Will You Spend 15 Minutes of Quiet Time with God Every Day?

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Now that you know the three most important components of quiet time with God—prayer, studying God’s word, and praise & worship—are you prepared to commit to engaging in all three of these fundamental practices daily? You can start by following the lead of what Lysa TerKeurst shared in a video for her Bible study, Finding I AM: How Jesus Fully Satisfies the Cry of Your Heart: set aside 15 minutes as day to engage in each practice for five minutes. That’s really not a lot to ask. How might getting up 15 minutes earlier each morning revolutionize your life as you dedicate your first 15 minutes to God?

Now that I have begun my day with God for well over five years, I cannot fathom starting my day without doing so … and yet, that’s how I lived my life for decades. Why did I resist doing something so basic as saying a prayer, reading a few passages of scripture, and singing a song to God each morning? The truth is that I did not value Him enough to do it. From my perspective today, I’m appalled that I ever thought that way, but it’s the truth – I valued more sleep, watching TV, and playing games over setting aside a mere 15 minutes a day with the God of the Universe. The sad truth is that I did not love Him or care about Him enough to commit only 15 minutes of my day to Him.

When I made decision in March 2013 to tithe the first hour of my day to God, I discovered how much He loves me, which radically changed me and led me to fall head over heels in love with Him in response. Now, an hour is not long enough – I yearn for more and more time with Him. Activities that I used to view as more important than spending time with God are now meaningless to me. Truly nothing compares to God! I encourage you to set aside 15 minutes a day for God, including the three components of prayer, studying the Bible, and praise & worship and see for yourself!

[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace with her hands on her hips, saying, “Ain’t nobody got time for that!” Courtesy Bitmoji.]

 

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Quiet Time Component #3: Praise & Worship

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The final component of quiet time that Lysa TerKeurst mentioned in a video for her Bible study, Finding I AM: How Jesus Fully Satisfies the Cry of Your Heart, is engaging in praise & worship. While there are other ways to do this, I am a musical person and thoroughly enjoy using music to help with this. I have a library of over 600 Contemporary Christian songs on my iPod, and I choose a few each morning to guide me through my praise & worship time.

Not every Contemporary Christian song focuses on praise (thanking God for what He has done) or worship (admiring God for who He is). Many focus on the Christian walk or experience. While they have their place, I don’t use those during my praise & worship time because I want my mind focused on who God is and what He has done. As I shift my focus onto God, He grows larger in my mind while my problems grow smaller. It’s not that my problems become smaller. Instead, my perspective shifts as I recognition how the size of my God dwarfs the size of my problems.

Left to our natural tendencies, we are all woefully self-focused. As we focus on ourselves, our problems grow larger in our own heads, like the lens of a camera zooming in so that our problems fill the entire frame. Praise & worship shifts the focus of the camera outward so that God fills more of the frame than the problem. That is the correct perspective of life, but we won’t get there without shifting our focus to God, which is why praise & worship are such an important part of our daily quiet time with God.

Even focused praise & worship time for one song (3-4 minutes) can help shift your perspective, shining hope and life into your life, regardless of how large your problems are. This was an important part of surviving my son’s major back surgery in 2015. I could have easily become self-focused because that was a very difficult season in my life. Choosing to set aside lots of time for praise & worship helped me keep God in the frame and believe that He was in control during a time when everything felt out of control.

To be continued…

[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace singing and playing a guitar. Courtesy Bitmoji.]

 

Quiet Time Component #2: Studying God’s Word

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A second component of quiet time that Lysa TerKeurst mentioned in a video for her Bible study, Finding I AM: How Jesus Fully Satisfies the Cry of Your Heart, is studying God’s Word. If you want to get to know God, you need to learn more about Him – how He acts and reacts, what matters to Him, and what He expects from us. All of this information is available to you in the Bible.

God’s ways are counter-cultural, and He does not change. Everything that you allow into your mind shapes how you think. If you don’t spend lots of time studying God’s Word, then the culture will shape the way you think, which will lead you farther away from God. Conversely, filling your mind with Scripture – not only reading it but also studying it and meditating on it – will change the way you think to better align with how God thinks.

