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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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

cant_wait_to_see_youContinued from here.

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.]

But I Don’t Have Time…

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The number one reason I hear (and the excuse I also used) was “I don’t have time” to set aside daily quality time with God. My response is to identify the least important thing you do daily and recognize you are saying doing that takes priority over investing time in walking with your God. You are telling God that Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross to reconnect you in relationship with God takes second place to doing that daily … to watching your favorite television shows … or tweeting about what you had for dinner … or following your friends’ Facebook or Instagram posts … or playing another game of Candy Crush …

Time with God is not going to magically materialize in your life. Either you will make the decision to set aside time for Him, or you won’t. Think about when you started dating someone special. It’s not like you were sitting around with nothing to do, that person came along, and then you finally had something to fill that empty block of time. No, you made the time for that special someone because you wanted to, and you will do the same thing for God if you truly love Him.

Let me ask you a tough question, and be painfully honest with yourself: Do you love God? Don’t reflexively say yes because you are supposed to as a Christian. The truth is that becoming a Christian does not automatically make us love God. We might appreciate what He has done for us, respect Him, or feel other things about Him as a result of our salvation, but loving God takes time to develop … time that most Christians (sadly) never choose to invest.

I’ll be honest with you – I was a Christian for decades who did not love God. Sure, if you asked me if I did, I would have said yes, but I didn’t. When you love someone, you want to spend time with him or her. You don’t give someone you love the leftover scraps of your time. Instead, you make that person a priority because of your love for him or her. If spending time with God seems like a chore that you don’t have time for, consider the possibility that you do not yet love Him.

Continued here.

[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace reading a book near a cat over the words, “Me Time.” Courtesy Bitmoji.]

How Your Spend Your Time Reflects What You Value

game_timeContinued from here.

Show me how you spend your time, and I’ll tell you what you prioritize. People don’t like to hear this, but it’s true. While I would have told you that God was my number one priority, I would squeeze in my Bible study while waiting in the car line to pick up my child from school or cram it all in the night before the meeting. I did not set aside dedicated time for God. I would say my prayers as I drifted off to sleep. I would go to church on Sundays, but God was not really a part of my day-to-day life or decision-making. And yet, because I knew the Bible better than most and went to church on Sundays, I assumed I was prioritizing God.

However, you know what I did have time for? I watched my favorite television shows religiously. I faithfully set aside time to hang out with my girlfriends. I ensured I made it to the gym to exercise 4 or 5 times a week. I was strict about getting to bed on time to be sure to get the sleep my body needed. None of these priorities are “bad,” and, in fact, taking care of my body, which is the temple of the Holy Spirit, is a good thing to do. However, even taking care of the temple should not take precedence over spending time with the God that the temple houses.

For God to come first, we need to place Him … well … first … ahead of everything else. Paul told us,

If the part of the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches. ~ Rom. 11:16

We can apply this verse to our time with God. When we give God the firstfruits of our day by setting aside sacred time with Him, then that firstfruits offering starts off our day in a way that directs us toward making the entire day about Him. Because our first hour of the day is holy, that holiness can spread to the other 23 hours as well.

Continued here.

[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace in a recliner with snacks above the words, “Game Time!” Courtesy Bitmoji.]

Is God Really Your Top Priority?

no_timeI am stepping up on the soapbox this week, so be forewarned…

Is God really first in your life? If you are a Christian, your immediately response is likely yes, but is this really true? Or are you lying to yourself? Christians can be deceived, so don’t assume that just because you are a Christian, you are prioritizing God.

I was saddened and, frankly, astonished to learn in one of my Divinity School classes what a small percentage of people in ministry actually spend quality time with God on a daily basis. I would have been disturbed by the statistics I heard if it was about laypeople, but people in ministry?? Seriously?? How on earth do you spend your days serving God without first meeting with, fellowshipping with, and enjoying God?

One reason this is a soapbox issue for me is that I deceived myself on this topic for a number of years. Because I knew the Bible well (better than most), I assumed this accumulated knowledge was evidence that I prioritized God. And yet, my life did not reflect this. Despite this wealth of head knowledge about God, I continued to live in emotional bondage, and the joy and peace that the Bible promised eluded me.

Yes, I knew a lot about God, but I did not know Him because I rarely spent any time with Him. I found praying to be boring, and my laundry list of prayers was all about what I wanted God to do for me or for someone I cared about. I never thought to ask God what I could do for Him. I wanted Him to bless my plans, not join Him in His plans. While I was a Christian who was heaven-bound when I died, I was a selfish Christian who wanted to harness God’s powers like a genie to make my life more comfortable.

God wants a relationship with you and sacrificed His Son for you to enable that to happen. God wants to walk with you, not take the slivers of your life that are left over after you do everything else that you deem more important than spending time with your Creator. Have you ever thought about what God might want out of a relationship with you? I didn’t until I started prioritizing God in my life.

Continued here.

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