Do you struggle to know what to do when seeking the Lord? When you hear of “daily devotions” or “quiet time” with God, do you just draw a blank? Perhaps you just don’t know where to start with spending time with God? Then this article is for you!
Spending time with God is about relationship and transformation. Knowing Him is our heart’s desire. And as we draw near to God, read His word, and communicate through prayer, God reveals himself in greater ways and changes us to be more like him. Let’s explore a few keys for developing fruitful quiet times with God.
Keys to Spending Time with God
All believers in Christ need to spend time with God. To grow spiritually we need to invest our time in the pursuit of God. In Jeremiah 29:13, God says “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all of your heart”. So it all starts in our heart with the desire to seek after God. But once you have set your heart toward pursuing God, leverage these simple principles to guide you in establishing regular time with the Lord.
1. Find a “lonely place”
First, identify a place where you can go to be alone with the Lord. This location will be your refuge or “mini-sanctuary”. This might be your favorite chair or in a large closet; a corner in the basement or a chair on the screened-in porch. You might need to have a couple of options depending on the size and makeup of your family. Know where you can go so this no longer takes thought when it is time to meet with God.
2. Make a Plan – Set a Time
To develop consistent time to seek the Lord, it is very helpful to have an established time to meet with the Lord. This is not a call to legalism where every day you must start praying at 7:15am or you have done wrong. The idea is to have a regular time that you set aside to spend time with the Lord. So, yes, schedule it. Set it on your calendar. Set a reminder. But, don’t beat yourself up if you miss the time or something comes up. Just start over the next day. And when setting a time, the earlier the better. A good rule of thumb is to meet with God as soon as you are awake and ready to start the day. Make God your priority today!
3. Minimize Distractions
The place you choose should be a quiet place without distractions.
- If you are married, avoiding distractions might mean asking your spouse to tend to the needs of the children at a certain time in the morning.
- For the single person, you may need to silence your phone and put your devices in another room until you have met with the Lord.
In our modern world, distractions only seem to increase. Take deliberate steps to block out the world for spending time with the Creator of the world. If social media, the stock market, or the news provides to great a temptation first thing in the morning, discipline yourself to not touch that device prior to connecting with God. As you honor the Lord with the firstfruits of your time and focus, I guarantee you will be glad that you did.
4. Develop a Routine
The intent is to lay the groundwork for a routine that will promote spiritual growth in your life. Spending daily time with God creates space for the exercise of spiritual disciplines that will connect you with God and transform your inner life. Even if you like to be more fluid and don’t normally like routines, try making an exception. Set a place and a time early in the day before the pressures and responsibilities of the day come calling. And then, when the time actually comes to meet with God, develop a routine for your actual devotions. Worship the Lord with a song or a prayer. Read a passage of Scripture and ask God how he wants you to change in light of that Scripture. Pray to the Lord for your day and for those in need. For more ideas on what to do when spending time with the Lord, read “How to Spend Time with God”.
5. Be flexible
The reminder to be flexible helps you to avoid condemnation and frustration. The goal remains beginning each new day connecting to God and giving the Lord first place. Some days you will spend lengthy time in Bible reading and prayer and feel victorious as you start your day. Other days you may get distracted or forget. An unexpected call may change your entire morning plans due to an urgent need. Whether you miss your time with God from your own failure or an urgent need, be flexible and give yourself grace. When you notice the day did not start as planned, just say a brief prayer to connect with the Lord. Ask forgiveness if you made choices that prioritized things other than the Lord.
- Be quick to let go of failures to meet with God.
- Don’t condemn yourself when you fall short, ask forgiveness. Try again.
- Avoid legalism and rigidity.
- Be flexible – if your “lonely place” turns out to be busy and loud, find another place.
To summarize: Make a plan to prioritize your time with the Lord in a certain place, at a certain time. Do your best to stick to your plan and navigate the unexpected interruptions with a Christ-like attitude of grace and love. Connect with the Lord however briefly and walk with the Spirit each day.
If you need more ideas about what to do in your quiet times with the Lord, please check out this article on “How to Spend Time with God.”