“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24 NIV)
Once you’re convinced that a daily quiet time is necessary for spiritual growth, how do you go about having one? You may be motivated to do it but don’t know how.
Someone has said, “If you aim at nothing, you are sure to hit it!” To have a meaningful quiet time, you will need a plan or some kind of general outline to follow.
The main rule is this: Keep your plan simple.
First, make sure you have a Bible in a contemporary translation, a notebook for writing down what the Lord shows you and for making a prayer list, and a hymnbook in case you want to sing your praise.
Then, follow these three simple steps: Relax, request, and read.
1. Wait on God (relax). Be still for a minute; don’t come running into God’s presence and start talking immediately. Follow God’s admonition: “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10a NIV). Be quiet for a short time to put yourself into a reverent mood.
2. Pray briefly (request). This is not your prayer time, but a short opening prayer to ask God to cleanse your heart and guide you into the time together. You need to be in tune with the Author before you can understand his Book! Two good passages of Scripture to memorize are Psalm 139:23-24 and Psalm 119:18.
3. Read a section of Scripture (read). This is where your conversation with God begins. He speaks to you through his Word, and you speak with him in prayer.
Read your Bible:
- Slowly. Don’t be in a hurry; don’t try to read too large an amount; don’t race through it.
- Repeatedly. Read a passage over and over until you start to picture it in your mind.
- Without stopping. Don’t stop in the middle of a sentence to go off on a tangent and do a doctrinal study. Just read that section for the pure joy of it, allowing God to speak to you.
- Aloud but quietly. Reading it aloud will improve your concentration. It will also help you understand what you are reading better because you will both see and hear what you are reading. Read softly enough, however, so that you won’t disturb anyone.
- Systematically. Don’t use the “random dip” method — a passage here, a chapter there, what you like here, an interesting portion there. Read through the Bible as it was written — a book or letter at a time in an orderly method.
(Source: Rick Warren)