4 Ideas to Help You Prepare for Quiet Time with God
1 Kings 19:11-13 -NKJV
Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. So it was, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. Suddenly a voice came to him, and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
Although I don’t believe there are “steps” to have a personal relationship with God, I do believe that there are some habits and practices that help in preparing for it and nurturing it.
One of the first practices that I had to learn was how to get still and quiet before God. This habit does not come naturally for me. In fact, there was a time in my life, in my early twenties I need to have the radio, television, and computer on all at the same time. Even though I had recently graduated from college, moved to a new city and had started my career – I was unfulfilled – there was an unconscious void in my life. I realize now that I could not be alone with my own thoughts. I was trying to distract myself with noise or busyness – but not with God.
Though our lives are busy and filled with all kinds of responsibilities, as Christ-followers, we must make time for the one who made us. Even Jesus, in all He had been charged with, made time for His Heavenly Father as demonstrated in Luke 5:15-16: “Yet the news about Him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear Him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” If Christ needed to withdraw to meet with God, then how much more do you and I need to?
The reason why we need to get still and have quiet time with God is because that’s where we find Him. This is evidenced in 1 Kings 19:11-13, the verse at the beginning of this post. Elijah could not hear God in the wind, the earthquake or the fire…He could only be heard in the quiet that followed. His “still small voice” still operates just that way for us. He does not yell or scream or pitch a fit when you don’t hear Him – He just waits for you to get quiet enough to receive Him.
I have a few practical ways that may help you find your still place for quiet time in order to develop your personal relationship with God.
1. Eliminate distractions.
As I mentioned earlier, I had what I called the “trifecta”: TV, radio, & internet that distracted me. Now we have so many more things pulling our attention all over the place that it leaves us scattered. It may be hard to admit but we’ve given more power over our lives to Netflix, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest than we’ve given to our God. Again, God is not going to scream over those things to get your attention, so eliminating distractions can help you set the stage to hear His voice.
I like to turn off the phone and all electronic devices for an hour a day everyday. If this is something that is feasible for you (and I know it is not feasible for everyone) just try it and gauge what impacts it makes on you.
2. Get up early.
I have a friend who gets up at 4:30 a.m. every morning to spend time with God.
Is it early? Yes.
Is it difficult? Yes.
Is it worth it? Absolutely!
Jesus sets an example for us in Mark 1:35 “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where He prayed.”
3. Schedule your quiet time.
If waking up early may be difficult then you should consider adding your quiet time to your calendar just like you do your doctor’s appointment and anything else. This works especially if have every intention on getting quiet with God but get distracted during the day. Scheduling it reminds you that it’s time to set aside EVERYTHING else and get still before the Lord.
4. Quiet your own mind.
For me it is much easier to eliminate outside physical distractions than it is to get rid of my biggest obstacle: quieting my mind. I cannot hear the still small voice of God when my mind is cluttered with
things I need to do,
things I don’t feel like doing,
I could go on and on.
For me quieting my mind can be exhausting. Since I am keenly aware of this I practice deep breathing to calm my mind and body down. I’m a firm believer in the mind, body and “Holy” spirit connection. The word “Spirit” itself means breath or breathe in both the Greek and Hebrew. So whenever I do deep breathing exercises I think about the breath of life that God has gifted me with. When I do this I may recite a scripture of worship such as Revelation 4:8: “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!” Or at other times I just say “Thank you Jesus” over and over until I’m in a calm state, ready to receive a Word from the Lord.
What are some ways that you quiet your mind and get ready to spend time with God?
What are some challenges to being still and getting quiet?
What minor tweaks or major adjustments do you need to make to spend quiet time with God?
Stay with us so you don’t miss the next installment of the #EmptytoOverflowingSeries to help you refresh your personal relationship with God!