Monday, June 21, 2010

06 How to Have a Quiet Time

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(Dan. 6:10,11)

The Christian life centers in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. We come to know Him as Saviour by a personal act of faith, whereby we receive Him into our hearts and lives. Then the Christian life is lived by faith in fellowship with Him. Through this He is made real to us personally, and because of this personal knowledge we want to tell others about Him. Unembarrassed freedom of speech will be ours, that boldness to talk to others courteously and kindly about Christ. Furthermore, our fellowship with Christ will enable us to have the Christ-like life to support our spoken witness.


How do we go about having a time of fellowship each day with the Lord? For help on this look at Daniel 6:10,11 which we will use as a key passage on the subject of quiet time. The background to this story is that certain government rulers who were envious of Daniel, persuaded King Darius to sign a decree to the effect that if anyone prayed to anyone other than the king during the next 30 days, that person would be thrown into the den of lions.

"Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime. Then these men assembled, and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God." There are several things that we can learn from this incident in Daniel's life. One is that he had a definite time set aside for prayer. In his case, it was three times a day. That may not be possible for us, but one thing is certain, we ought to have a definite time set aside each day in which we meet with the Lord Jesus Christ.

The best time of day for any one of us depends upon our own program and schedule. But for most of us, early in the day before breakfast is to be preferred. Then we can quiet our own hearts before the Lord and get direction from His Word for that day. He is able to nourish us and to strengthen us and to direct us so that we will honor and glorify Him in every activity throughout the day.

In order to get that time we, no doubt, will need to get up a little earlier. This is not hard to figure. What is needed is to decide how long we want to spend in the quiet time and get up just that much earlier each morning. If we are not in the habit of having a devotional period, may I suggest 15 minutes a day each morning before breakfast. Some who have been doing this for years, perhaps spend a half hour or an hour; but for one just beginning, the shorter time is better. When that is packed full and is rich with blessing, then you should increase the time to 20 minutes. Use the shorter period at first and let the time increase as the Lord directs.

What is the secret for getting up in the morning? There is no mystery here. It is simply getting to bed at night. Most of us will agree that at night we putter around the house, doing this little thing and that, but not accomplishing much. The subtle battle is in getting to bed at a reasonable hour. Here we must win if we are to get adequate rest and get up in the morning and mee the Lord and be strong for the day.

One thing is very important - whatever we do we must be consistent in our quiet time. It is a great deal better to get 15 minutes every day than an hour on an occasional day. The Lord is not going to be angry with us, so to speak, if we miss that time in the morning, nor does it necessarily mean that the day will go bad. To me it is something like the climate and the weather. The weather will vary from day to day, but the climate is the over-all average. Our devotional life or our quiet time may vary a bit from day to day with the circumstances of our life, but the over-all average should be a consistent time set aside daily for fellowship with the Lord Jesus.


The second thing we notice about Daniel is, that he had a definite place for prayer. He went into his house. This is of primary importance, if for no other reason than that it saves time to get there. The place chosen should be one where we can be alone, if possible. The Lord Jesus, in order to be alone, went to great lengths at times. For example, in Matthew 14:23 we read, "And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone."

We need to get alone and away from distractions. I do not know where that would be for each of us. It may be that there is someplace around our homes, in the living room, or even in the basement, which we can use.

In our home, I cleared a corner in the storage section of our garage, put a piece of rug on the cement floor, added a chair, and thus made a place for which I could go in the morning for prayer. If the weather is pleasant, perhaps a nearby park or a field, or even the family car would answer the purpose. The essential thing is to find a place where we can be alone for this quiet time.


After we have a definite time and a definite place, we ought to have a simple method. First of all, begin with the Word of God. It is His Word which nourishes the soul as the Lord Jesus declared when He quoted from Deuteronomy: "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word taht proceedeth out of the mouth of God." So we need to use our Bibles.

Perhaps it would be well to read through the gospel of John, a chapter each morning. As we read we should ask God to speak to our hearts so that we will see the person of Christ. We should also pray for truth that we can apply to our own lives. It is far better to follow a definite plan of this kind than to use the hunt and peck system with a portion of one part of the Bible one day, and another part for the next day. Whatever study plan we follow, it should be something which is consistent and systematic.

It would be well, too, for us to have a notebook with us, so that we might jot down some of the things which God brings to our hearts from the Word each day. He will always apply some truth to our lives and give help in the light of the needs we face. For myself, if I were spending 15 minutes in a quiet time, I believe that I would take 7 or 8 minutes for meditation in the Bible. For a 30 minute quiet time, possibly 15 or 18 minutes should be spent in meditation on some portion of Scripture. Following this we should go to prayer.

What should we do when we pray? Here are five things which should help us. First of all, we need to confess any sin that the Lord brings to our heart, and then claim the promise of I John 1:9 where he says, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Second, following confession, is praise to Him for who He is. Third, we need to thank Him for what He has done in dying on the cross, and also for the daily blessings which He gives. Fourth, we ought to intercede for the people whom He brings to our minds. One very practical way to do this is to turn to some of the prayers of the Apostle Paul, such as are in Philippians 1, and Ephesians 1 and 3, and make those our prayers for our friends. Fifth, we should make petitions for ourselves.

Do you have a time set aside each day? If not, why not start right away. Follow the simple plan suggested. Nothing will take the place of daily devotions.


1. Memorize Matthew 6:33 and Philippians 4:13.

2. Set aside 15 minutes a day for quiet time.

3. For your own benefit write down where and when you plan to have your daily quiet time.

4. What do you intend to do during the quiet time? (Be specific in your answer.)

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