At one time or another we have all spent time reading or studying the Bible only to realize that we didn’t get anything out of what we read. How many times have you sat down to spend meaningful time with God, only to come away as empty as when you began? It doesn’t have to be this way. You can have a meaningful time with God! Keep the following in mind:
Start with proper attitudes!
Keep in mind that God is often more interested in “why” you do what you do rather than in “what” you do (I Sam.16:7). You must be vary careful that you check our attitudes first.
- Expectancy – Look forward to time with God, expecting a blessing and good fellowship (Ps.63:1).
- Reverence – You must prepare your heart to be in His presence. You have a completely holy and righteous God and therefore you must be ready to meet with Him (Ps. 4:3-4, 89:7).
- Alertness – Wake up. Make sure you are awake first. Really, this starts the night before, such as going to bed early enough to be able to spend quality time with God the next morning or evening. Remember that He deserves yourbest and full attention (II Cor.5:15, Duet.6:5).
- Obedience – A willingness to obey is essential to quality time with God (Josh.1:8).
Select a specific time!
A specific time gives you the opportunity to be consistent. You can also look forward to that time with the Lord, just as you would make time to meet with a friend. Again, give God your best, not the leftovers.
- When – You can meet with God in the morning or evening. Every day may not even be at the same time, but make sure you pick a time you can give your best! For many men in the Bible, it was early in the morning: Abraham (Gen.19:27), Jacob (Gen.28:18), Moses (Ex.34:4), Job (Jb. 1:5), David (Ps.5:3), and Jesus (Mk.1:35).
- Length – This needs to be between you and the Lord. When trying to establish consistency, 7-15 minutes that are well planned out is a good START. Don’t start with a 2 hr quiet time or it will be difficult for you to be consistent. But make sure you don’t watch the clock. It’s difficult for you to get any blessing when all you are worried about it the time. Do emphasize quality, not quantity. Remember that you are building a relationship with God.
Choose a proper place!
The proper place makes a big difference whether or not you time will be meaningful. It should be a quiet place where you can’t be interrupted. It should be a place that you have chosen to meet God and may become a sacred place. (Abraham – Gen.19:27, Jesus – Lk. 22:39)
Follow a simple plan!
A plan keeps you on tract and helps you avoid rabbit trails and many of the simple distractions that can pop up. It may also be helpful for you to have a couple of items handy such as your bible, a notebook, and a hymnal. Once you develop a plan, stick to it. If you waver, you will have a hard time being consistent and your time with God will inevitably fizzle out.
- Wait on God. Still your heart and make sure you have calmed down (Ps.46:10, Is.40:31).
- Pray briefly. Prepare your heart to meet with God (Ps.139:23-24, Ps.119:18).
- Read a portion from the Bible. Consider what you are reading. Be careful not to read without thinking. Read slowly and without stopping (no bunny trail studies). You may also want to read aloud to remember and understand better what you are reading. Be careful to read systematically and avoid skipping around too much or you will miss the real meaning found in the context of the verses.
- Meditate on and memorize key verses in your passage (Josh.1:8, Ps.1:2, 4:4, 19:14, I Tim.4:15).
- Write down what God has shown you. This is an important step that helps you remember, keep you accountable, help with application, and allows you to see God at work.
Spend time in prayer!
Now that God has spoken to you though His Word, you should continue the communication through prayer. Sometimes prayer does much more than we think in opening up the heart to receive instruction and blessings from the Lord. Remember you are communicating with the God of the universe–the King of Kings.
P – Praise the Lord.
R – Repent of your sins.
A – Ask for the Lord’s help and direction.
Y – Yield yourself to God’s will.
Deal with common problems!
Some issues will come up. Remember the battle of the flesh can be very difficult at times, but God’s grace is sufficient, even in our worst days. Recognize the problems and deal with them right away. The sooner they are identified and quarantined, the easier they are to overcome.
Problem of discipline – “The battle of the blankets!”
- Go to bed on time (Ps.127:2).
- Get up immediately when you wake up.
- Be aware of quiet time “robbers” – TV, staying up late the night before, to do list in the morning, etc.
- Go to bed with thoughts of Scripture (Josh.1:8, Ps.1:2).
Problem of dry spells – Rm.10:17, Heb.5:12-14
- Make sure the problem isn’t with disobedience. We can’t take the next step in our walk until we first obey the last step He showed us.
- Check your physical condition to make sure it isn’t hindering your time with God.
- Don’t get in too much of a hurry. It is also possible to do too much at one time.
- Sometimes it’s easy to find yourself in a rut. Make sure you quiet time is a relationship rather than a ritual. Change the plan and use variety.
- God may be trying you and placing you in dry times to create a thirst for Him (Ps.63:1-2, Jer.29:13).
Problem of concentration – “The battle of the brain!”
This is often a constant battle that comes from the scores of distractions of the day. Remember that if you are tired concentration is almost impossible. Fight to regain concentration with walking and talking prayer or writing in a notebook. When your mind begins to wonder fight it to bring it back on tract. Sometime a short time of exercise before you spend time with God helps immensely in this area.
Problem of discouragement – Pr.4:23
One of Satan’s greatest tools is in this area of discouragement. He knows one of the easiest ways to break your steadfastness is to get you to focus on yourself. Keep in mind, God knows we will fail. But don’t say down, get back up (Pr.24:16). If you have some times of discouragement, get your eyes on Jesus Christ and keep going (Heb.12:1-2).
Our Lord longs for meaningful time with you and cannot wait to open gems of truth to you in His Word. You can have a meaningful time with God. Remember, you are building a relationship with the Creator of the universe.