with Him.
- YINKA ONI
Yep, that is right: we would be talking on quiet time. As a child of God, it is important for you to have a time when you daily meet and fellowship with God, your heavenly Father. God desires that we have fellowship with Him, just as He wants to fellowship with us. In Revelations 3:20, Jesus said: ‘"Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.’ (NLT, emphasis ours) Such a time that we set aside each day to commune with our Father in heaven is what is popularly referred to as "QUIET TIME".
WHY IS QUIET TIME IMPORTANT?
The reasons are too numerous to list. But in a nutshell, it affords us a time of personal fellowship with our Father in heaven. It is a special time with God in His presence. Here, we draw nearer to Him, to speak with Him, hear Him speak with us and become filled with the grace and power for our daily challenges and temptations. We also receive guidance for our lives (Psalms 32:8). It is like fueling vehicle for a journey (See Jesus’ example in Luke 6:12-13)
It is important to note that God dwells in us by His Holy Spirit. Hence, we can actually commune with Him (speak with and listen to Him) all day long, regardless of where we are. In fact, the Bible urges us to ‘pray continually’ (1 Thessalonians 5:17, NIV). Nevertheless, we still need times that we set aside to focus our attention on God, free of other daily distractions, in order to commune with Him and be strengthened by Him.
It is also a time to speak with Him concerning anything and everything that pertains to us. Jesus said in Mark 11:24: ‘I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you've received it, it will be yours.’ (NLT)
God is ever willing to have fellowship with us but this fellowship would not take place if we do not create the time and space for Him. "The LORD continued to appear in Shiloh, and there he revealed himself to Samuel through his word" (1 Samuel 3:21; NIV). The same experience can be ours and even more as we make out time to spend with our Father.
Therefore, we urge you to make it a daily habit to seek Him and you will certainly not regret it. ‘And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.’ (Jeremiah 29:13; NKJV) Please read up the following passages as well: Jeremiah 29:13, Amos 5:4, Hebrews 11:6b and James 4:8a.
Here are just some more reasons why quiet time is so important for the believer
The following are part of what happens when we commune with God:
ü He has access to us to shape and transform our lives (2 Corinthians 3:18)
ü He reveals and pours out His heart to us (Romans 5:5, 1 Corinthians2:10-12)
ü We discuss (talk with) Him about the things that matter to us most, no matter what it is (fear, worries, cares, difficulties, needs) and He is able to give us His Word concerning this.
ü We give Him an opportunity to be involved in our life situations (1 Peter5:7)
ü He can give us instruction and guidance in our lives; about what is best for us and only He knows what is best (Psalms 32:8, Proverbs 16:25, Proverbs 3:5-6, Proverbs 16:3, Jeremiah 10:23).
Communing with our Creator is certainly the greatest and most value privilege on earth. We must take this seriously and seek Him with all our heart and He promises that we would find Him (Jeremiah 29:13).
HOW TO GO ABOUT YOUR QUIET TIME
There are several things to be done, but probably the most important thing will be to set aside a particular time when you can regularly fellowship with our heavenly Father. Many people have found early morning to be an appropriate time. This sounds like a good idea because it is like starting your day with God and committing everything to Him. You might want to give this to try. Quiet time however could be done at any time of the day
However, this may be difficult at times. An example is when you are under your parents and have several household chores (responsibility) in the morning or you also have to be at your family altar (which is also important). In such cases, you might want to wake up earlier or find some time later in the day. Some people even wake up in the middle of the night to talk with God or some do so after the day's work. The important thing is that we find time to meet with God. A quiet place, free from distractions, also helps us concentrate better and possibly hear God more clearly (This could even be your room). See Jesus’ example:
“Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray.” (Mark 1:35; NLT, Emphasis ours)
At that time Jesus went up a hill to pray and spent the whole night there praying to God. (Luke 6:12; GNT, Emphasis ours)
After sending them home, he went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone. (Matt 14:23, NLT, Emphasis ours)
WHAT TO DO IN YOUR QUIET TIME
Here in a suggested pattern:
(1) Start With Prayer: this simply means that you should talk to God. Talk to him as to your Father. Ask Him to reveal Himself to you and help you have a good time of fellowship with Him and to experience His presence. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you into the truth of the Word (John 16:13).
