As I said in my last post, I’ve been trying to get back to having daily “quiet times.” This is something I’ve tried doing a time or two before but never stuck to it. I’ve felt the need for it more than ever lately with all the craziness going on in the world right now. If you want to “catch up” and read the previous post, you can read it here.
If anyone were to ask me how I’ve dealt with the anxiety of this crazy year of 202o, with all its fears and uncertainties, my number one answer without a doubt would be prayer. The nights I spent in meaningful prayer or just sat in silence alone with God, are the nights I got my best sleep and felt my anxieties calmed. The second thing that has helped me has been reading my devotional books. I am somewhat of a devotional addict. And it never ceases to amaze me how they always seem to speak right to me or speak to something that happened that particular day. I have nine devotional books I read daily (soon to be 10). See I told you I was a devotional addict. Here they are:
And this will be number ten – the one on order from Amazon now.
If I had to pick a favorite, I couldn’t. Sometimes in bed at night I read them all aloud to hubby. If he’s really tired, I usually will just read the Moments Together for Couples devotional.
I think reading devotionals are great but I have let the reading of these devotionals be a substitute for reading my Bible and I want that to change. Reading Robert Morgan’s book, Simple (that I referred to in the last post), was the motivation I needed.
Here’s what my quiet time looks like now although this is a work in progress and I’m still experimenting at what will work best for me. I’m expecting this will change later.
- Devotional reading
- Bible Reading
I’m using my dining room table so that I can have a place to lay my books and materials and to be able to take notes. I’m a big tea drinker so I brew a cup of tea and sip on warm tea during my quiet time. I DO NOT answer the phone if it rings during this time. Right now, I’m having my quiet time at night and I’m spending about an hour. I might later try mornings and I might also try breaking my quiet time into two 30 minute sessions –one in the morning and one in the evening. This will spread the devotional reading out a little and I’ll read five of the devotionals in the morning and the other five at night. I think it’s important that we all find a routine that works best for us and so I’ll be experimenting for a while. What works for one person may not be what’s best for another person. I mentioned in the last post about not being a morning person but I think having a quiet time in the morning where you can start your day off with God and sort of set the tempo for your day, makes total sense to me.
The Bible reading I do during my quiet time is not a Bible study. Like Robert Morgan said in his book, Simple, it’s reading the Word to get nourishment for my soul. It’s reading until a certain verse really speaks to me and then stopping to meditate on that verse. I’m starting with the New Testament. On any given day, I start where I left off the day before. Some of the devotionals I read give Scripture verses that pertain to the devotionals or for further reading. That’s also part of my Bible reading – looking up those verses. My favorite translation is the Good News translation and so that’s normally what I read. That translation is just easier for me to comprehend. For Bible Study, I have The New Oxford Annotated Bible which is the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV). I also have a New International Version (NIV), a New American Standard Bible (NASB), a King James Version (KJV) and The Message. Sometimes it’s helpful for me to read a different translation, especially if I’m having trouble deciphering a verse. It’s amazing to me how much that can help.
I have a journal I’m using to take notes on the readings I do. I write down the date and then the verse in the Bible that really spoke to me, and then the main messages or highlights in the devotionals for that day. I write down thoughts I have or any questions.
Years ago, when I was engaged in independent Bible study, someone suggested lighting a candle for the duration of my study. So I lit a single white votive or white tealight. Lighting a candle in a room dispels darkness. White candles symbolize purity, peace, and comfort. Some Advent wreaths have a white center candle that is lit on Christmas Day. This is called the Christ candle and signifies the light Jesus brings into the world. Lighting that candle made my Bible study feel more holy, more meaningful. So I am lighting a single white candle during my quiet time.
Christ is the Light of the world. God is light, and Christ is the image of the invisible God. One sun enlightens the whole world; so does one Christ, and there needs no more. -Matthew Henry Commentary, Concise
The Lord lightens my darkness. He is my lamp. I crave this one-on-one time with my Creator. And I know I need this spiritual food for my soul.
I started this post over a week ago but didn’t quite finish it. While it sat in Drafts, ready to be completed, COVID-19 hit my family. My oldest sister developed symptoms and tested positive. And life changed in a heartbeat. She’s been in the hospital one week today with bilateral pneumonia, low oxygen saturation, headaches, and that wicked crushing weakness that COVID can bring. And I’ll just admit it…. I have failed at having my quiet times. Between trying to find out information about my sister from the hospital (which I’ve learned is no easy task) and keeping family and friends updated on her condition, I just haven’t found the time. And ironically, this is the time when I most need those quiet times with Him. Please pray for my sister.