By Contributing Writer, Kim Doebler
Some people view quiet times as legalism. Our family has experienced them as a tool God has used to draw us near to Him.
What is a quiet time? How often do we need to do it? Why do we do it? And are there “rules” to follow for having a quiet time?
A quiet time is: taking time and being quiet (at least quieting our anxious hearts) with the Lord. It is a good goal to do a quiet time daily, knowing some days will slip by. There are no Scriptures with the term “quiet time,” so the concept must come from Jesus’ example. (Lk 5:16, Mk 1:35, Matt 14:23, Lk 6:12) There are no specific rules for a quiet time, just whatever helps a person to focus on what they are reading and learning.
Although there is no “right” way to do a quiet time, there are three aids that can be used to lend a hand: reading, journaling, and praying. Most would agree that our goal in having this quiet time with the Lord is to “draw near to the Lord.” (Heb. 10: 22a) This gives the impression that we can experience His presence with our senses involved. This use of our senses is how I would like to explain how our family uses quiet times to help us find satisfaction in Christ alone and to be ever growing in our relationship with Him.
Start by HEARING.
Take a minute and think about what we have to do in order to hear. For example, if I ask someone where they are going, they tell me ,and then I realize I still don’t know where they are going…what was missing? I didn’t listen. I heard them talk, but I didn’t listen to what they said.
He who has ears, let him hear. (Matt. 11: 15)
Start this time by asking the Lord to open your ears to hear what He is going to speak to you that day. Listen and expect to hear from the Lord.
TASTE the feast God has for you.
Taste and see that the Lord is good. (Psalm 34:8)
Isn’t breakfast delicious and satisfying? Would it taste as good if we would have it right after supper? Why not? It would have been the same food?
Just as food taste better when we are hungry, so God’s Word is more satisfying when we come hungry. In order to taste the Lord’s goodness, we must seek and pursue Him. Think of searching God’s Word like raiding the refrigerator. When we are hungry we open the door and look until we find something satisfying. This is how we need to hunger for God’s guidance, searching until we find what we need.
In the same way that we break our fast of food in the morning by eating breakfast, we are breaking our fast of fellowship with our Lord by meeting with Him. After eight to twelve hours without food, we’re hungry. As we renew our fellowship with the Lord, He wants to be our strength for today.
I can do all things through Him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13)
Open the eyes of my heart Lord, so I may SEE You.
Isn’t this our desire?
I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you… (Ephesians 1:18a)
If something comes into our view that we don’t like, all we have to do is close our eyes. There are times that people have even been sharing a particularly yucky story that I have closed my eyes in order to try and not “see” what they are saying.
At other times, I can look at something and not even see it. A glance at the clock doesn’t register; I still have no idea what time it is. Ever been caught with your eyes open, yet somewhere else in your mind? We call that sleeping with your eyes open. Eyes are necessary to see, but just because we have eyes doesn’t mean we will see.
Sometimes when we see a deer out the window, one of us will ask, “Do you see the deer?” Others will ask, “Where?” and the original viewer will try to direct them to the site. Although the second viewer has eyes, they need a little help seeing what is there to be seen.
Journaling is a help like that. Journaling is a step that aids us in thinking through what we have read in the Bible. As we write down what hit us in our reading, God helps us “see” what He is saying to us personally. Often this leads to our “seeing” how we can apply God’s Word to our day to day. This “seeing” what we’re reading and applying it to our lives is also referred to as meditating on God’s Word.
But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His law he meditates day and night. Psalm 1:2
In our prayer time we can experience the gift of FEELING God’s closeness.
Think of sitting close to some girlfriends on the couch. Do you “feel” their closeness? Does sitting close “feel” different than sitting scattered around the room?
Come near to God and He will come near to you. (James 4:8)
This is a promise; we can expect God to be near us when we pray.
The Lord is near to all who call on Him in truth. (Psalm 145:8)
Prayer is fellowship with our Creator. He wants us to draw near—to sit on His lap—to talk and to listen—to “feel” His closeness.
Just as the satisfaction of hanging out with a good friend can bring us a warm fuzzy feeling, so God wants to warm us with His presence.
They asked each other ‘Were not our hearts burning within us while He talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us? (Luke 24:32)
By hearing, tasting, seeing and feeling God’s presence, we have done what is necessary to remain spiritually healthy. Again, there is no formula required to draw near to the Lord. Yet, if your quiet times need a boost, try reading, journaling and praying to help you find satisfaction in Christ alone and to be ever growing in your relationship with Him.