I’m often asked how I “do” my quiet time and how to fit one in to a busy schedule. I’ve hesitated to presume any authority on the matter because I am a girl just like you who has great intentions and sometimes lets the urgent overrule the divine. I do fail but I can tell you that God’s Word and relationship to Him is everything to me and even when I do fall, I am not cast headlong. This is one area where I will always persevere if it kills me. I must persevere or it WILL kill me. Life operates at break neck speed around the McKay house but this past December took the cake in terms of how many mornings in a row I had to hit the ground running way too early and fall into bed way too late. I don’t begrudge a single activity that required the rush but I would be lying if I said it didn’t take a severe toll on the time I count most precious which is my morning devo in the park.
The first couple of days I had a more limited Jesus time at another part of the day but by day three I was struggling to do much more than read my Oswald Chambers which is ironic because my pitiful efforts certainly were not my Utmost. Thankfully it didn’t go much further than that because by the end of the week I couldn’t stand myself. In my deteriorating state of mind, a seeming rejection had taken over and I had decided to quit the call, cancel my teaching engagements, shut down the blog, and never speak of those things again. And I was in a horrific mood in the time of year when Jesus should be the Reason for the Season. So spiritual.
Would you like to know something I learned? (Not for the first time, mind you.) A person has no business whatsoever making life-altering decisions outside of consistent communion with God in both the reading of His Word and prayer. As I already said, it took no time whatsoever to believe my call was void (by call I mean those things extracurricular to the most important role of being a wife and mother) and that whatever it was God has asked of me up until now was done. Finished. Because of an imagined rejection born out of an impulsive decision on my part that was more fleece than faith. I didn’t wait out the thing like I should have and a couple of weeks ago, that realization stung but not unto death. After a few days apart from talking to the Lord about it, that stinger revived and spread a Quitter’s Poison that convinced me I should never again put myself in a situation to be reminded that I am of no consequence. (I know better than this. I’m quoting The Voices.) I wasn’t hearing from the Lord because I had not positioned myself in such a way to listen for a response. How does He respond? Through His Word! I can’t tell you the number of times I have been in a season of prayer about a specific thing and the verses in my devo or the pastor’s sermon or the radio teacher were precisely God’s part in the conversation. Had I not been in a position to hear His Word from many angles I would missed the opportunity to know His response on the matter. And here is one other thing I’ve learned. Or re-learned. When we are in consistent communion the stuff of life that threatens to overwhelm seems to keep its proper place. There is greater discernment for right and wrong. Clarity comes in decisions where there was confusion before and we are at peace with God when His answer is ‘no’ or ‘not now’.
So, what does my positioning look like? I humbly submit just one way of many to have a meaningful time with the Lord. I call it the “I Say, You Say, I Pray.” format. Tools needed: Bible, Devotional, Journal, Pen, and Highlighters
1. I Say: Simply enough, these is where I get to have “My Say”. I begin my time by writing those things that are a part of my dailyness. I usually record events and end up with concerns. These are my written prayers to the Lord where I am specific with the concerns of my mind. I find vague feelings of doom seem to dissipate when they are spilled out into the light in black and white.
2. You Say: After I’ve spelled out my prayers, I refer to my devotional and ask the Lord, “What do You Say to me today?”. My favorite for this purpose is Thomas Nelson’s Daily Light on the Daily Path. It is nothing short of amazing how the topical scriptures on the pages so often address exactly what I’ve already written. (And no, I do not peek first! I let His Word be a surprise to me.) I then write down the scripture that is most meaningful to me. If it seems completely irrelevant to anything I’ve already written, I simply write at least two reasons that particular scripture spoke to me. I often find they are a foreshadowing of something yet to come. Not trying to be superstitious here and I’m not at all saying God tells me the future. *grin* But I do believe God’s Word is a lamp unto our feet and I believe He means to light the paths we may soon walk.
3. I Pray: After I have God’s Word as food for the Spirit, I pray aloud to Him using those scriptures. I also write those requests for specific issues or individuals that were already on my mind or that came to it. I also write down any responses I have to what the Lord has said to me.
I hope that doesn’t sound overly complicated because it really isn’t. This is just the stride I have stepped into with the Lord that works for me. If any part of it is helpful at all to you in establishing your own routine with Him, then God be praised! I realize I am very spoiled in that I have time after I drop the kids off from school to really sit with Him. But, and here’s one other thing I’ve learned, we do what we want to do every part of the day. 30 minutes is a sitcom is a Facebook session is a phone conversation. 30 minutes is all that stands between us and the divine.
You can do this. You WANT to do this.