For years I tried to develop a consistent quiet time habit, but I just couldn’t make myself do it. If this is something you struggle with, there is hope. God will help you develop a quiet time habit because He wants to spend time with you!
If you’re in the place I used to be, I hope this post will help. Here are 6 steps that will help you start that quiet time habit.
6 Steps to a Daily Quiet Time Habit
- Make a plan. It will be easier to follow through on quiet times if you have a plan. Set a time, a place, and decide how you’ll spend your time with God. If you struggle with discipline, plan it for the time of day when you have the most self control. For many of us, that’s first thing in the morning.
- Find something that will help you discuss life with God. It’s easy to think of quiet times as just another item on the to-do list. This makes us not want to do them. Instead, view quiet times as daily “dates” with God: a time to sit with Him and discuss the day, discuss life, and just plain enjoy Him. Here are a few activities that will help with that (click on the highlighted words for more info): truth journaling, renewing of the mind questions, praying the Bible, and other tools from the Renewing of the Mind Tools tab.
- Find something that will keep you interested. We’ve all experienced those times when we sit down to read the Bible and our mind wanders. When that happens to me, I try to stay focused by doing something that involves deep thinking or writing. Here are a few things that help me in those situations: meditating on Scripture, Bible studies, and Bible journaling.
- Find something that will help you grow. If you think back to how the disciples spent “quiet time” with Jesus, a lot of it was spent in asking Jesus questions about how to live life. That should be happening for us too. If you’d like to work on growing in a specific area of your life, consider starting a renewing of the mind project and use your quiet time to go to God for help with it. This is a great way to grow closer to God as you learn to rely on Him for that area of your life.
- Try not to miss a day, but give yourself grace if you do. After I reached the point where I loved spending time with God and almost never missed a day, I went to a Christian Writer’s Conference (this is ironic) and went three or four days without having a quiet time. It shocked me how quickly I lost my desire to have quiet times. When I got home from the conference I had to make myself have my quiet time because I didn’t feel like it. It will be easier to start and maintain a quiet time habit if you do it every day. Just don’t beat yourself up if you miss a day! Quiet times are times to visit with God, not perform for Him. :)
- Get an accountability partner. If you try these steps and still struggle, you may want to consider asking a friend to hold you accountable to having your quiet time for the first month or so until you establish the habit.
How I Structure My Own Quiet Time
Because people often ask me what I do for my own quiet time, I thought I’d share that as well. When I was first establishing a quiet time habit about 16 years ago, all I did was truth journal for the first month or two. Truth journaling got me excited about the Bible, but I wasn’t ready for straight Bible reading yet.
Instead I started with published Bible studies (Beth Moore was my favorite), and then transitioned into straight Bible reading later. Currently I do a variety of things in my quiet time:
- Prayer: I start my quiet time with a few minutes of talking to God and reconnecting.
- Renewing of the Mind: If I’m feeling emotionally distraught in any way (worry, stress, etc), I’ll renew my mind first by either truth journaling or answering some questions from the Renewing of the Mind Project. This frees up my mind to focus on my Bible reading. I spend up to 25 minutes renewing my mind to make sure I have time to read the Bible.
- Confession: I usually confess my sins while I’m renewing my mind because I usually find that there is some sinful attitude causing me to be stressed. On days I don’t need to renew my mind first, I do a quick relationship check. Am I feeling close to God? If not, it’s usually because of some sin, so I think through the previous day and confess any sin that comes up.
- Bible: Then I’ll read whatever Bible portion is on my list for the day (I’m going through a read through the Bible in two years program). Sometimes I’ll journal about what I’m reading in the Bible, and other times I’ll just meditate on the Scripture. As I meditate or journal through the Scripture, I’ll intersperse that with talking to God about whatever comes up. If I’m doing a Bible study with my church, I’ll usually use one or two quiet times a week to do the homework for the study.
- Miscellaneous: I’ll also sometimes just sit and enjoy God without saying anything. Another thing I like to do if I’m reading a New Testament passage is to read it in my interlinear Bible and check out the Greek if I see anything unusual in the passage.
- Time: I used to just have quiet times without setting a timer, but as I’ve grown in the area of setting and working towards goals, I’ve been tempted to cut my quiet times short to get started on my list for the day. Because of this I’ve started using my FocusTime app to make sure that doesn’t happen. I use 2 Pomodoros for my quiet time (50 minutes total). This also helps me know when I need to switch to Bible reading if I’ve been renewing my mind first. I probably renew my mind first about half of the time.
- Intercessory Prayer: I do this as I think of it and throughout the day, but I’d like to become more disciplined about this. One of my friends goes on a walk every day and does her intercessory prayer on walks.
