2. If you don't feel comfortable doing a strict Bible study-- if that sounds too formal and ostentatious for you-- get a Christian nonfiction book that you can read just one chapter of each day. Check out http://www.proverbs31.org/ for a great selection of books by some amazing women. Rachel Olsen's new book It's No Secret or Lysa TerKeurst's What Happens When Women Say Yes To God are faves of mine. Or check out Micca Campbell's An Untroubled Heart or Wendy Blight's Hidden Joy In A Dark Corner. Find a book that speaks to your circumstance or an issue you are dealing with. Right now I am reading Sun Stand Still by my pastor, Steven Furtick, for my quiet time as an interlude between Bible studies. I look up the scriptures he references and journal about specific quotes that speak to me. More about journaling in a minute.
3. You can always buy a true Bible study Bible study. You know like with Scriptures you look up and blanks you fill in. For a type A like me, this just warms your little listmaking heart. I have been doing Jennifer Kennedy Dean's Bible studies lately. I just finished Live A Praying Life and am going to be starting The Life-Changing Power of the Name of Jesus as soon as I finish Sun Stand Still. I get these books for about $10 on Amazon and they last me a few months. Not a bad investment.
4. Get a routine and establish a place that makes you long to get to your quiet time. I have mentioned before that my friend Rachel Olsen has a certain candle she lights when she does her quiet time, making me think of that verse about our prayers being a sweet fragrance to God. Some people have special chairs they sit in or an afghan they wrap up in... the point is to make your time welcoming and cozy-- whatever says that to you. For me it's getting back in bed with my cup of Tazo Zen tea. Sipping and studying. I often wish the time would never end and real life didn't have to insert itself into my reverie.
5. If you need accountability, look for a small group, a Community Bible Study or Bible Study Fellowship, a class at your church, etc. to get you into the habit of meeting with others and having to do your homework. My years in Community Bible Study helped me with this so much! No one wants to get called on and not know the answers... so that's a good motivator. Another idea is to ask a trusted friend or your spouse to ask you regularly 1) if you're having a quiet time and 2) what you're hearing from God as a result. This can be a great conversation starter!!
6. Set parameters to make quiet time a priority. I have told the story of how God got my attention when I made the excuse to Him that I don't have time to have a quiet time because I have six children. He shot back, "You always seem to have time for that computer." Ouch. He was so right on target. I did always make time for my computer, so why didn't I always make time for Him? Misplaced priorities. I set a parameter in my life from then on that I would not turn on the computer unless I had first spent time with Him. That was four years ago and I still stick to it. Simple, but it worked wonders. What parameters do you need to set? It's one thing to say God's a priority in your life. It's another to live like it.
7. Get a journal. I have written before about how a journal has added to my quiet time. I am not going to go deeply into it here but I will say that it has made my quiet times more personal and applicable. I write prayers and responses to what I've learned that day, capturing what I feel God wants me to learn, making commitments I've been called to, expressing worries I have, etc. My journal is just one big long love letter to God. It's such a great way to take quiet time to a more intense level.
8. Create a Bible study basket with everything you need for your quiet time. My friend Jess came up with this and actually used to give them away to people. What a great gift this would be for a friend for Christmas this year! Include in the basket your Bible, whatever book or study you're using, pens, highlighters, a journal, a candle to light, a box of tea, a pretty mug, index cards, scratch paper, etc. The nice thing about the basket is you can pick it up and take it wherever in the house you want to go. It also just feels quaint and organized to have it all in one place.
9. Subscribe to the Proverbs 31 Encouragement For Today devotions if you haven't already. The arrival of these free devotions in your inbox each day might be just the little reminder and push you need. Many women print these off and make notebooks of them with dividers for certain subjects-- motherhood, marriage, surrender, purpose, etc.-- so they can go back to them when they need them.
10. Keep a piece of paper or your to-do list right beside you during your quiet time. That way if you think of something that needs to be attended to, you can jot it down quickly and refocus. Otherwise you sit there trying to remember what it was you were thinking of and before you know it your concentration is shot. Maybe none of you struggle with this, but I do.
I hope that this little top ten list inspired some of you. It's all just stuff I've learned. I don't always feel like doing my Bible study but I am always glad I did. It's usually when I feel like it the least that I need to do it the most!