Originally published Monday, 08 February 2016.
When it comes to quiet time, you don’t need much to go deep. Just you, the Lord, and a Bible is enough.
But over the years I’ve found several resources that have enriched my quiet time experience, and since I’m always curious about what other people use, I thought I’d share mine, and then you can tell me yours as well. The links below are affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase through my link, a small percentage goes to support this site, at no additional cost to you (and I appreciate that so much!). You can read our full disclosure here.
Without further ado, here are my favorite resources for quiet time.
I believe the Bible is God’s Word given to us to know and love Him more, and so it’s an essential part of my quiet time routine. Since my freshman year of high school, I’ve been using the NIV Study Bible, and I appreciate the thoughtful notes and charts included. (Find it on Amazon here.) You don’t have to use the NIV. In fact, sometimes I use the ESV Study Bible or other versions, depending on my purpose for reading. If you’re unsure which Bible you should use, this post is a helpful guide that will explain the different versions of the Bible and help you pick out the right Bible for you.
Notebook and Pen
I also journal during my daily devotions, writing down prayers, experiences with God, and my Bible study notes. I’ve used regular composition notebooks, loose-leaf paper in a binder, and pretty journals, but I’ve got to admit that the latter make me more excited about opening them up and writing in them. (Am I the only one?) I really like this monogrammed journal from Dayspring. They have lots of pretty options at different price points, so you’re sure to find something perfect for you.
I highly encourage you to keep a journal so you can record your thoughts, prayers, and praises. But don’t wait until you find a pretty one; start with whatever you have handy, and build your collection of pretty journals as you go. (They’re great to put on birthday and Christmas wish lists. *wink*)
And on the topic of journaling, my favorite pens are the Pilot Extra Fine Point Pens. They’re smooth and create less friction when writing, so I can journal longer without hand cramps. I’ve used them for years and they’re still my go-to fave.
Praying God’s Word
I picked up this book on a whim at a women’s conference several years ago, and it sat untouched on my shelf for almost two years. But when I started my journey of overcoming food addiction, I realized that I needed help knowing how to pray over this stronghold, and so I dusted it off and cracked it open.
Friends, I wish I hadn’t let it sit for so long. This book is powerful because it combines the Word of God with the discipline of prayer; it’s not so much a book about prayer (although each chapter has a brief introduction) as much as a book of Scripture prayers. It helped me pray for things I didn’t even know I should be praying for, and I saw God move mightily in response, freeing me from the grip of food cravings as well as tackling other idols I didn’t even know I had. Since then, I routinely start my quiet time praying a few pages of Scripture from this book. I highly recommend you pick up a copy, but don’t be like me and let it sit on your shelf–start using it right away and be prepared to see God move. (Find it on Amazon here.)
Valley of Vision
Before I discovered Beth Moore’s book, I routinely used this collection of Puritan prayers, especially during a season of tragedy, when I had no words to pray. I would look up topics in the index, pick one that related to my day, read it through once to familiarize myself with it, and then use the prayer as a springboard, adding my own thoughts and feelings to the page. (Find it on Amazon here.)
Let me clarify one thing: I firmly believe in expressing our hearts in our own words and teaching our children to do so too. But over the years I’ve discovered that sincere doesn’t always mean spontaneous, and often we can find other people express our thoughts so much better than we can. (Has that ever happened to you? When you’re talking to someone and they say something that you’ve been thinking, and you say, “Exactly! That’s what I wanted to say, but you said it so much better.”) That’s how I view written prayers. I use them as a skeleton to formulate my own prayers, and I often find they give me the vocabulary to express what I couldn’t before. Obviously, you don’t have to use other people’s prayers. But if you feel like you don’t know what to say when you pray, using others’ prayers may help you learn to better express your own thoughts before the Lord.
Bible Reading Plan
It’s important to have a plan when it comes to reading the Bible. Picking a random verse is a bad idea, as I’ve talked about before, and that approach doesn’t help us go deeper in our knowledge and love for God, which is the point of reading the Bible. Though I’ve read the Bible in a year several times, I don’t think it’s the only (or the best) way to read the Bible. While you can certainly do that, you can also study a book of the Bible at a time or do a character or topical study.
Whatever plan you choose, I highly recommend reading the Bible in community. It’s how the Bible was originally meant to be read, and it helps provide accountability, support, and a forum for discussion. I’ve listed my favorite community Bible reading plans in this post, and I’m sure you’ll find one that you enjoy.
Lastly, I use gratitude prompts to list the many blessings God has given me, including the ones that often go unnoticed. If you’ve read One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp, you’ll be familiar with the idea that gratitude can make us more conscious of God’s presence around us, and I’ve found that to be true in my own life. I use these daily prompts from Ann to help me think outside the box, and I keep a running list in my journal. I hope to write down 1,000 gifts this year, and I’d love for you to join me! (Find the daily prompts here.)
What are your favorite quiet time resources? Share with us in the comments below.