Quiet times have almost become idolized in Christian circles. We feel that in order to have a “successful” quiet time we must have a solid hour of solitude. It must be first thing in the morning. It must start with a devotional book and a hot cup of coffee. And it must include some journaling.
But what if this is not what your quiet time looks like? What if you are interrupted by the baby crying or you have to rush out the door to work? Are you doing something wrong? Are you less of a Christian?
Personally, I have felt a lot of guilt over this. I have felt like I did not have a relationship with the Lord like I was supposed to because I did not get regular, uninterrupted time with the Lord. Over the past three years, I have either been pregnant or up in the night with a baby without a break. My quiet times have been interrupted by a child almost every day. It was frustrating and discouraging. But as I have spent a lot of time thinking about this, I came to realize that “quiet time” as we define it is a privilege and a blessing.
What Does Scripture Say?
- Joshua 1:8 – This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it.
- Psalm 119:11 – I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.
- James 1:22 – But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves
These verses are but a small representation of what the Bible says about knowing God’s Word. Just by these few verses, we see that God requires us to know, meditate, and obey His words. We cannot do this without studying His word. So it is crucial that we spend time in God’s Word. When we do not spend time studying God’s Word, we are disobeying God. Scripture requires us to be constantly and consistently in God’s Word.
So What Does that Look Like?
I remember in college one of my professors described how she would tell young moms to keep their Bible open on the kitchen table so that they would be reminded in the morning to read it. She instructed them to start by reading one verse and meditating on that verse throughout the day. I remember thinking that was crazy! One verse! Why couldn’t moms just get up a little earlier and have their quiet time? Two kids later, I understand her point a bit better. There are a lot of distractions that prevent you from being in God’s Word. The important thing is that you are knowing, meditating on, and obeying God’s Word.
Be Creative, But Obey
Depending on your schedule and your responsibilities, you may have to be creative about spending time in God’s Word. The good news is that God’s Word does not outline how or how long we are to be spending in Scripture. It does say to be in the Word as much as possible and to know it thoroughly. Devotion time may look different in different seasons of life. There are seasons when your kid sleeps through the night and you are able to get up early to study God’s Word. There are seasons when taking one verse and meditating on it is all you can do. The key is that you are knowing, meditating on, and obeying God’s Word. Have I mentioned that before?! Some non-traditional ways that you can incorporate God’s word are:
- Listen to it
- Read it to your kids or to your spouse
- Utilize nap time or the evenings not just the mornings
- Memorize it
- Sing it (there are lots of Scriptures set to music)
- Tape up verses above the sink, on your mirror, or in your shower
- Download the Bible on your smart phone
- Utilize your spouse or a babysitter when you can to give you uninterrupted study time. (This is what we do! My husband spends the first hour or so with the boys in the morning so that I can read and pray for a bit. And every couple of weeks he lets me go off to a coffee shop so that I can have time to read and write. This post was written in a coffee shop yesterday!)
One thing that I have come to realize about quiet times is that I am without excuse. In our age of technology, there are so many resources available to me to help with knowing the Bible. But using busy-ness or my lack of discipline as an excuse to not read God’s Word is sin. I need to be in God’s Word in some form every day. And any time that I can get uninterrupted time with the Lord is precious and refreshing.
It is a privilege to be able to study God’s Word for ourselves. Believers in the Old and New Testament did not have the whole Bible to study for themselves like we do. And there are still many people groups who do not have God’s Word in their own language. It is a gift to be able to study God’s word for ourselves.
I laughed when listening to a Risen Motherhood podcast and they echoed my thoughts about the expectation that our quiet times have to include a latte and a fluffy chair! Unfortunately, that cannot always be the case! Make it a priority to constantly and consistently be in the Word! No matter how noisy your quiet times are!
Looking for ways to enhance your devotion time? Here are five ways to dig a little deeper.