Read the Bible
That may sound rather obvious, but I stress it because we can end up reading devotional books, study notes and commentaries more than we do the actual Bible itself. Reading devotional books must never take the place of reading the Bible itself.
Get Up Earlier to Have a Quiet Time
I’m sure getting up early is something that we have all vowed to do at some point, but somehow the intention never became a reality! So I suggest that you begin by setting your alarm just five minutes earlier in the morning. After a week, move it a further five minutes earlier. Within four weeks you will be rising twenty minutes earlier in the morning and your body clock will have had time to adjust.
Try using different Bible reading notes. For example, I sometimes use Selwyn Hughes’ Every Day with Jesus, which tends to be topical, meaning it can jump around different parts of the Bible to examine a specific issue. Then for a while I use some of the Explore Bible–reading notes, which take you through a book of the Bible. Alternatively, as you approach the seasons of Advent or Lent, you might like to use one of Tim Chester’s excellent devotional books.
Use Prayers in the Bible to Fuel Your Own Prayers
I have met people who say, ‘Once I have prayed for myself and my family, I can’t think of anything else to pray about!’ If that describes you, then take heart: there is so much to pray about! Prayers from the Bible are a wonderful starting point. For example, Colossians 1:9–14 or Ephesians 3:14–19 give ideas of things to pray into your own life as well as the life of another believer.
Enjoy a Quiet Time on the Move
If you spend a lot of time in the car, why not download apps that enable you to listen to a Bible devotional as you drive. Nicky Gumbel has a free app called Bible in One Year, which I used while dropping my sons off to school.
Questions are like keys: they can unlock doors that lead to interesting places. It’s helpful to have some key questions at the back of your mind when considering any passage of Scripture. They help you dig out nuggets of gold from the mine of God’s Word. Examples are:
• What is happening in this passage?
• Why is it happening?
• Is there a truth I need to apply?
Remember the Bible is Food for Thought
Why not use your lunch break to chew over the Word of God as well as your sandwiches! Or eat your breakfast with your Bible open on the table at the same time. That would give a whole new meaning to the verse ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God’ (Mt. 4:4).
Be Creative if You Have Young Children
I know of one married couple who take turns to look after their children while the other goes off to have a Quiet Time. Sometimes the mum covers for the dad in the morning, then the dad returns the favour in the evening. A mother I know has an alternative approach: she involves her children in her Quiet Times. She encourages them to pray briefly, then reads a passage of Scripture with them. Obviously their attention span is limited, but it is still some Bible time. It also means they are learning a good habit at an early age!
Find a Prayer Partner
Find a prayer partner who will ask you once a fortnight how your Quiet Times are going and how they have encouraged or challenged you. This enables you both to grow. Even if one of you is struggling with Quiet Times, the other can share something that the Lord had taught them. Proverbs describes that in this way: ‘As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another’ (Prov. 27:17).
- Have a ‘Quiet Day’
If you have never tried this, I would recommend it. Every three or four months set aside a day (or half a day) as a Quiet Day with the Lord. Head out to the hills (or somewhere else quiet) by yourself with a picnic lunch, your Bible and a notepad. Then begin to talk to the Lord, reviewing your life in relation to him.
This Extract is from Colin Webster’s new book – Time Well Spent