20 Ways to Improve Your Quiet Time
Behind closed doors, many of us yawn through our quiet times. Somehow, our routine time with God slowly and quietly degenerates into a boring, predictable rut. As spiritual cataracts grow over our sleepy eyes, we may grow disinterested and frustrated. Such seasons demand a fresh view of the Creator. Like any good relationship, quiet times with God need a little variety. Instead of rolling over and hitting the snooze button, try one of these ideas for your next quiet time.
- Write a letter to God about your life. Give it to a friend to email back to you in three months. In the letter, talk to God about the area of your life that are bothering you. Write about how you’d like to grow and what attribute of His you’d like to see more clearly.
- Write out and personalize Scripture by inserting your name into promises relevant to your life or current struggles. For example, I would personalize Psalm 84:11 IN this way: “No good thing does God withhold from Pam when she walks uprightly.” Many of the Bible’s promises come to life and seem more powerful and relevant when personalized in this way. Spend some time meditating and praying over verses that you personalize. I once copied a set of verses and string them together as a personalized love letter from God’s heart to my own. I have it framed and hanging in my room. Those personalized verses help me keep a big view of God.
- Go on a praise walk. Thank God for everything you see. Take the opportunity to look closely at God’s creation, praising Him for His creativity and the beauty of the world He’s crafted. After hiking for a while, find a quiet spot to read one of the many psalms that describe His creation. Isaiah 40 and Genesis 1 are two other chapters that will help you focus your heart and mind on God’s creative character.
- Read through the Bible, mark it up, and give it as a gift to a child. If you begin early, you can plan to give the Bible as a gift to our child before an important transition, such as when he or she enters high school, leaves home, enters college, or gets married. Try to picture God through his or her eyes. With that season of life in mind, mark verses you think will help your child see and trust God in the transition to come. You might also make notes in the margin to help guide and direct the child’s thinking about a passage or explain how the passage is relevant to this stage of life.
- Spend your entire time with God singing and praising Him. Church hymnals and books of choruses are great resources to enliven your quiet time with personal worship. You might even try creating a song of your own!
- Dance before the Lord like David, who danced “with all his might” (2 Sam. 6:14). David’s dancing was a heartfelt and spontaneous expression of rejoicing. So put on your favorite hymn or praise song, and dance away. Interpretive dance is a wonderful way to express your heart and soul in praise before God. If you enjoy Jewish folk dancing, ballet, or some other kind of dance, dedicate your talent to God.
- Write down every sin that continues to haunt you. Then write 1 John 1:9 over each sin. Destroy the list – God has. This is a strong visual reminder of how God blots out your sin.
- Write out a Philippians 4:8 list. What is lovely to you, worthy of praise, excellent, etc.? Hang the list in a place where you tend to be grumpy, such as above the washer and dryer or on the dashboard of your car for that frustrating commute!
- Pray in a posture you don’t normally use. Try praying on your knees, prone, or standing with your face to the heavens and your hands raised in worship. It’s amazing how simply changing your posture before God can change your attitude and help you experience Him in new ways.
- Read a different translation of the Bible. You might consider purchasing a Bible that has several translations in parallel. Reading a new translation or comparing different ones can stimulate new insights into Scripture. If you’ve used and marked up one particular Bible for many years, reading a different Bible will enable you to see the Word with new vision. Because your eyes will not be drawn to notes and highlighted passages from previous study or devotional reading, the Scripture will feel as beautiful and inviting as a fresh snowfall on a crisp winter morn.
- Praise Jesus from A to Z. For example, “Jesus, You are amazing…Jesus, You are beautiful…” This activity will challenge you to think deeply about who Jesus is and why you love and serve Him. As you praise Jesus using each letter of the alphabet, spend some time meditating on each word you use to describe Him. Thinking deeply about Him is more important than racing through each letter of the alphabet as fast as you can.
- Write out your prayers to Jesus. You might write them in a journal, or purchase special stationery for these precious letters, as you might do if you were sending a letter to someone you have fallen deeply in love with. At the end of the letter, sign your name, just as you would a normal letter. Something powerful and deeply intimate happens when you record your thoughts and prayers in a letter to Jesus.
- Make a list of the hurts and needs in your life. As you come to a verse that shows how God can meet that need, write it down next to that need. Like the letters mentioned above, you can do this in your journal, or separately. You might even create a journal that records only your needs and relevant Scriptures. As you do this, you create your own book of God’s promises!
- Reread the notes of the sermon from the previous week. If your pastor is doing a series and you know what Scriptures he’ll be addressing next, read ahead in the passage to be covered next Sunday. This will prepare you to think more deeply and listen better during the next sermon, as well as helping you remember and apply truth. Find a verse in the text that has helped you grow, and write a note to your pastor thanking him for his sermon and insight on the passage.
- Read your favorite hymn. Spend some time meditating about each of the hymn’s verses and its overall message. Find the Bible passage that they hymn was based on, and think about how the hymn was composed. What were the circumstances? Your pastor or worship leader might know about a particular hymn’s origin. Your Christian bookstore may also carry books that detail the history of certain hymns. If you’re able to locate such information, think about how the hymn reflects the author’s response to God during his or her circumstances.
- Spend a period of time fasting from food, TV, or a hobby to spend more time with God. If you’re able, combine your fast with a day at a quiet retreat center, the beach, the mountains, or even tucked away in a library to reflect on God’s Word and His hand in your life.
- Have a quiet time with one of your children or grandchildren. This would probably include reading a passage from the Bible out loud. You can give children a powerful peek into your relationship with Christ by inviting them to share your regular time with God. As you ask them questions about what they see in the passage, you’ll teach them to think more deeply about God’s Word. Their responses and observations may surprise you, stretch you, and enrich your own perspective.
- Write about your relationship with God from a different point of view. Think about how someone else would describe your walk. For example, my teen son might say, “My mom has a radical walk with Jesus. She really got pegged (convicted) by this verse.” Several friends from the mission field explained how this activity helped them communicate the parable of the sower to the tribe they worked with. In their translation work, they described the seed that grew as the one that fell on “mulchy” soil. In that tribe, the best heart is one that resembles a compost pile. When you consider your walk and God’s Word from the perspective of another, you will think differently, cross cultural barriers, and gain a fresh view of God.
- Memorize one of the prayers of the Bible, such as Mary’s prayer in Luke 1:46-55. Then act the prayer out as a soliloquy.
- Write out a list of theological questions you’d like answered. Choose one and begin researching it. “God, what is Your heart toward women?” was a question I had that led me on an exhaustive study of all the women in the Bible, and all the verses with the words woman and women in them.
Remember the purpose of all these ideas is to enhance your relationship with God and your intimacy with Him during your quiet time. The goal is to abide ever more in Him. As Fern Nichols, the founder of Moms in Touch, says, “If you seek to abide in the vine daily, you never know what day He might choose to change your life forever.” Enjoy the adventure!
This article was adapted from Woman of Influence: Ten Traits of Those Who Want to Make a Difference by Pam Farrel, ©1996 by Pam Farrel.