Having a Quiet Time with a Busy Life
If you have small children or an intense work schedule, you may have to get creative to find alone time with God. Lunches, work breaks, nap times, getting up early, or those middle-of-the-night awake times are all possibilities. I’ll often have my quiet times in the middle of the night if I can’t sleep.
You could also try talking to God throughout the day. In Practice of the Presence of God, Brother Lawrence, a 17th century monk, wrote about how to fellowship with God all the time, even while working. I recently started using alarms on my phone to help me develop this habit, and it’s really been helping, not just with remembering God throughout the day, but also with stress management.
Also, I just found this great resource if you have little kids: How I Still Have a Quiet Time with 5 Little Kids.
What about you? I’d love to hear what you do for your quiet times, what your struggles are, or anything else you can share that would help others. Just leave a comment below if you’d like to share!
Sue Holmen says
Thanks so much for this timely post! Looking at Holy Week, heading toward Easter, seeing again all that Jesus did and does for me, I am sorrowful that I battle choosing to be with Him daily. Asking the Lord to work in me that consistent abiding that will please Him and give me indescribable joy!?. He is Wonderful!!
Barb Raveling says
What a wonderful thing to ask Him, Sue. That could be our daily prayer, couldn’t it? Hope you have a wonderful day of celebrating His resurrection!
TC Avey says
Since having a baby my Quiet time with God has changed. I no longer have the amount of time (or energy to focus) for in depth, long passage readings and Journaling that I used to enjoy. At first I struggled with guilt over not having the amount of time I was used to spending with God but through prayer God helped me to appreciate the quality of time I had. He also told me to bring Him what I had. So I did. While I can’t do massive long readings at one time I can focus in on a few scriptures and meditate on them throughout the day. I also have lots of time for prayer. I can pray while holding my baby and caring for him.
I’ve discovered an even closer fellowship with God despite my time constraints because God longs for a relationship and all relationships change depending on seasons of life. Since having kids my husband and I have had to learn how to stay connected with limited one on one time. A relationship with God is no different. I may not be able to read the Bible on a year anymore but I’ve no excuse for not meeting with God.
Great post. Thanks for the tips.
Barb Raveling says
Wow, thanks so much for sharing your experience, TC, and also for the wise advice for those with small children. Sometimes we forget that God understands exactly what we’re going through and instead feel like He’s a stern taskmaster, saying, “Shape up, people!” You described what He’s like perfectly.
Your comment also reminded me of a great book I read by a mom of young kids. She talked about how she grew closer to God through meditating on Scripture all day and that was easy to fit into her schedule. The book is, “His Word in My Heart: Memorizing Scripture for a Closer Walk with God,” by Janet Pope.
I’ll include the link in case anyone is interested in reading it: http://www.christianbook.com/heart-memorizing-scripture-closer-walk-with/janet-pope/9780802409645/pd/409645?dv=c&en=google&event=SHOP&kw=christian-living-0-20%7C409645&p=1179710&gclid=CjwKEAjw_ci3BRDSvfjortr–DQSJADU8f2js8OHUSxh9LkaAgLmXBKXxZIdMGILym4c8W7jhlrhgxoCA7nw_wcB
Also, that’s so great that you’re growing even closer to God despite the time constraints! Thanks for sharing your experience with us!
You really nailed this down. The things that I use to discipline me in this you described well. Being in a Bible study brings accountability. I also make that the priority before I do any other creative writing… funny how that always seems to make it better.
Barb Raveling says
That’s a great idea about making quiet time a priority ahead of writing, Floyd. I do the same thing. I’m a morning person so I always have my quiet time first thing in the morning.
Dan Black on Leadership says
Great post! I find I’m always busy and doing something so taking the time to stop and wait on the Lord is key for me.
Barb Raveling says
You’re in a busy season of life, Dan, with your little kids and career. Glad you take time out for God!
Such a great post Barb. I love the helpful tips you’ve given here, and I like the structure of your personal quiet time. I’m going to check out the renewing of the mind project. Thanks for sharing.
Barb Raveling says
Thanks, Tega, and thanks for stopping by!
Rosie Williams says
I pinned your post about tips for a quiet time and look forward to ordering your book on renewing your mind. I have also written a similar book, Repuposed Faith: Breathing New Life into Your Quiet Time. The Enemy knows if he can get us to drift away from our personal, life giving time with Jesus, we will not be effective in maintains the peace and love we so desire. Thank you for writing about this important topic…God bless
Barb Raveling says
Hi Rosie! I just checked out your book and it looks great! Plus I LOVE your cover! That’s a great topic to write about as I know it’s something a lot of people struggle with. Praying God will use it for good in the lives of others!