In addition, Joyce Meyer frequently points out on her television show, Enjoying Everyday Life, that the Bible is like medicine. For example, let’s say I struggle with anger. I need to meditate on passage of Scripture that teach me how to deal with anger – to pray for my enemies and forgive them. Reading those passages is not enough – I need to actually DO them. If anger is my issue, then meditating on passages re: prosperity isn’t going to heal this area of my life. That would be like putting a Band-Aid On my head instead of taking an aspirin for a headache.

I find Beth Moore’s book, Praying God’s Word: Breaking Free from Spiritual Strongholds, to be particularly helpful with this. For example, if I am struggling with feeling rejected, I will pray scripture prayers out of the chapter entitled Overcoming Feelings of Rejection. As I pray God’s Word about how He views the situation, I reprogram my mind to agree with God’s perspective. I cannot emphasize enough how powerful this has been in my personal life and personal spiritual journey.

To be continued…

[Graphic: Cover of Praying God’s Word: Breaking Free from Spiritual Strongholds. Courtesy Amazon.]

 

Quiet Time Component #1: Prayer

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One component of quiet time that Lysa TerKeurst mentioned in a video for her Bible study, Finding I AM: How Jesus Fully Satisfies the Cry of Your Heart, is prayer. Prayer is a critical component of spending time with God because that’s how we communicate with God. What kind of relationship would you have with your spouse, child, or friend if you NEVER set aside any time to talk with each other?

As with any conversation, your time in prayer needs to include both speaking and listening. I used to only talk … and talk and talk and talk. Actually, it was more like I would complain, beg, and whine. I viewed God as a spiritual Santa Claus who had the power to grant my wish list. If He would only change X, Y, and Z in my life, I would be happy. I did not appreciate that God needed to change ME in order for me to discover joy. Joy doesn’t come from the world bending to my will – it comes from me bending to God’s will. This is one of many lessons I learned through prayer.

When we pray, it’s critical to spend some time listening for God’s response. Many people skip this important aspect because they, frankly, have no expectation of hearing from God. I believe unbelief is the #1 reason why so many Christians fail to hear from God. The Bible is clear that God’s people hear His voice and follow Him. From Genesis to Revelation, God talks to His people. Why would He go through all the trouble to reconcile with us, only stop talking with us?

In my quiet time, I praise & thank God, pray for others, and pray for myself. I then say, “Father, please speak. Your servant is listening” and listen for His still small voice, which gently reminds me how much He loves me.

To be continued…

[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace praying. Courtesy Bitmoji.]

 

Three Essential Components of Quiet Time with God

I am leading a Bible study through my church by Lysa TerKeurst entitled Finding I AM: How Jesus Fully Satisfies the Cry of Your Heart. It’s a wonderful study that I strongly recommend, particularly if you are hurting. TerKeurst wrote this study amidst a very difficult season of her life, so she is in the trenches with you as she navigates the waters of her pain, seeking healing and wholeness through Jesus.

In one of the study’s videos, TerKeurst shared that when one of her daughters went to college, she connected with a group of godly students who shared a practice of spending the first 15 minutes of their day with God:

  • 5 minutes of prayer
  • 5 minutes of reading the Bible
  • 5 minutes of praise & worship

At first, her daughter resisted this practice. However, she relented and found a deep source of healing for her broken heart simply through prioritizing God daily for 15 minutes.

Setting aside focused time for God on a daily basis is something I have encouraged many times on this blog. I don’t recall if I have shared the 1/3 pattern, but that is one I follow for myself as well, although I do each for longer than 5 minutes. All three elements—prayer, studying God’s Word, and praising & worshiping God—are critical components of quiet time with God. This week, I’ll discuss each component and explain why each one is critical to deepening your relationship with God.

This simple pattern is a great way to ease yourself into focused, daily quiet time with God. If you are too busy to set aside 15 minutes for God each day, I encourage you to consider how seriously you are taking your faith and relationship with God. Think about the least important thing you do in a day for 15 minutes, such as watch a TV show (or sit through 15 minutes of commercials!) or play a game on your phone. Is that really more important than spending 15 minutes with your Creator? If you want to experiencing the many benefits of being in a relationship with God, then you must actually enter into a relationship with Him, and that requires time.

