Embracing Silence: What Is a Quiet Time and Why Do We Need It?

Heather Adams

Monday, August 12, 2019

As Christians, our main purpose is to worship God. But we live in such a hectic world that it’s no wonder we so easily become scattered and distracted from that purpose. Setting aside regular time in our schedules to focus on our heavenly Father is the best way to make sure we hear His “still, small voice” when He speaks to us.

I used to think having a quiet time was optional, something to fit in on days I had less on my to-do list. But that kind of approach left me less connected to God, and my worship was definitely less pleasing to Him. Thankfully, I’ve realized the importance of having a regular quiet time, and now I see the blessings that come from making it a priority in my life.

The Apostle Paul is an example of someone who desired to stay close to God. His words in Romans 12 are an appeal for all believers to follow his lead, not only once in a while, but as a way of life:

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God — this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” (Romans 12:1-2)

Photo Credit: Unsplash/JoelMuniz

Why should we set aside a quiet time?

1. We are called to

The Bible is truly a story of God’s love for His people. He created us and longs to be in relationship with us. But He will never force Himself into our lives, so it is up to us to seek Him. If we slow down and listen, we’ll hear His call.

“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me” (Rev. 3:20).

God wants us to reach for Him, to experience His compassion and grace.

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33).

Scripture also directs us to recognize His Lordship and give praise for it.

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth” (Psalm 46:10).

2. Jesus Himself had a quiet time

Jesus is our ultimate example of how to live a godly life – that was part of His earthly ministry. The Gospels clearly tell us He needed, and took time to, be alone with His Father - not just as a habit, but also before making major decisions and important events in his life.

“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” (Mark 1:35-37).

“Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray” (Matt 14:22-23).

Though not alone, Jesus had an intimate moment of worship with His disciples after the Last Supper.

“When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives” (Matthew 26:30).

Taking time to pray and praise kept Jesus’ heart aligned with His Father, and gave Him the strength to carry out His mission.

3. We benefit from a quiet time

It isn’t hard to find verses that talk about the benefits of quiet times with our Lord. The writer of Psalm 16 offers this testimony:

“I keep my eyes always on the Lord. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;my body also will rest secure…”

(Psalm 16:8-9).

I know that spending time with God always changes me for the better - my mind has more peace and my body is calmer.

“…in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).

I feel cleansed by being in His presence, as my sins and cares are both rinsed away.

“Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded” (James 4:8).

To be honest, even after I learned all the positive results, I still hesitated to commit to quiet time. Ingrained habits lead me to say, “I’m too busy.” A stubborn independent streak caused me to believe, “I’m okay, I don’t need it.” I felt awkward, admitting, “I don’t know what to do.” Finally, I decided to step out and try, and here is some of what I’ve discovered along the way.

Photo credit: Unsplash/Debby Hudson

Ways to spend your quiet time

Bible Reading

Whether I take in a whole chapter or just one verse at one time, I’ve noticed the act of being in God’s Word starts to align my heart and mind with Him.

“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” (Ps 119:105)

Scripture Study

Slowing down and really digging into a passage often reveals all sorts of truths and treasures I might have missed by simply skimming over it. Different than just casually reading the Bible, spend some time really analyzing specific passages.

“Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it” (Joshua 1:8).

Prayer

There’s something precious about sitting and communing with Him alone. I can be honest and transparent with Him and give Him time to respond.

“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” (Matt. 6:6).

Sing and listen to worship songs and hymns

Singing always lifts my energy level and my spirits – and I know God hears every voice as “joyful noise!”

“Praise the LORD. How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise him!” (Ps 147:1).

Writing and journaling

We are instructed in Scripture to remember the works that God has done, both in us and around us. I have found encouragement in writing down (and later reading) the ways He has blessed me, and truths He has shown me.

“This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘Write in a book all the words I have spoken to you” (Jeremiah 30:2).

Other ways I’ve spent my quiet time include being in nature, watching sermons and teachings and reading devotionals. The most important thing is that whatever I do, I focus on bringing glory to God.

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What to expect from your quiet time

How long should a quiet time be?

That is a very personal decision, so don’t let other people dictate what the right amount is for you. For some, 5 minutes is truly all they can spare, while others have the ability to devote more time each day. Certain people find they concentrate better in the mornings, while others like to finish their day with it. Also, each day and each season in life may present different opportunities. The bottom line is to make time for God a high priority.

Will God show up?

The short answer is: Yes, always! God has promised over and over again that He stays near us, and that He is working in our lives. So even if we don’t feel a great sense of His presence at any given moment, we can rest assured that He is close and He hears our prayers and praises.

How should we approach quiet time?

When preparing for a quiet time, our hearts need to be:

  • Seeking – curious and alert for see how God is working
  • Humble – acknowledging His authority and all that His is
  • Receptive – ready to take in what He might reveal to us

Adding a quiet time into a busy day might seem difficult. I know it took me a while to make a real effort in this area. But once I did, I began to see the difference those moments made. Moving closer to God has helped me see more of who He is, and I’ve been changed more into His likeness. You will be, too.


Heather Adams is an author, speaker, and singer living in Connecticut. Heather’s passion is to equip and encourage believers to seek more of God’s truth and to experience more of His joy each day. Her book, “Bow Down: The Heart of a True Worshipper” is a practical, 30-day devotional about worship. Worship Walk Ministries, her blog, offers weekly Scripture passages and insights to ponder. Heather shares her home with her family, an English setter named Marcie and Galaxy, the most curious cat she’s ever met. You can connect with her on her website: heatheradamsworshipwalk.com

Photo credit: Unsplash/Benjamin Davies