8 Ways Your Time with God May Need to Change

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Daily quiet time with God, spending time in prayer and studying His word, is a worthy desire, and something should we strive for each day. Psalm 119:105 tells us that the Bible is “a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Through our study and knowledge of Scripture, we gain clarity and guidance from the Lord as we walk through life.

We want to be faithful in our time with Him, but we can lack motivation or just not know where to start. Sometimes we get busy or distracted and fall away from spending time alone in the Word. We have all felt this way at some point in our Christian journey, even those we look up to.

Be encouraged, faithfulness does not mean perfection. Our sanctification is a journey, and it is a lifelong process. So how can we progress in our time with God each day without feeling defeated? Here are eight ways you might need to change your quiet time.

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  • woman reading bible by a lake, change quiet time

    1. Think about the Purpose of Spending Time with God


    What are you really trying to accomplish in your quiet time? God desires a relationship with you, and the way to build any relationship is to get to know someone and to open up yourself to them so that they will know you. It requires time, honest communication, and work to learn about the other and divulge yourself to them.

    Think of your relationship with God in this same way. Time with Him each day should be spent learning about Him—his character, attributes, and desires from his Word. It is active study, and it takes energy on our part.

    Perhaps you need to redefine what your time with Him looks like to begin actively engaging the word of God for the purpose of knowing Him, not just knowing about Him, and applying the lamp and light of the Bible to our lives.

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  • open hands over bible, change quiet time

    2. Just Start


    Begin with the intention of being consistent. How many times have we thwarted our efforts by choosing a Bible plan that requires long periods of reading per day, or a study with too many questions to ponder in one sitting? Don’t be intimidated by the idea of reading the Bible every day. It’s OK to start small. Choose a Bible app and begin with just one verse if you need to. Or choose a book of the Bible and commit to reading just one chapter each day. Psalms, Proverbs, or one of the gospels is a great place to begin.

    3. Pick a Time of Day and Stay Steady

    Many teach that reading the Bible in the morning in the “firstfruits” of the day. My firstfruits must have been pretty rotten because I was not a morning person. For years I let this stop me from being consistent. In reality, whatever time of day you can and will do it is a great start, and it might look different in different stages of life. Maybe life is conducive to setting the alarm a little earlier in the morning, but maybe you need to sneak it in during your lunch break at work or just after the kids have gone to bed and the house is finally quiet.

    Whatever time you pick, be consistent. It may help you to set an alarm or reminder on your phone, and wherever you are at that time is a great place. It’s not about perfection, it’s about being faithful with what we have, even if it's just little snippets of time throughout the day.

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    4. Choose a Simple Method


    We have so many options available to us today. Bible apps and subscription emails have made it simpler than ever to be consistent. Devotional books make it easy to choose a course and stick to it. One of my favorite ways to begin is to read a Chronological Bible. It has daily reading plans, but it’s ok if you don’t follow the dates. Just keep reading, and eventually you will have read the Bible all the way through! Because it is laid out chronologically, it puts the whole Bible into perspective and can give you a great understanding of the big picture of the Word.

    Another highly recommended method is to choose one book of the Bible to read through daily. Start with a short book like James or Philippians, and read through it every day for a month. Even if you can’t get through it daily, just keep reading it over and over for the month. You will start to recognize repeated words and common themes, and you’ll be amazed at how much your understanding increases over that time!

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  • left hand on laptop right hand turning bible page online theology study, change quiet time

    5. Use Some Tools to Help You Study


    Unlike many books, the Bible is not just one narrative from Genesis to Revelation. It is a compilation of sixty-six books, all inspired by God, which have different purposes. Take advantage of other resources to help you understand the purpose of each book and how it fits into the big picture of Scripture.

    1. A great study Bible will equip you with definitions and commentaries from Biblical scholars and theologians. 

    2. Blue Letter Bible is many tools in one. It contains dictionaries, concordances, translation comparisons, commentaries, and more. Download the app and take advantage of this virtual library no matter where you go.

    3. Bible Study Tools is an all in one search engine for Bible references, and offers reading plans, verses by topic, in depth articles for further research, and many more tools and resources to deepen your understanding. 

    4. Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin is an excellent resource to help you understand the Bible and the context in which it was written. Though the entire Bible is written to magnify God and His redemption for all mankind through Jesus Christ, will greatly increase our understanding to distinguish the difference between studying the law, wisdom literature, poetry, or other genres in Scripture.

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  • woman looking up eyes closed in prayer, change quiet time

    6. Begin with Prayer


    James 1:5 assures us that if we will only ask God for wisdom, He will give it to us generously. Begin your time of study with a prayer to ask God to give you wisdom and understanding about what you are about to read. We won’t always grasp the full meaning of what we read the first time. God meant for us to study His word.

    7. Use Scripture as a Prayer Guide

    For example, John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (ESV). You might say a prayer that includes praising God for His love for the world, thanking Him for the gift of His Son and salvation, praying that He would help you love others in the world as He does, and asking for opportunities to share His gift of eternal life with them.

    As you read, just let the words prompt you to pray for what comes to mind. Praying God’s Word by Beth Moore and Praying the Bible by Donald S. Whitney are both full of help and guidance in strengthening our prayer life.

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  • grateful woman praying out of thankfulness, change quiet time

    8. Allow the Holy Spirit to Work in You


    Perhaps the hardest work here is the most crucial. Romans 12:1-2 exhorts us not to be conformed to the world we live in, but to be transformed, changed, by renewing our minds in the Word. Inevitably we will learn things in the Bible that are at least unfamiliar, if not contradictory, to the ideas we currently hold. Test those ideas against God’s word. The Bible is our plumb line for what is right, and we vet our beliefs against the truth of the Word to test their validity, even those ideas we might have learned in the church or from other well-intentioned people.

    When you brush up against a hard idea in the Bible, let the Holy Spirit be your Helper in seeking to understand and apply it in your life right away. It might be challenging work, but it is fruitful and will produce the blessings of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control in your life (Galatians 5:22-33).

    When it comes to spending time and energy engaging God’s word, God will bless your faithfulness no matter what verse, chapter, or reading plan you use if you will only stay steady. We don’t have to be perfect, in fact, we can’t be. But we can choose to be studying the Word more days than not. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 assures us, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” As we read, study, and grow, we can be assured that the word of God is our source of truth to equip us in all situations in life.

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    Hollie Gilman blogs about Faith and Family at HollieGilman.com. She has spent the last 21 years momming, homeschooling her 3 almost-grown-and-flown children, and working with her husband of 24 years. Now she enjoys writing and her new life in the country (being a pretend farmer) just outside her hometown of Richmond, VA.