Blessed is the one… whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law, day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers. (From Psalm 1 NIV)
In college I joined Christian fellowship whose focus was evangelism and discipleship. I had only been a believer in Jesus two years and didn’t have many Christian disciplines before joining a Bible study group. Each week we read passages from the Bible and did ‘inductive’ Bible study. (Answering the questions: What does it say? What does it mean? How can I apply it to my life?) The leaders encouraged us to have a daily quiet time—a time of prayer and listening to God by reading his word (the Bible). Through my college years, my quiet times were inconsistent and varied in length and depth.
When I graduated, got my first job, and moved out on my own, I realized my daily need for the direction and comfort time with God provided. It’s surprising how loneliness, struggles, broken relationships, and failures drive us to our heavenly Father isn’t it?
Having three children in quick succession, homeschooling them from kindergarten through high school, and then transitioning from parent/teacher to wife with no occupation, were all seasons which humbled me, exposed my sin and need of a Savior, and deepened my dependence on God.
As I reflect on my life thus far, I realize it’s not how many seasons, but the challenges they brought which affected my quiet times most. My quiet times altered with circumstance and season. I’ve listed three examples of how quiet times have looked through the seasons of my life. I hope they are both helpful and freeing.
- Basic Quiet Times (in the busiest seasons—usually very early mornings, late nights, or during children’s naptimes)
RPG Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. I Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV.
Read a verse or passage and pray it. Memorize it. God will use it!
Rejoice—tell God why you love him, sing it, whisper it.
Pray—pour out your heart to God. Tell him what you’re afraid of, share your concerns, pray for the people he placed in your life.
Give thanks—thank God for everything and anything you can think of. Thank him for his word, your children, the sunrise, the smell of hot coffee, warm embraces, good friends, cloud formations, the ability to walk or see or smell…
- Quiet Times of Desperation (in the most stressful seasons—in hospitals, on sickbeds, in mourning, when your heart needs the Lord and you’re tempted to believe he’s not with you)
Memorize Psalm 6 or any other scripture which the Lord can use during these times to comfort your soul.
Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am faint; heal me, Lord, for my bones are in agony. My soul is in deep anguish. How long, Lord, how long? Turn, Lord, and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing love…I am worn out from my groaning. All night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears. My eyes grow weak with sorrow; they fail because of all my foes. Away from me, all you who do evil, for the Lord has heard my weeping. The Lord has heard my cry for mercy; the Lord accepts my prayer. Psalm 6:2-9 NIV
Pray it to him. Cry out to him. Thank him for his word and faithfulness. It’s enough.
- Extended Times with the Lord (in the quiet seasons—these are sweet and unrushed, when you’re willing to wake up very early, when life is orderly, when your children are grown and gone, when you retire) I’m here!
How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Your statutes are wonderful; therefore, I obey them. The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.I open my mouth and pant, longing for your commands. Turn to me and have mercy on me, as you always do to those who love your name. Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me. Psalm 119:103, 129-133 NIV
These are the days you bring more than your Bible to the quiet time—prayer lists, colored pens and highlighters, a study Bible, a devotional book, your journal, etc.
There’s time for rejoicing and praying and thanking God (RPG). There’s also time to sing and read and study God’s word. It’s a time to listen quietly for God’s prompting—perhaps to write a letter of encouragement or volunteer or make a donation.
Whatever season you find yourself in just now, I pray your quiet times will result in praise. Let God’s mercy, his kindness, his wisdom, and his steadfast love overwhelm your heart and rejoice!
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life. Psalm 143:8 NIV