When I was a newbie Christian, I had no idea what a Quiet Time was or how to have conversations with God. Prayer had always been a one-way street. Since then, I have picked up a few tips and while our times with the Lord are unique to each one of us, I would like to share some hacks which help me.
My journal is the most important Quiet Time tool after my Bible. I always have one on hand from the start so that I can write as God speaks to me and as thoughts enter my head. When you meet with God in that ‘secret place’, you will hear so many pearls of wisdom and you don’t want to forget a thing.
I find writing helps me to focus and process what I am saying and hearing. The other reason I journal is to record all of my conversations with God. There are many God encounters and wow moments captured on the pages of my journals.
Begin your conversations with God in thanks and praise
Wipe the slate clean
There is nothing like a sin to hinder our relationship with God, so be sure to remove all obstacles. Confess any sins you know about and ask God to reveal other sins that you may have forgotten. We need to cleanse our hearts and minds and allow God to search our hearts. Repent and ask God’s forgiveness for each sin in turn. Always remember a conversation is 2-way communication, so sit quietly and allow God to speak to you too. He is so willing to forgive and draw us closer to Him.
Pray for the strength to not commit the same sins again, to sin no more and for the strength to live a life of Biblical principles.
While on the topic of forgiveness, we are told to forgive others as God forgives us. Forgiveness is important to God as we saw in Why we should forgive others. Anger and resentment may be an obstacle in our ability to hear God so lay aside your grievances up front. If you are struggling to forgive somebody, remember God is gracious and won’t leave you to do it alone. He equips us to carry out His commands, so lean into Him and trust He will help you.
Pray for others
While thinking of others, make a list of all the people you can pray for. Perhaps you know of somebody who is sick or has a specific need or it may be that person you have a grievance against. Of course, you can pray for them at any time but it is good to form a habit of interceding for others during our Quiet Time. Intercessory prayer is powerful and if you want to learn more, Dutch Sheets wrote an excellent book called “Intercessory Prayer”.
This is where you can really pour your heart out and God will respond. Bring to Him all your requests and the desires of your heart. If you are feeling overwhelmed and can’t think where to begin or what to say, sit still and listen to what God wants for you. Through your spirit, He will help you to process your muddled thoughts.
The Bible says “With thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Phil 4:6 ) Don’t be demanding, greedy or self-centered in your requests. God says our prayers are not answered because we ask for the wrong reasons.
Read a scripture
How much you read depends on you and the amount of time available. Rick Warren in his book, “Bible study methods”, says to keep Bible study and prayer time separate. Bible study is intense and requires you to engage intellectually for extended periods at a time, whereas a QT is the chance to press into and seek the Holy Spirit. It is still necessary to read at least a passage of scripture though, as God will often speak to us through His words. The Psalms are a great place to find daily inspiration and encouragement.
This is where you can add something extra to enrich your Quiet Time. It may be a page from a Daily Devotional or an article from a Christian magazine. I love creative journaling. As I color and create, the thoughts from my conversation with God are inclined to flow into new areas. The people, topics, and scriptures swirl through my mind and it is often during this time that God speaks to me. Take note of all those thoughts in your journal.
Candles always bring calm and serenity so maybe you could light one near you. Better still, if it is scented, the Bible often speaks of sweet fragrances and aroma.
Make these times your own expression to God, dance around the room if you want to.
Where to have conversations with God
It probably goes without saying, you should choose the quietest place you can find, which may be difficult when you have kids. I think it was Joyce Meyer who said she would put a cloth over her head, even if it was in the middle of the room, and the family knew not to disturb her. Do whatever it takes to find some solitude friends.
I prefer the privacy and quietness of my room. I would love a beautiful spot in my garden or beside a cool stream but this is seldom an option. Thankfully God is not limited geographically and while it is a good habit to have a specific place, we can have a conversation with God anywhere. There are times when you may suddenly feel the need to speak to Him at work, in the shower, driving in your car or in your bed in the middle of the night. These impromptu moments are special too and are often the most profound.
When to have a conversation with God
What separates us from the presence of God
There are times when we may be desperate to spend time with God but we can’t seem to connect. Here are some reasons which can make us feel separated from Him.
- Fear of what other people may think of you.
- Lack of understanding of how God communicates with us.
- Feelings of being unworthy.
- Our belief system.
- Lack of time.
- Stress and various other distractions.
If you really can’t seem to focus, try the praise and worship music, even if you don’t do anything else.
Close your conversation with God in prayer
Work through each step in the post, there are plenty of activities for you to do to set up your Quiet Time.
Start by deciding when will be a suitable time with the least amount of distractions.
Next, gather all the tools you will be needing and keep them in one place. It wastes precious time if you have to first search the house for what you need. Be creative and make the moment count.
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