BY GUIDO KUWAS
Is it just me or does anyone else sometimes struggle when trying to have their quiet time? Isn’t it amazing how time seems to go slower when we are trying to spend time with God? Or do you find it such a chore so that you keep putting it off and before you know it several days have gone past without you checking in with the Lord?
If your answer is “Yes” to any of the above, take heart: You’re not alone in this! If we would be really honest with each other in our churches, we would find that almost everyone has had some struggle with their quiet times.
I want to share with you a few things you can do to overcome this struggle but before I do, there are two things you need to understand about PRAYER:
There is a War On. The devil, the enemy of your soul, hates it when you pray. When you pray you can overcome sin, you can see miracles, you can help your unbelieving friends find God, you can have your eyes open to the plans of God for your life. Do you think the devil will take this defeat lying down? The Bible tells us to “be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him…” (1 Peter 5 v 8-9) – So, naturally this “resisting him” is part of your struggle when you decide to pray…
You Need Help from the Holy Spirit. Prayer is a Supernatural Activity. And because we are mere natural human beings, we will need all the help we can get! The Bible tells us where to get that help: “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.” (Romans 8 v 26-27) In other words, ask the Holy Spirit to take over your prayers and let Him pray through you. Learn to follow Him and go with His promptings in your heart.
Okay, having set the scene, let’s take a look at how you can improve your prayer life.
Here are 8 tips to help you make your Quiet Time more exciting!
Find that Special Place.
“Location, location, location!” Find a place where you can be left undisturbed so you can be alone with God. (I used to go into the attic which was the only quiet place when I was still at home with my parents! – Hey, whatever works for you!) It will have to become your comfortable, dedicated place to meet with God. This is important because without this you may not feel comfortable and will not be able to concentrate on your prayers. It may also help to tell the other members of your household that you do not wish to be disturbed during the following X minutes (or hours!).
Switch that mobile phone off!
The problem with this, of course, is that many of us use a Bible app which is on our phones. If you are serious about your quiet time, you should consider an app that does not need internet, so that you can put your phone on airplane mode and then no calls, no texts and especially no Facebook or Twitter notifications can disturb you! Failing this, switch your phone off and use a printed Bible. Just make it a special time for God. Imagine how you would feel on a date with that someone special in your life and he or she just keeps checking their phone or answering their phone all throughout dinner!
Schedule God into your Diary.
Try and make a regular ‘appointment’ with God every day if you can. Put it in your calendar; plan for it and stick to it! Often, first thing in the morning is the best time so you can start the day with God. Unless we schedule it in, something else in our lives will take over.
Aim for a Reasonable Target.
Set a rough target for the length of time you want to spend with God. Start with something achievable. I remember as a young Christian, I was inspired by a missionary speaking at my local church who said she would pray 4 hours every day. I felt that unless I can match her I could not be a serious Christian! Thus began a time of misery and feeling I’m a failure because I could not achieve that seemingly unattainable goal. Don’t fall for that. Start with a realistic target, like 15-20 minutes. Once you feel comfortable with that, you can bump it up to half an hour. And so on…
Let Music Help You!
I cannot overemphasize the importance of praise and worship music in your quiet time. David says in Psalm 100:4 “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.” (NIV) – The way into His presence is praise and worship. Since not all of us can sing and play musical instruments: thank God for CDs, iTunes or whatever way to play recorded music! Choose some good, meaningful Christian music to help your spirit open up to the Holy Spirit so that you can enter His presence.
Pray the Bible!
Did you know that many of the Psalms are prayers or declarations of faith? If you’re not sure what or how to pray, just start by reading out Psalm 23 or 91 as a declaration of your faith. Or read out aloud the Lord’s prayer as a starting point (found in Luke 11:2-4 or Matthew 6:9-13) but remember that this was meant only as a model in order for you to (ultimately) learn to verbalise your own prayers to God.
Avoid 17th Century Language!
Talk normally to God, avoid “Thee”s and “Thou”s and speak to Him as your Father. Tell Him in normal words what is in your heart. Tell Him how you feel and how much you love Him. Thank Him for all His blessings. Be real with Him because He is a personal God. Tell Him about your needs and the needs of those you care for.
Finally, learn to listen to Him. He wants to talk back to you. The Bible is full of instances of God speaking to people in various ways. So, after you’ve said what you wanted to pray to Him, be quiet and wait a while, expecting to hear a still, small voice in your heart speaking back to you. There is a personal invitation from God in Jeremiah 33:3, “Call to Me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” Remember this: Prayer is a two-way conversation!
By the time you have incorporated all the above into your devotional time with God, you will find that the time has flown by and that you may need that extra 15 minutes next time!
“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.” – Ephesians 6:18
Guido writes for his blog Crazy About God on what the bible says about practical living today.
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