(2) Adore, Worship And Praise God: It is important that we give God the honor and reverence that He deserves. Some people do this by bowing down, kneeling down, standing up, lifting up their hands and so on (See Psalm 95:6&7, 1 Timothy 2:8). But whatever method you choose, please give God the honor due to Him and do this from your heart. There are many good songs that talk about God's greatness, His love, kindness, mercy and power. Use such songs to praise and worship God. (I have personally have worship songs by the likes of Don Moen, Michael
Smith, Sinach and Nathanael Bassey helpful in the place of worship but there are so many
spiritual songs). Remember that the Holy Spirit lives inside you to help you to worship God (John 4:24). The Bible also admonishes us that ‘by Him (Jesus) let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.’ (Hebrews 13:15, NKJV, emphasis ours) So take time to declare who God is in the place of worship and thank Him for all He has done.
‘Enter his gates with thanksgiving;
go into his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him and praise his name’ (Psalms 100:4, NLT)
(3) Read The Bible: The Bible is God's Word for us, filled with numerous accounts of how God relates with mankind. It is advisable to pray and ask God to reveal to us wonderful truths of His words (See Psalm 119:18, John 16:3).We can learn about God and how to relate with Him from His Word. The Bible also lets us know who we have become through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It reveals our identity to us so that we can be all that God intends for us.
In order to ensure that you understand what you are reading, we suggest that you start with simple versions of the Bible. Examples include: New Living Translation (NLT), Good News (GNB), The Living Bible (TLB), God’s Word Translation (GWT), and New International Version (NIV). You can also compare versions to see how different versions explain a passage. (Please feel free to let us know if you have difficulties getting a Bible that is suitable for you).
Sometimes, you may not know where to start from in the Bible. We at Pens For Christ have developed some simple Bible reading plans to assist your daily Bible reading. We currently have a 45-day reading plan in the Gospel of John and an 18-day reading plan in the book of Ephesians, while others are in the pipeline. The guides provide you with a brief overview of the book of the Bible, a daily portion to read and questions to help you explore the passage. Please visit our website (www.pensforchrist.org) or send us a message (by e mail, SMS or whatsapp) to gain access to these materials.
Several devotional guides have also been developed to help people study the Bible. Some well-known ones include: Our Daily Bread, Daily Guide, Everyday With Jesus, Rhapsodies of Realities etc. Some have also been specially designed for youths/teenagers. These include: Daily Power for Youths, YP’s, Teens Altar etc. You can find these in many Christian bookshops. Again we will be glad to assist you in finding what may be most suitable for you.
However, you need to remember that even though the devotional guides may have some wonderful material, they are not the same as the Bible (God’s Word). They are only tools to help you explore, and possibly better understand God's Word. Therefore, we advise you to first of all prayerfully study the passage on your own, trusting the Holy Spirit to teach you His word. You may need to have a notebook for the purpose of jotting down whatever lessons you learn. . Thereafter, you may now read the comment in the devotional guide for additional insight.
Remember to treasure and apply these lessons to your daily life. Keep in mind this truth: ‘Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another — showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God's way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us.’ (2 Timothy 3:16-17, THE MESSAGE). See also James 1:22-25. Hence there is the need to ask yourself how the lessons you learn applies to you and then make use of each lesson as from then on. You may use the acronym 'SPECK' as a guide (S-sin to confess, P-promise to claim, Example to follow, C-command to obey, K-knowledge to gain)
(4) End With Prayer: Talk to the Father about what you have learnt and ask for His help to live by the lessons learnt. As you pray, remember to ‘give Him all your cares and worries’ (1 Peter 5:7 NLT). Other things you may want to pray about include: yourself and others around you: your family, your friends and so on. You should also pray for people who need to receive God’s gift of eternal through Jesus Christ. You can also pray for your church, school and nation; for God's will to be done (see 1Timothy 2:1-4). In essence, we should pray about anything and everything. Nothing is too big to pray for and nothing is too small. See Paul’s charge in Ephesians 6:18: ‘Pray in the Spirit in every situation. Use every kind of prayer and request there is. For the same reason be alert. Use every kind of effort and make every kind of request for all of God's people.’ (GOD’S WORD)
It is a useful idea to have a list of things you to pray for on each day of week from Sunday to Saturday. But above all, we need to depend upon the Holy Spirit to help us pray as we should: ‘And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don't know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God's own will.’ (Romans 8:26-27, NLT). Our Lord, Jesus said:"Until now you have not asked anything in my name. Ask and you will receive and your joy will be complete"(John. 16:24 NIV).
