I don’t know about you, but I have an extremely hard time making and maintaining a quiet time habit. I, for one, am not an early morning person, and so that girl who regularly gets up at 5am to do her morning devotion before exercising and going to work is just not me. But I also fall into the trap of making excuses for why I can’t be in God’s Word, like the fact that I go to my foundations of biblical counseling class on Mondays, young adult group on Tuesdays, and serve in youth group on Fridays, and every one of those nights I’m usually not home before at least 10pm. That’s enough Jesus-time, though, right? I mean, almost every night of the week I’m doing something that involves reading my Bible and praying.
But the Holy Spirit has convicted me of this mindset. I can’t expect to grow in my personal relationship with the Lord if, when I come to Him, I’m surrounded by people. Growth in our relationship with the Lord requires an intimate knowledge of who He is.
There is one thing among a few that we long for in a relationship, and this one thing I would consider one of the most important. Intimacy. The closeness between two people where it seems like they may know more about what you’re thinking than you do. We long for that person that we feel we could tell everything in our mind to and trust that information to never leave the confidence of the two of you. And honestly, it’s very hard to find any one person that perfectly lives up to that standard.
As I’ve been studying the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6, verses 5-6 talk about the hypocrites who are praying loudly in the synagogues and on the street corners, and who, supposedly, lack that same enthusiasm in their personal prayer lives. So, Jesus gives us some helpful advice on how to pray in a way that pleases God. He says in the first half of verse 6 ,“but when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret...” We are to be different from the hypocrites. A prayer life that pleases God is one that begins in something like the privateness of a bedroom, which is arguably the most intimate place in a home.
You may be saying, “Okay, Liz, I get that my relationship with the Lord can’t only be when I’m at church or doing a Bible study with people, but how in the world do I get consistent with reading my Bible on my own?”
Do It Anyway
I hear you! I still haven’t gotten this completely right in my own life. But I think that it’s not about when or how you read your Bible, but rather just doing it. My aunt used to tell me all the time “Do it anyway.” Even when you don’t feel like reading your Bible, even when you feel unworthy to come before the Lord in prayer, do it anyway. It is only in coming to the Lord that will bring sanctification and a renewed mind that longs for the Word of God. In our sinful nature, we don’t want to read our Bibles and spend time with the Lord. But we are no longer slaves to unrighteousness, as it says in Romans 6. So one way to establish a Bible reading habit is to just sit down and read. Start at the beginning, that’s always a good place to start, and just read. You don’t have to do deep studying. Just pray that the Holy Spirit would soften your heart, and allow the Word of God to work in you. Rest in the work of God as you read.
Pray + Memorize
Praying through Scripture and memorizing it always made me excited to come back to my Bible everyday. It created a challenge for me as I sat before God’s Word, and allowed for it to stick in my mind as I went throughout my day. The Psalms is a great book of the Bible to pray through, and some are short which helps make them easier to memorize. Psalm 119:9-11 says, “How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” Here we see how the Psalmist is asking the Lord to help him not wander away from his God’s commands. He is storing up God’s Word in His heart so that he might not sin against Him.
"When we delight in God and in His word, it is in that place that there will be growth. God’s Word is true, it is a firm foundation for our lives to be built upon."
So often when we fall into sin, we think it’s because God wasn’t with us or because He wasn’t giving us the power to do it. But I think we find the key to overcoming sin in our lives in this passage. The Psalmist is both asking for help from God, knowing that in and of himself he is incapable of pleasing Him (see Romans 3:11), but also taking faith-filled action. He is meditating on the Word of God, memorizing it, storing it in his heart. THIS is why quiet time is so important. This is why it is so necessary to spend time with the Lord in prayer.
When we delight in God and in His word, it is in that place that there will be growth. God’s Word is true, it is a firm foundation for our lives to be built upon. Apart from Him we have nothing, and in Him we have everything. So, I encourage you today: do it anyway.