How to develop a PLAN for consistent quiet time
A fresh start. A clean slate. Another new year stretches before you like a cloudless sky. It’s the perfect time to look back at what worked and what didn’t work last year and to look ahead at what you can do about it now.
Like millions of Americans, you’ve most likely made a resolution or two this year. It may be to exercise more, to work less, or even to floss everyday (hey, it couldn’t hurt!). As a Christian, one of your resolutions might be to set aside more time each day to talk with God in prayer, to read through the Bible in a year or to daily study His Word.
Perhaps you’ve made a similar commitment to the Lord before. In January, you started out strong, but come March, your gusto was gone with the wind. Don’t be discouraged.
You’ve heard the expression, “those who fail to plan, plan to fail.” This year, be proactive. Make a PLAN. Here are a few simple steps to help you succeed with consistent quiet time with the Lord:
Ask for Help
Pray. It may seem to go without saying, but prayer is the best way to get started and often times the most overlooked. In Genesis 28, after Jacob was visited by God in a dream, he rose up early in the morning and “took the stone that he had put at his head, set it as a pillar, and poured oil on top of it” (v. 18). Like Jacob, will you purpose to rise up early in the morning and go from pillow to pillar, giving God the first fruits of your day and committing your time over to Him?
Often, the days when you don’t want to or don’t have the time to get into God’s Word are the days you need it the most. Ask God to restore unto you the joy of your salvation. Tell Him your struggles. And pray that He will give you insight and understanding before you begin to read the Bible. Praying before you begin to study God’s Word will help to “open the lines of communication” and will help you to focus on Scripture (rather than the next load of laundry or that ever-looming question: what’s for dinner?). Then dig in together and allow God to speak to you through His Word.
Locate. Set aside a specific time and place. If you’re like most busy women, you know that time management is crucial these days. From the instant you roll out of bed in the morning until the moment you climb back in, there’s a never-ending list of doctors’ appointments, school activities, church programs, meetings, grocery store visits, cleaning, laundry, and bill paying.
Yet each task on your list of things to do works into your schedule. Why? Because you plan for it. Why not do the same with your quiet time?
Set up an appointment with God for each day. It may be a lunch date, or it may be a few minutes or an hour just before bed. Better yet, you can begin your day with a breakfast date with God, before anyone else is awake. At first, it can be hard getting up a little bit earlier, but stick with it. The rewards of time spent with your Lord and Savior in the morning will be well worth it.
Keeping your meeting place consistent will also help you stay consistent with your time with the Lord. Try to find a location that’s accessible with as little distractions as possible such as the bathroom, the bedroom, the car, the porch, the basement, or the attic. Even if no one is home, you could easily be distracted by the TV, a phone call, the dust bunny in the corner, or the pile of dishes in your sink. Consider visiting a coffee shop, the park, or the beach where you can concentrate better on God and His Word and less on your unfinished list of things to do.
Ask for Help. Most women would like to think they are capable of doing something on their own. But guess what? You can’t. You may try and succeed for awhile, but it’s easy to justify your actions when no one is watching. Once you have determined when and where you’ll have your time alone with God and what you plan to do during that time, tell someone. Ask the Lord to direct you to someone you can be open with, someone you trust, and someone who will hold you to your commitment.
Notate It. Take your study a step further–apply it! Keep track of what you are learning and living with a journal. Remember the diary you kept in middle school? You know, the one where you wrote down all the highs and lows of your day, a memorable conversation, and any new observations about life. Keeping a spiritual journal can be similar. As you study God’s Word, jot down new insights He reveals to you. Then write down the steps you will take to apply what you’ve learned.
Begin today. Write down the steps you will take to ensure your New Year’s resolution is a success. Develop your own personal PLAN and stick to it. It’s never too late to begin again.