Friday, January 02, 2009

How Do I "Do" Time With God?

Ok, the new year is officially here and your goals are set. (Yes? No?) One of them just might be spending regular time with God-- some people refer to this as "quiet time," others call it "devotions," or "Bible study." Whatever you call it, it all amounts to the same thing-- a regular, consistent, committed time to meet with God, to hear from Him and learn who He is. It is a time for digging into His word, reading inspiring books, devotions, or commentaries from wise, godly people, and praying. You also might want to spend some time in worship-- listening to a song or two that you love, one that helps you focus on Him. Songs like this one or this one, just for starters.

Some people like to light a candle, or have a special place designated in their home. I knew one woman who had a whole separate little building on her property for her prayer and study time! My friend Jessica has a prayer basket, all stocked and ready to be picked up and carried wherever she can find some quiet in her busy house with three young children. Sometimes she picks up that basket and takes it to the prayer room at a nearby church and spends several hours with God. I love this idea!

Most importantly, there is no one right way to "do" your time with God. Your time will be as unique as you are.

When I read Wendy Pope's blog entry about kicking off a group effort to read through The Chronological Bible in a year, I noticed a question one commenter had asked her. I loved her answer and wanted to share it here, in case it inspires someone as much as it inspired me!

Wendy-I am very excited about spending this next year in God's Word. I know you posted the supplies you will be using in your quiet time...Just wondering how you will use them? Sometimes others have neat ideas that they use in their quiet time and I have been blessed by gleaning ideas from others. Thanks, Sarah

Sarah, I write the date to the reading in my notebook and prepare myself to write what the Lord leads. It may be an interesting fact I knew but had forgotten about. It may be how the text ties in with another scripture I already know. I make notes cross-referencing the two passages. I write the verse in the margin then write my comments on the lines. I use college ruled paper because I write a lot. I highlight things that are repeated or referred to more than once. The sticky notes are for me to jot down thoughts or questions that I want to research after my QT. I take it and put it on my computer for later research. Many times God is leading my on a fun rabbit trail to a nugget He wants me to use in a message that I am preparing for a conference. Hope this helps, Sarah. Good question.

If you have any great ideas for personalizing your time with God, or tips you have picked up along the way for enhancing your time, please leave a comment and share it with us!
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Julie Coleman said...

I liked Wendy’s answer you wrote in your blog, emphasizing observation, because too often we like to rush through the observation and jump to application. The danger is we may base our application on faulty exegesis if we don’t spend enough time observing.

I have been going through 2 Corinthians lately. What I do to study is a method I learned in seminary. I type out the passage (I do one paragraph a day) in its grammatical form. This enables me to see what things are being compared, or listed, and how they relate to one another. I would leave an example here, but it involves the tab and enter keys and I know it would not translate on a blog post. If anyone is interested in me sending them the file I have made to use for themselves, I would be delighted to do this. My email is

Once I have the verses printed out on paper, I use colored pens to mark similar wording, comment on phrases, listing observations, Greek words, etc. I don’t rush this-- usually I set my clock for a half hour. Often my best thoughts and observations come at the end of this time as I have sat and stared at the passage.

I also read through the context each day-- the paragraphs that lead up to the one I am studying-- to make sure I am keeping my observations within the flow of what the writer is doing.

A great book to use in HOW to study scripture is by Howard Hendricks, entitled Living by the Book. He gives easy to follow steps and lots of examples. Very user friendly and practical.

“My word will not return to me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.” (Isa 55:11) God will bless you in your studies-- we cannot interact with His Word without it causing change in us. Best wishes to everyone in their efforts to learn more of Him!!

Christine said...

Ohhhh, I should have this on my goals list...2 or 3 kids ago I had GREAT quiet times! ;)

Love the idea about a prayer basket to carry to whatever location is unpopulated...


Sandra in Phx said...

This is on my list of goals this year. Seems like baby #4 and then baby #5 have disrupted my daily schedule so much that I am not "finding" time to spend with our Lord. (Did I mention that baby #5 is 21 months old?! That's a long time to not be consistent!).