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F a i t h   M a t t e r s  with Dr. Ken Lovelace

 

W h a t   I s   A   Q u i e t   T i m e ?


 

 

One of the most amazing facts is that God, the Creator of heaven and earth, longs to have an intimate relationship with us. He loves us unconditionally and has a wonderful plan for our lives. But how do we get to know such a big God?

 

The Quiet Time, also known as our daily appointment with God, is a special time an individual sets aside just to get to know the Father. Many picture God waiting for them every morning and themselves joining Him for a special time of fellowship.

 

The idea probably originated from Jesus' own prayer habits. In Mark 1:35, we read, "Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed."

 

In Matthew 6:6, Jesus said, "But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." The context for this verse is helpful. Jesus was speaking to a group of religious hypocrites who prayed long, loud prayers out in the streets so that everyone could see them. Jesus said their being seen was all the reward they'd get. On the other hand, those who do it in secret and only in the presence of God, will be rewarded by God Himself.

 

But what does a Quiet Time look like? Well, first, it's usually in the early morning hours. Someone has said, "Before I read the words of man, I first read the Word of God; and before I see the face of men, I first seek the face of God." The idea is to present our day to the Lord, to lay it all out before Him, and to ask for His guidance and direction as we commit our plans and our day to Him. Then we can move through our day with the confidence that no matter what life brings, it's already been prayed over and committed to the Lord. Jesus will walk with us, guide us, and comfort us if we seek Him first (Matthew 6:33). If something pops up as a surprise to us, we can rest assured that it is no surprise to God and it's already been laid at His feet; already prayed over. Though we didn't know it was coming, God did.

 

Second, it consists of time spent in prayer. An acrostic I like to use to guide my Quiet Times and to help me stay on track is A.C.T.S.

 

A = Adoration. I begin by adoring or praising God. I spend several minutes blessing His name and extolling Him. Think about the parent-child relationship for a moment. If we had a son who came in and sat down with us and just began asking for stuff, we would begin to feel that the only role we played in his life was some kind of dispenser of goods and services. We wouldn't want that. We would want our son to spend time talking with us, laughing with us, even thanking or "praising" us for something we've done; not just to asking for things.

 

It's the same with God. He wants us to get to know Him. He wants to be praised, adored, loved, cherished, and magnified, simply because of who He is; not just for what we can get out of Him.

 

 

C = Confession. Any relationship is strained when an offense has occurred. But it's much worse when we have offended God. How do we do that? By bad attitudes, inappropriate humor or words, thoughts that we shouldn't have, and so forth. The Bible calls them sins and the Bible tells us that we all sin and that our sins harm our relationship with God. So what do we do?

 

We confess them. "Confess" comes from a word that means "to agree with." We agree with God that we have hurt Him, we have done wrong; we have sinned. So, we say to God, "Father, today I was rude to my coworker and even said some words that were really bad. I confess to You that that was sin and I claim Your forgiveness right now."

You see, when we sin, we should try to enter into some kind of prayer time right then and confess it to God. I find that's really helpful so that at the end of the day or even in my Quiet Time the next morning, I don't have to try to remember all the sins that I committed so that I can confess them to the Lord. It's better to just get it out of the way when we commit it so that we maintain a right standing with God. Most of us need the benefit of being in constant contact with the Lord and can't afford for sin to sever our hotline to heaven. That's reason enough to stay right with God...continually.

 

The Bible says, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9). So, in your Quiet Time, move from adoration to confession...it really is good for the soul.

 

 

T = Thanksgiving. Take time to think about your many blessings and thank God for them. There's an old hymn I've sung for years entitled Count Your Blessings. Sometimes we get to feeling down and out. Thinking about all the many blessings we've experienced gives us reason to thank our great God, helps us to realign our priorities, and causes us to truly know how good God has been to us. Just like we love it when people thank us for something we did, so God loves it when we acknowledge all He's done for us.

 

 

S = Supplication. Now this may sound like a funny word, even a big word, but it's an important one. This is where we request things from God. I know some people who can't wait to get to this point, but it's not supposed to be the main reason we pray.

Remember, we pray because we long to get to know God better. We want to grow our relationship with Him. But by this time in our prayer time, when God knows we have spent time loving Him, He's much more apt to consider with seriousness the requests we bring before Him. And something else important happens. Because we've been in His presence, our "asker" is now in-tune with His will. Before we spend time with God, we might ask for anything; silly things, inappropriate things, foolish things, even wrong things. But something happens in His presence, a purifying of our desires, so that by the time we reach this point in our Quiet Times, we ask for the things that bring glory to Him.

 

Does that mean we can still just ask for anything and God will grant it, like some kind of divine genie? No, there are guidelines in Scripture that help us to know what He will bless and what He won't. There are many truths related to prayer and what we should ask for, but for now, let's focus on just one. The clearest verse to guide our prayer time is Matthew 6:33, "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."

 

Did you catch it? "...all these things" will not be given just because we ask, they'll be given if we seek first His kingdom and His righteousness. God already knows what we need even before we ask Him (Matthew 6:8). So, His way of doing things is to grant our needs as we seek HIM first, not His provision.

 

 

Third, listen! Sit still in the presence of God at the conclusion of your verbal time of prayer and just listen. Ask Him to speak to you and you will learn to "hear" His promptings in your heart to do this or not do that.

 

Another important way to listen to God is by reading the Bible. He speaks to us often through His Word. Hear it. Read it. Study it. Memorize it. And apply it to your life.

 

How long should all this take? If you're just getting started, it may only take 5 or 10 minutes each day. Before long, though, you'll find God so enjoyable that you'll both look forward to that time with Him and you'll find that you need to set aside more and more time to be with Him. There's no set amount of time other than that which works best for you...and Him. Try it today. You'll be glad you did!

If you need help or resources for getting started, just write and request it. I'll be happy to help you if I can. Enjoy His presence!

 

 



 

 

Copyright 2011. Faith Matters by Dr. Ken Lovelace. All rights reserved.


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