In this podcast, Greg and Sharon Fletcher explore the purpose behind quiet time with God and what it should look like for you. Using scripture verses and anecdotes from their own lives, they debunk misconceptions and reveal the truth.
What does it mean to form an intentional habit of spending time with God? We all go through seasons where doing this is easier or harder than other seasons. So how do we stay consistent when things get busy and a million other things need our attention too?
Take a moment and think about the times when you weren’t able to squeeze that quiet time with the Lord into your morning routine. Running on empty spiritually, you weren’t your best self, were you? Maybe you snapped at your kids when they didn’t get dressed when you asked them the first time, or maybe you experienced some anger when another driver cuts you off on the highway. You were missing that peace, that joy, that fulfillment that comes with spending time in Jesus’s presence.
Contrast that with a day when you did intentionally spend time recharging in God’s word. The challenges of the day seemed less insurmountable, didn’t they? Maintaining constant communion with the Lord bolstered your spirit, reminding that you are more than a conqueror in Him and He will never make you face life alone.
“One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him.”John 13:23 (NIV)
During Jesus’s ministry on the earth, He and His disciple John shared a special relationship. He is even specifically referred to as “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” Wherever Jesus went, John followed, even at Calvary. Jesus entrusted John over all His disciples to take care of His mother Mary because of the depth of their relationship. Let this be a picture of your relationship with Jesus today. Seek that level of intimacy, constantly seeking after Him and His will for your life. His wisdom is infinite, and we have direct access to that because all barriers between us and God were removed on the cross.
“You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.”Psalm 139:1-3 (NIV)
Making time for God in the morning–starting your day by putting Him first–is a great way to begin walking with Him, but our ultimate goal should be not only entering His presence, but also never leaving it. Take Jesus with you after your quiet time. Even during the mundane actions of the day, turn to Him and seek His wisdom first. You’ll find that having a joyful attitude becomes easier and your days go much more smoothly.
What should my quiet time look like?
Hearing the words “quiet time” may draw up an image of poring over the Word while sitting at a small table, coffee in one hand and a pen in the other, ready to transcribe any revelations you receive in your notebook. But if this method of quiet time does not minister to your spirit, it’s okay! As long as you are spending time in God’s presence, your quiet time could happen anywhere–washing your hair in the shower, waiting in an airport, taking a walk in a park. Your “success” as a believer is not measured by how many scripture verses you can read in one sitting, or how many worship songs you sing on your knees. Don’t be afraid to make your quiet time your own.
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.”Romans 8:1-2 (NIV)
The enemy will try to pervert this holy communion with the Lord by drawing you into self-condemnation. Many believers struggle with this. They compare their quiet time with those of their Christian brethren, and feel inadequate, as if they love God less because they are only able to spend 20 minutes, 10 minutes, or 5 minutes with Him before leaving for work, or before the kids wake up. Do not fall into this trap. Jesus wants to meet you where you are–He has no condemnation for you when you fall asleep in the middle of praying, or when you forget to spend time in His word before beginning your commute.
Your quiet time doesn’t have to look a certain way! Jesus is overjoyed every moment you spend with Him, whether that’s during a two-minute prayer over breakfast, or listening to worship music on the way to work. He knows that you chose to spend time with Him, however little or large, instead of choosing something else, and that makes Him happy.
“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”Hebrews 11:6 (NIV)
Stop trying to measure up to an imaginary ruler that determines whether or not you’re a “good Christian.” When you are born again, your heart naturally feels drawn towards Him in love–you don’t need to try and force it. Just rest in His presence and feel His love for you!
“But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, ‘Abba, Father.’”Galatians 4:4-6 (NIV)
Allow God to take the lead in your quiet time, and He’ll surprise you. You may find Him waking you up before your alarm, but instead of being irritated, you’ll find your spirit filled with joy. Allow Him to pour His love over you, quieting the cares of the day and overwhelming you with the peace of His presence. The more you engage with Him, the greater your appetite will grow. It’s just a natural by-product of being who you are in Christ, of responding to the love of God for you.
“We love because he first loved us.”1 John 4:19 (NIV)
So stop trying to measure up to what Pastor so-and-so, or Brother- or Sister-so-and-so said you should do as a Christian. There is no checklist you can follow to please God. He just wants a relationship with you, and that’s going to look different for every single person. Who God created you to be isn’t going to look like who He’s called your husband or wife to be, or who He’s called your neighbor down the street to be. We’re all journeying towards Jesus, but you start where you are, and that’s okay.
Why am I struggling?
We all go through times when we just don’t want to get up. Our bed is nice and warm and we could get a couple more minutes of sleep if we just closed our eyes again. And other times there’s something else keeping us from joyfully running into the presence of our Father. You may find that when you aren’t experiencing the same desire to be in God’s presence, it’s because you’re believing a lie about His character. When you notice that within yourself, stop that moment and search for the source of your reluctance. Maybe you haven’t been believing God’s unconditional love for you, or maybe you’re having a crisis of faith regarding His faithfulness. Whatever it is, if it contradicts Who God is as revealed in His word, you need to combat it with scripture immediately.
“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”2 Corinthians 10:3-5 (NIV)
The devil is constantly seeking to cast doubt into your heart and disrupt your communion with the Lord. You need to exercise diligence in your own heart to make sure that you are always believing the truth about Who God is and who you are in Him.
Where’s a good place to start?
If you are having trouble deciding what to spend time reading in God’s work during your quiet time, or if you’re just starting out and aren’t sure what your quiet time with Him looks like yet, finding a devotional is a good place to start. Here are a few devotional suggestions, some of which written by Greg and Sharon Fletcher:
- Tools for Living (great for new believers!)
- Mirror Moments (great for women!)
- My Utmost for His Highest (great for everyone!)
These will give you bite-sized lessons which are easy to understand, but be prepared to grow beyond them as your spiritual appetite develops. Eventually, you will desire heartier meals, and you can only find those engaging with God’s Word.
If you’re finding yourself desiring those heartier spiritual meals, consider extending your study time beyond English translations of the Bible. Delving into the original Hebrew and Greek can offer revelational insights, and with great free websites like Blue Letter Bible, digging deeper in the Bible is easier than ever. Resources like this can give you crucial historical context referenced by the original writers of the Bible, as well as greater understanding of their intentions behind certain verses that just can’t be translated perfectly into English or other languages. There’s a wealth of knowledge to be found in digging into the Bible deeper, and every time will reveal new revelations you never noticed before.
“You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.”Psalm 63:1 (NIV)
The ultimate purpose for your quiet time is just to spend time with the Father. Your motivation behind it should not be “to be a good Christian” or to brag to your friends at the Bible study group how many hours you spent in the Word this week. The Creator of the universe, the One Who formed the earth in His hands and knit you together in your mother’s womb, wants to spend time with you! He wants to hear about your week and the challenges you’re facing at work and with parenting your kids. He wants to give you His peace and wisdom and pour His love out on you every single day. No one loves you like He does.
No matter what your quiet time looks like, as long as you’re making time for your Heavenly Father, resting in His presence and basking in His love for you, you’ll find so much fulfillment and refreshment each and every day. So wake up a little bit earlier, turn on that worship song during your commute, do whatever you feel led to do to be close to Him, because He wants to be close to you, and there’s nothing on this earth like it.