Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. (1 Tim. 6:17-18)

Friday, May 1, 2009

18 Strategies for an effective quiet time

To feel most beautifully alive means to be rea...Image by Yves. via Flickr

  1. Meet with God on a consistent, daily basis. Strong relationships are based on consistent lines of communication. If you're showing up for quiet time on an irregular basis, consider adding your quiet time on your daily calendar and list of daily priorities.

  2. Meet with God early in the morning. Even if you are not a morning person, there is something about the calm and peace of the early morning hours that allows prayerful, meditative reading of God's Word. As we move throughout a busy day, our minds become cluttered with the cares of this life, but in the early morning hours we are usually not as consumed with these thoughts.

  3. Meet with God in a quiet, private space. Whatever place you choose, be sure to be in a space that is free from as many distractions as possible.

  4. Consider meeting with God in a natural setting. God's Word says that "The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands." There is something powerful about reading the Word and spending time in prayer in the great outdoors. We can experience first-hand God's creative power.

  5. Open your time with prayer. Before you begin, ask the Lord to open your heart and mind to being receptive to what He wants to teach you from His Word.

  6. Have a plan. In the great information age in which we live, there are so many devotional resources available to us that it can be extremely overwhelming. I highly recommend The Daily Bible as a great way to keep you in the Word on a consistent basis.

  7. Read Scripture with a purpose. Don't just read for informational purposes. Attempt to discern what the Lord is trying to teach you today through His Word.

  8. Meditate on what you have read. Meditation on God's Word is simply reflecting on or pondering over what we have just read. As you read, underline especially meaningful portions of Scripture, then go back and reflect upon those specific verses.

  9. Pray Scripture back to God. Similar to #8, as we meditate on God's Word, we can pray back to Him specific promises given in His Word. We can also take the written prayers in the Bible and make them personal by inserting our name. For example, take Psalm 51:10-13:

    God, create a clean heart for Larry and renew a steadfast spirit within him.
    Do not banish him from Your presence or take Your Holy Spirit from him.
    Restore the joy of Your salvation to Larry, and give him a willing spirit.
    Then he will teach the rebellious Your way, and sinners will return to You.

  10. Memorize Scripture. Bible verse memorization is rarely emphasized anymore, especially in adult circles. When I was younger, I memorized a great quantity of verses and even entire chapters of the Bible due to our Sunday School and Awana programs. To this day, those verses often come to my mind in specific situations. You might also consider writing down meaningful verses on 3x5 cards and reading over them on a regular basis. If you do this enough, you will eventually have them memorized.

  11. Pray. Once you have read and meditated on God's Word, then spend an extended time in prayer, offering up to God adoration, confession of sin, thanksgiving, and finally specific requests.

  12. Keep a devotional journal. Buy yourself a notebook or journal and write about what God is teaching you through His Word as well as specific prayer requests and God's answers to those prayers.

  13. Supplement your Bible reading with additional faith-based books. Please note that I am not encouraging you to replace your reading of Scripture with Christian literature, but faith-based books can be a great "in addition to" way to learn more about our Lord through an author's perspective.

  14. Sing to the Lord. You may have a great singing voice or you may sing monotone. God doesn't care. Sing songs and hymns that are especially meaningful to you and your walk with Christ.

  15. Play an instrument unto the Lord. If you play a musical instrument, this is a wonderful way to use your God-given talents to worship Him. In my own personal practice time or quiet time, I occasionally will pull out a hymn book or other worship music and play my trumpet unto the Lord. I also reflect on the text as a play. If you have no formal training, beat on a drum or shake a tambourine - get creative!

  16. Listen to your favorite worship music. This is somewhat related to #14 and #15. You can have soft worship music playing in the background as you read Scripture and pray. You can sing along with the music or even play along on the musical instrument of your choice.

  17. Dance before the Lord. In 2 Samuel chapter 6, we read that King David danced before the Lord as the Ark of the Covenant was moved to the City of Jerusalem. Hey, if it's OK for the "man after God's own heart to dance" why not you? Put on your favorite worship songs and leap for joy!

  18. Consider going on a prayer walk. Somewhat related to #4, nothing refreshes the soul like taking a walk in the great outdoors and praying to God. You can also use prayer walking for specific events that need prayer such as a special event or service taking place at your church. You could walk through your worship center, aisles, lobby, and parking lots praying for church members and visitors to be moved by the power of the Holy Spirit.

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