To be continued…

[Graphic: Cover of Finding I AM: How Jesus Fully Satisfies the Cry of Your Heart. Courtesy Amazon.]

 

How to Make Time for God

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Are you ready to commit to spending quality time with God daily? If so, you need to set aside a block of time daily (preferably the same time every day) that is sacred and trumps everything else in your life, no matter what. For me, this is the first hour of my day.

Once you decide the block of time you are setting aside for God, you need to rearrange your schedule with the understanding that NOTHING is important enough to supplant that time with God. That block of time is the one chunk of your day that is 100% immovable, no matter what.

When I was going through this process, I realized that it would require me to awaken an hour earlier. I needed to drive my son to school at 8:00 a.m., which was not changeable, so to carve out an hour for God first thing in the morning, my morning had to start an hour earlier.

Getting 8 hours of sleep is a high priority for me. (I do not function well physically on less sleep.) To make this happen, I needed to go to bed an hour earlier every night. That meant I needed to remove an hour of something from my pre-bedtime routine, which, in my case, was some beloved televisions shows. I won’t lie to you – this was difficult for me to do. I very much looked forward to watching these shows as they aired as part of my process of unwinding before bedtime. While it might not sound like it, this was a sacrifice for me, but I made it because I chose to prioritize God over my “me time.” And you know what? This no longer feels like a sacrifice to me. What I gained through falling in love with God far surpasses what I gave up.

When I made the life decision to spend the first hour of my day with God, I thought I did not have time. After all, I was a full-time mother with a part-time job, driving my special needs child to athletic events, leading a Bible study, and taking care of my husband. Today, I have a full-time job, am in school full-time, lead a Bible study, write this blog, and still take care of my family, and I get it all done without exhausting myself. How? Only God knows because He has equipped me to do so in this very busy season of life. I keep asking Him whether something needs to go, but His answer has been consistently “no.” Instead, He has supernaturally empowered me to do more than I ever dreamed possible in a week because I prioritize my relationship with Him. I give Him the firstfruits of my day, and He empowers productivity that seems impossible with the other 23 hours.

Don’t believe me? Try it for yourself! Make a life commitment to prioritize time with God, and watch move mountains in your life in response.

[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace peeking through the window and asking, “You up?” Courtesy Bitmoji.]

Loving God Equals Time With God

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My blog entry yesterday might have offended some people, but I am simply being honest. My honesty comes from a place of having been there myself. I knew a lot about God, and I knew the Bible very well. I went to church on Sundays, led Bible studies, and had the knowledge of the Christian faith to address most questions that people have about God. However, I did not love God.

Now, if someone had confronted me with this truth, I would have been deeply offended. However, truth is truth. Obeying God was hard to do because I did not love Him. Jesus said that if we love him, we will keep his commandments. To quote Henry Blackaby from his book, Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the Will of God, if you have an obedience problem with God, then you have a love problem. I had a big obedience problem, which was a huge red flag pointing to my love problem.

Now for the good news – Love is a choice, and you can choose to begin loving God right away. That love is spelled T-I-M-E. Do as I did in March 2013 and make a life decision to spend an hour every day with God no matter what. As you do, your love for Him will grow because it is not possible to spend extended time with someone who loves you completely and not respond to that love. Once you do this, you’ll be asking yourself why you waited so long. You will realize that you have been missing out on the best part of your Salvation – the relationship with the Father that Jesus died to give you now … not at some future date when you die and go to heaven but right now in this lifetime.

Just a quick aside – While my personal preference is to begin my day with God, a dear friend who is a “night owl” assures me that a deep love relationship with God can be cultivated in the evenings. She views her time with God as special time before He tucks her into bed at night. So, don’t let time-of-day logistics interfere with your commitment to spend quality time with your Creator on a daily basis. Make the commitment, and you will experience a love relationship with God that you never dreamed possible.

Continued here.

[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace smiling amid the words, “Can’t wait to see you.” Courtesy Bitmoji.]