What’s a Quiet Time?
A “quiet time” is simply being intentional about having a conversation with God. This usually means listening for God’s voice by reading the Bible or devotions, and speaking with God through prayer. Jesus did this numerous times in the Gospels, sometimes slipping away all night or in the early morning, to spend time with his Father. This isn’t quite the same as in-depth study of the Bible – although that’s really important too, and there are some resources to help with that here.
Throughout history, people have found that spending regular time with God – in prayer, meditation, and reading his word – have been essential to their spiritual health.
How do I do it?
There’s no single “right answer” to that, but many people have found the following method (suggested by Scripture Union) helpful:
Pray before reading, asking God to help you understand and receive his Word. Through Christ you are in the Father’s holy presence. Approach Him boldly, humbly and expectantly.
Read carefully the Bible passage for the day. Refer to the preceding and following sections as necessary so that you read in context.
Meditate on what you have read, waiting in openness, ready to obey God’s Word to you. First, think through the passage, asking yourself such questions as:
- What is the main point of this portion?
- What does God — Father, Son or Holy Spirit — reveal of Himself?
- What insight am I given into myself, and into my life situation? Is there an example or a warning to heed? A promise to claim?
- What does Christ require of me now, in thought, word or action?
Then complete your meditation by using Bible reading notes. In light of these insights from your fellow Christians, think further about what God is saying to you.
Apply what God has taught you from today’s reading to the circumstances of life — situations at work, home, school, or church. Use what you have learned in order to become more like Jesus.
Pray again. This time, turn the things you have learned into prayers. Thank God for His greatness and love. Confess your sins. Remember the needs of others. Adore the Lord in His beauty. Go forth to serve Him with joy.
What are Bible Reading Notes?
Bible reading notes typically give you a short passage for each day, together with some explanatory notes or devotional comments, and maybe some suggestions for prayer. They’re a great way to work systematically through the Bible, as well as to get help understanding some of the more difficult parts of it.
Bible reading notes are published by a wide range of organisations – including many that you can use online or on a smart phone, as well as in printed form. They also come in different styles to match what you prefer – just like the different styles of newspapers or radio stations – and they’re available for different age-groups too.
Some excellent ones can be found here (from Scripture Union), here (from BRF) and here (from CWR), and you can get information on the E100 plan that we used as a church here.