Deepening Your Quiet Time with God

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Plamen Petrov, artist, Detail from 'Holy Spirit window,' St. Stephen’s Catholic Church, Tinley Park, Illinois.
Plamen Petrov, artist, Detail from 'Holy Spirit window,' St. Stephen's Catholic Church, Tinley Park, Illinois.

We don't want to just learn about the Holy Spirit. We want to encounter Him personally! The way we do that is to spend time with Him each day.

As a way of patterning yourself after Jesus, who sought the Father early and often, set aside for yourself a regular Quiet Time to spend with God. You may already be doing this. If so, great. But even if you already do this, it's time to "up your game," to renew this time so it is most meaningful.

Set aside at least five to ten minutes a day -- or more, depending on your schedule -- preferably in the morning when you have your whole day ahead of you.

Your Quiet Time is a time to touch base with your Friend and daily renew your relationship with him through the Spirit. It is also a discipline that serious Christians set up in their lives -- whether they feel like it or not. Sometimes you'll be sluggish and not very spiritually in tune. Have your Quiet Time anyway; that's when you need it the most. Sometimes your Quiet Time may seem like just going through the motions. Do it anyway. Sometimes God meets you wonderfully in your Quiet Time. Rejoice!

Here's a simple guideline for a Quiet Time.[238]

  1. Greeting. "Good morning, Father," is the way I often begin.
  2. Praise. The Psalmist encourages us: "Worship the LORD with gladness; come into his presence with singing (Psalm 100:2; NRSV). Offer verbal praise: "Lord, I come before you with thanksgiving and praise this morning." Perhaps sing a praise chorus.
  3. Scripture. Ask God to open his Word to you. Then read a portion of Scripture, not just a verse from a devotional guide. But read systematically. You might begin with the Gospel of Mark or the Gospel of John and read a chapter a day. Each day, pick up from where you left off the day before. I try to read a chapter from the Old Testament, a Psalm, and a chapter from the New Testament each day. There's no right or wrong way here. However, whatever your practice is, stick with it -- and don't coddle yourself! Over time, this regularity makes you acquainted with the whole Word of God. This helps you know the lines along which God is thinking, his values, and what pleases him. Then as the Spirit begins to speak to or prompt you, you'll be able to discern whether it is God or not.
  4. Prayer. There's an acronym ACTS -- Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication -- that is a useful guide. I confess my sins to God, and ask him to cleanse me (1 John 1:9). Then I bring before the Lord each of the people close to me and ask God to help them. Sometimes as I'm praying for someone, God will prompt me with some way I can minister to him or her.
  5. Listening. The Spirit may speak to you as you are quiet before God.
  6. Take notes. Some people call this "journaling." It doesn't have to be formal, but be prepared to write down what God seems to be showing you.

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Sometimes my pattern for my Quiet Time seems to grow stale. Then I mix it up, perhaps reading a devotional book along with scripture and prayer. Perhaps spending more time singing. At least for a while. I typically return to my usual pattern after a few weeks.

Over the years I've observed that people who have a regular Quiet Time are the ones who grow as disciples. My pastor, Greg Krieger, sees spiritual disciplines such as a Quiet Time as a way of putting up all the sails to catch the slightest breeze of the Spirit's whisperings.


[238] For more see my article, "Apply Fertilizer Liberally."

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