If we will grow in our walk with God, we must build up our prayer life (Jude 20). You probably have heard that “a prayer less Christian is a powerless Christian" because prayer connects us with God’s power. But more importantly, through prayer, we enter into communion with our heavenly Father. As a Father, He desires that we enjoy spending time with Him. And not only so, we depend on Him for existence and if we must live a ‘rich and satisfying life’ that Jesus came to give us. (John 10:10, NLT). The words of Jesus are quite clear: ‘I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.’ (John 15:5, NIV; emphasis ours)
It must be noted that the above is only a suggested plan, which we believe would be helpful. It is not a rigid rule. What is important is to meet regularly with God. Again it is important to stay in tune with His Spirit throughout the day bearing in mind that He is always with you, thereby acknowledging Him in all you do. You can sing and make melodies in your heart throughout the day (Eph 5:18-20), but this should not be a substitute to finding time to regularly meet with God.
DEALING WITH CHALLENGES:
As we round up this article, we thought it wise to highlight some problems that may crop up in having one’s quiet time. A few have already been discussed, such as the issue of time, what to do and where to study in the Bible but here we mention one more while sharing some personal experiences.
Guilt/Unworthiness: Often times when we come into God's presence, we feel a sense of guilt or unworthiness as if we are not good enough to appear before God. This may be because of something we did wrong or a behavior we have. While it is true that God is holy, and His eyes cannot behold iniquity (Habakkuk 1:13), it is also true that only God can cleanse, purify and even help us to live a life of pleasing to Him. Imagine that a wounded man feels too dirty to see a neat Doctor. He will only die of the wound. In the same way, Jesus is the only doctor who can help our weakness and who has shed His blood to blot away our sins. Therefore, let us boldly come before Him to receive the grace that He offers. See Hebrews 4:15-16, Hebrews 10:19-22, 1 John 1:7-2:1 and John1:29). So next time you feel unworthy in the presence of God, remember that Jesus has paid the price to make you right before God (Romans 8:1). (You can also request our article on ‘Overcoming Guilt’ or click: http://www.pensforchrist.org/article/overcoming-guilt
Distractions: Many things can constitute a distraction: noise in environment, work that needs to be done, your mobile phone or even people around you. This is one reason why waking up early might be a good idea, as well as using a place that won’t compete for your attention. Nevertheless, as we have earlier mentioned, you can choose whatever time of the day that fits into your schedule. You will also need to be disciplined not just to do what you feel like doing but what you need to do. We trust that as you start out realizing the value of fellowship with your Father, He will fill you with wisdom on how best to handle possible distractions around you.
Lack of Time: Sometimes it may almost seem like you don’t even have enough time in a day for yourself, let alone for quiet time. Nevertheless, we almost always make out time for whatever is important to us. Have you ever been too busy to eat? You probably will find time to eat because it is essential to your life. In the same way, and even more, we must realize the importance of being fed by the Word of God. Our Lord Jesus said: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.' (Matthew 4:4, NIV). Communing with our Father is the necessary fuel for our daily journey. So try and make the time, no matter how short and no matter what time of the day.
Read also what one of us has to share:
One thing that hindered me in my effort to relate with God as closely as I wanted was the belief that I had to pray for a particular length of time before I would have really prayed. In my case, I thought I had to pray for one hour. Over and over I failed reaching the mark. And I felt I could never really pray as I should. What helped me, however, was the realization that I can start out small and increase the time gradually. As I started small and knew that God was not angry me for spending a short time with Him, I found out that I could increase the time as I enjoyed His presence: praying and meditating on the word of God and indeed I have.
We hope that this article has been a blessing to you. We look forward to hearing you. We want to know how your quiet time has been with God as well as any challenges or problems that you may be encountering in spending time with God or in any other aspect of your relationship with God. We want to read your comments, questions and even prayer requests.
You might want to study the following passages and see how other people have enjoyed God's presence: Psalms 27:4, Psalms 42:1-2, Psalms 63:1-6, Psalms 73: 22-28, Psalms 84:1-10, Isaiah 40:25-31, Philippians 3:10 and 1John1:3.
Please complete the Bible study and send to us along with any other comments, questions or prayer request.
But always remember that God loves you and wants to spend time with you. And so on some occasion, you could even make out a whole day or night or day just to be with God in His presence. But remember: you don't have to be perfect at once. Start small and gradually increase your quantity and quality of some time spent with God. And please ask for the Holy Spirit's help.
We love you.
For ‘Pens For Christ’.