Tuesday, July 31, 2007

THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF MY DAY

What is the most important part of your day? By far, most important for me is the time I spend alone with God. Call it whatever you want--quiet time, devotional, prayer and Bible reading, private worship. I can't survive without it.

Let me tell you what I'm currently doing. The first thing I do is talk to God and say, "God, talk to me." Then I read a section of the Bible, looking for some verse, phrase or word that "jumps out" at me. Currently I'm reading through John's gospel in The Message Bible. I read through a New Testament book and then an Old Testament book. So I go back and forth. I'm not trying to speed read through the Bible in a year. I'm taking it slowly.

There are two things I've started doing that have really jump started my times with God. First, I've started praying some of the Scriptures as I read them. For example, this morning I was in John 6. When I read where Jesus went up the mountain to be by Himself, I breathed a prayer: "Lord, that's what I need to do when ministry starts to crowd in on my personal walk with you. Help me to get away more to pray." When I read about Jesus aligning His life with what the Father wanted, I prayed, "Lord, I want my life to be completely aligned with your will." Praying the Scriptures has really helped strengthen my walk.

Second, every day I write a sentence or two that captures an insight that I gleaned from the reading. I guess this qualifies as journaling, even though it's only a sentence or two.

After reading one to three chapters, I read a few pages in a devotional book. Right now I'm reading Swindoll's So You Want to Be Like Christ. (By the way, this is an excellent book for quiet time material.) Then I shut my reading materials and pray and listen. I try to get focused for the day ahead. Sometimes I will put on my headphones and listen to some good praise and worship music.

On Monday-Friday, I spend 25-30 minutes in my time alone with God. I'm usually in my chair no later than 6:20 and at 6:45 I'm up and headed to Crooked Creek Part for my exercise routines. On Saturday I usually sleep in; so the quiet time happens later in the morning. If there is one day that I struggle to have my quiet time, it is Sunday. I'm up early and I'm praying and going over my message. So, I'm praying and looking at the Scriptures, but for my record book, that doesn't count as a quiet time. Usually, my Sunday time alone with God happens right before bed.

Of course, throughout the week in the office and at home, I'm reading and studying. But, again, for my record book, that doesn't count for my quiet time. I must have those 25-30 minutes alone with God each day. Otherwise, my spiritual vitality will wane quickly.

What works for me might not work for you. Here are three keys to having a meaningful time alone with God.

(1) Have a set time and stick to it.

(2) Have a set place, a place that is your sanctuary where God meets with you.

(3) Keep it fresh. Try different things. When you find yourself in a rut, get out of it as quickly as possible by trying something new and fresh.

A quiet time is an absolute must. A person cannot be effective for the kingdom without it.

Feel free to post a comment to share the makeup of your times with God.

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