Bible study and prayer are a couple of the foundations of a Christian’s relationship with God. As a believer spends more time in God’s Word and more time in prayer, their faith grows, their knowledge of who God is and what He does grows, and how much they love God often grows too. If you’ve been faithful in reading the Bible but are looking to dig deeper and spend extended time studying and praying, here are a few things you might want to consider as you take the next step in extending your quiet time.
“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).
1. Plan for It
You’ve probably heard the saying, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” With quiet time this is so true! If you do not have a plan, you are very likely to fall off the bandwagon pretty quickly. The plan does not need to be extensive or detailed, but there needs to be some type of idea in your mind that you can follow so you are not sitting down and just hoping to read the Bible for hours on end. While it sounds wonderful to spend extended time in God’s Word, it is likely not to happen without a plan.
A few ideas for a great plan might include carving out a specific chair, or space in your house where you can get cozy and comfortable. It might mean you plan to walk and listen to God’s Word as you enjoy the beauty of His creation. It could be you go to place where you can get alone and pour your heart out without anyone else seeing or knowing.
But one thing is certain, you definitely need to decide on a time when you are able to focus and stay attentive. Even the disciples struggled to stay awake when Jesus instructed them to do so (Matthew 26:40). Extended time in the Word typically does not just happen, so find your time and place, and plan for it.
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2. Get Rid of Possible Distractions
This is probably the biggest struggle for all of us. There are so many notifications, things to do, and people to respond to, that focusing for any length of time at all is a battle.
Turn off the phone. Put away the computer. Set the iPad aside. Turn off all things that ding, chime, buzz, or beep. Take the dog out one last time and make sure children have something to keep them busy for as long as you plan to dive into the Word.
Distraction is one of the devil’s oldest tricks. He began with Eve and a piece of fruit (Genesis 3:1-4). Don’t be tricked by his old ways. Prepare to focus and follow through by eliminating any and all possible distractions. This will not be a good time to multitask, unless you choose to walk while you listen, or listen while you clean or do other household chores.
3. Gather Resources
As you plan for your time devoted to God’s Word and prayer, gather any resources you want to read, use, or look over. This might include a Bible, Bible Study book, a devotional, a prayer guide, or other resource that you want to use as you study. Don’t get hung up on resources though – even they can be a distraction.
Always be sure the Bible is your one resource that all the other resources come from. You will never go wrong with simply reading God’s Word. I encourage you to read an actual physical copy of the Bible rather than a digital copy because the screen simply makes it too easy to click over to other things.
4. Get a Journal
I know, I know. Not everyone likes to journal. Whether or not you like to journal, I recommend you get a journal for your extended quiet time. Here is why. As you come across things in the Bible that speak to your heart, write them down in your journal (Psalm 16:8). This will give you a record to go back to when you are struggling to hear from God. You will be able to see the times when God spoke to your heart before and be encouraged that He will do it again.
Write down your prayers or prayer needs. Date them. As they are answered, write it in the journal. You will never regret having those God moments written down. It will spark fresh faith when you are struggling.
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5. Sit Down and Make It Happen
You’ve planned, reserved your spot, gathered your resources, limited distractions, got a journal and now it’s time to sit down and dive into God’s Word. But how do we do it? It might sound too simple, but you just sit down. Open the Bible and begin.
No matter how long you have been studying and reading God’s Word, there is always a way to extend your time and expand your relationship with God. While quantity does not always equal quality, your efforts of honoring God with your time will pay off. We know we aren’t working for God’s approval and favor, but when we choose to spend more time with God, the result is knowing God more. The more we know God, the more we know peace. And don’t we all need more of that.
If you are considering extending your quiet time, I hope these practical tips will get you started on the right foot. You will never regret time devoted to God.
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Micah Maddox is a women’s event speaker, Bible teacher, and author of Anchored In: Experience a Power-Full Life in a Problem-Filled World. She is passionate about helping women find purpose, peace, and calm in our chaotic world. Micah is on the Proverbs31 Ministries First5 Writing Team. As a pastor’s wife and mother of four, she contributes her time to her family and local church serving as a women’s ministry leader. Micah loves to give a voice to hurting hearts and writes and speaks to the one who needs encouragement. You can connect with her at micahmaddox.com or on YouTube. You can find her book here.