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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Top Ten Quiet Time Tips


1. Get up just 15 minutes earlier than usual. Fifteen minutes is not much to sacrifice and you will start a habit that gets easier and easier to add time to. Soon you will find that 15 minutes just isn't enough and you will long to lengthen it. It won't feel like much of a sacrifice by then.

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!

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12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Good morning Marybeth, and thank you again for your blog. God always has something prepared for me here. I have a quick question for ya, I really like the idea of a basket filled with all things bible study! I have a 20 year old sister who has been brought up in the christian faith her whole life, but is having a hard time now that she's entering adulthood. I am ten years older than her and she comes to me often with questions and I encourage her as much as I can, but I would really like to get her a devotional/bible study for christmas that would really speak to her in this season of her life. Twenty years old, in college, with the majority of her friends unbelievers. If you have any ideas or suggestions I would really appreciate them. Thanks again for your blog I absolutely love it!

Have a blessed day,
Angel in MA

Arlene @At Home with the Grimms said...

Lots of good suggestions Marybeth!! I enjoy listening to Bible teachers online. There are many wonderful Bible teachers to listen to at Austinprecept...i am not sure of the exact web address but Google can find it! Right now I am listening to JVernon McGee doing the book of Luke. Thanks to the internet for allowing me to listen to a man who went home to be with the Lord in 1985. McGee's insights are still right on target!

Marybeth said...

Anonymous, if you haven't checked out She Seeks, a division of P31, I would check that out. I am pretty sure the site address is www.sheseeks.org. This site is geared towards that exact age group. I think she'd really get a lot out of it. Also if you're looking for a book to give her, my pastor just turned 30 and really reaches the 20somethings. His new book is called Sun Stand Still and his name is Steven Furtick. Hope this helps!

Anonymous said...

Marybeth,

I like your top 10 things. I will be incorporating/starting some of these ideas. I really want to get to know Jesus more and say yes to HIM. This will really help.

Keep up these posts. They really help.

P.S. Probably you could share some of what you have been reading/learning from "Sun Stand Still" as a blog topic these days. I listened to portions of his 24 hour broadcast. What an awesome person he is.

Amy O/picketfencemom said...

Great list! Some of your ideas I already implement, but you've give me much more to think about...and do!

Robin Bryce said...

These are awesome, Marybeth! I would've given you a pass on #6, but God knows best. I don't see how you have time to look at the computer, write or breathe even. You must be super woman. You're my hero.

Thanks for the great post encouraging us all.

Blessings galore,
Robin

Marybeth said...

Thanks Robin-- and all! So glad this post seems to be speaking to people! I know my quiet time process is a work in progress. I find that changing it up keeps it interesting and making it personal does as well. Best wishes to all of you who are striving to make quiet times a priority!

Anonymous said...

Okay this is crazy! This morning I was on my way to work at 6AM, said a little prayer in the car and clear as a bell I felt God say to me "How come it's difficult for you to make time for me in the morning?" like you said I had an "ouch" moment. Well I got to work 10 minutes later and started my day. Now 9 hours later your blog hits my inbox. If that's not enough confirmation I don't know what is. I'm going to make a basket for myself today! Thank you Mary Beth for your encouragement and your gift with words. God is using you in great ways!

Zibilee said...

Have you ever read or done a bible study by Beth Moore? I love her, and have learned so much from her. We had some really amazing group bible studies last year using her material, and I have to say that it lit a fire for God in my heart that I am loving! I would be interested to hear if you have ever experienced any of her work.

Marybeth said...

Zibilee, I have read some of Beth's trade books but never done one of her studies, believe it or not! Right now I am working my way through Jennifer Kennedy Dean-- she's good. I suspect similar to Beth in that she lights that fire in your heart. I know Beth is amazing though-- someday perhaps I will do one of hers. Keep up that study and fan that flame, girl!

Ruth said...

Marybeth,I could have written this post myself. I can see my quiet time basket sitting on the shelf near me. Only trouble is, I'm just not putting it into practise at the moment. :( Why is theory so often easier than practise. I am encouraged once again to jump back in. I KNOW it is worth it, just convincing myself of it in the morning is the tricky bit. :)

Christine said...

Great suggestions! I do a lot of these, but the quiet time basket one sounds so homey and special. I think I'll work on that one!