I often dont notice the difference my daily quiet time with God really makes until I fall out of the discipline of having one. Being too busy to stay still and know that He is God renders me an easy target for the one who walks around looking to destroy what God has built. Before I know it, I become fearful, doubtful, grumpy and insecure.
I used to think of devotional times as a necessity to please God. Something to do, to achieve, to perfect, in the hope that it may earn Gods attention, mercy, perhaps even love.
But it doesnt work like that, I am learning. God doesnt give us His attention because we deserve it we will never be entitled to it! God gives us His attention because it delights his heart to do so. He leads us along right paths for His own names sake (see Psalm 23:3). Advising us to make good choices and live well brings honour to His name. And what better way to allow God to speak to and transform our hearts than by intentionally pursuing Him?
Good and upright is the Lord; therefore, he instructs sinners in his ways. He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his ways [ ] He will instruct them in the way they should choose Psalm 25:8-9, 12
Finding a daily quiet time with God is an opportunity to see these verses become reality in our lives. It is an invitation from the divine to humble ourselves and receive instructions from Him. How amazing that we even get invited!! It allows the Holy Spirit to minister to us - on a very personal and precious level. It means feeding our souls with the daily spiritual bread it needs. It means acknowledging again and again our need for Him, our desire to know Him, to walk with Him in life, to surrender. It is a daily opportunity to ask for forgiveness and forgive, to worship, to love our Creator and be loved.
Below is a pattern of quiet time with God which I have found useful for myself. Do comment below, I would love to hear whether you found this useful and what other things work for you!
- I keep a gratitude journal where I list the things I am grateful for each day. On some days, certain gifts stand out and I write them down easily. Other days, however, present me with the invitation to reflect, explore and search for at least one thing I would be thankful for.
Gratitude is a discipline. It eventually fills us up with joy as we start to realise just how many gifts we are given on any given day. It helps us recognise the smallest things as gifts from our Father. It increases our confidence in Him as our Provider, Creator, Father, Saviour and Friend.
Thanksgiving is a beautiful discipline because it never fails to lead us into worship. As we thank God out loud for His goodness, generosity towards us, creativity and wisdom, I believe the Spirit leads us into worship. The Spirit fills us up with wonder and thirst for more of God in our lives. It cannot be otherwise.
- I will often read a Psalm to get me started - to help my heart position itself in a posture of prayer and worship. I tend to do this in particularly during difficult days because the Psalmist doesnt hold back from communicating honestly his feelings to God. I love that and it helps me do the same.
- I will then read a Bible passage and reflect on what it says. This part does not come easily to me. God knows and the Spirit is jealous to help. He is always only one cry out away! So I try to remember to ask for His help. I usually go through one book of the Bible at a time, passage by passage, chapter by chapter. I have never yet tried to follow a reading plan if you would like to recommend me one, please comment below.
Either way, the Holy Spirit loves to help me in reading any given passage to either understand better Gods nature and His vision for humanity & me personally, and/or help me understand what the passage calls me to repent of and change to help me align my life with what the passage is calling for. This doesnt have to be serious and sober. It is more of an honest, informal chat with God. It brings joy! Because where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom.
That said, I may need to come back the next day and read the same passage again. It takes time to wrestle with scripture and to hear God speaking through it. Its OK to take as little or as long time as you feel you may need.
- I will usually pray for others at some stage. I noticed that often having a pre-written prayer list will keep me focused. But asking the Spirit whom to pray for is fun, too. I dont always know exactly what others needs are. And thats OK again, the Spirit is jealous to help, reveal things and pray through us. It is great fun. Also, a privilege beyond measure!
- Interestingly, prayer often leads us back into joyful praise and thanksgiving. As we pray, faith rises up in us that our Saviour is indeed victorious over all things.
- Another discipline is to then look to keep a posture of worship and prayer for the rest of the day/night so that we are able to catch Gods gifts whenever and however they come!
Thats all from me for now! Be blessed!