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
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.
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."
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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?
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all
these things will be given to you as well."
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!