Since my college days, specifically since fall of 2003, my heart yearns for daily time in God’s Word. Over the past 14ish years since then I have gone through many life seasons: from college student to engaged college student to married college student to barely-out-of-college-new-mama to church planter’s wife to working mama of 3 littles. No matter the season my heart and mind have needed God’s Word for nourishment, for Truth, for wisdom, for encouragement, for the reminder that this life is not about me and all about Him.
My quiet time routine has looked a little different in each of those seasons, in fact, the only thing that hasn’t changed is that a Bible is always involved. However, I have learned that with just two simple steps, along with a little time and a little discipline, one can have a very effective quiet time, no matter the season.
- Choose a time & location. This is super important. Without a plan when your alarm goes off and the rest of the house is sleeping you will surely just hit snooze 47 times until you have no time left. Sure you could have a 2 minute quiet time while you brush your teeth, but I would argue that it’s rather difficult to fully meditate on God’s Word, His character, His holiness while trying to do another thing. I would encourage you to set aside time in the morning. Even if you’re not a morning person. Starting your day in a way that fills our thirsty souls with hope and peace and joy and truth will never be a poor use of that time. This article is super helpful in regards to choosing a location and how intentionally creating a space and using your senses will make for a sweet retreat every single morning, helping to make your quiet time more of a reward and less of a chore or duty.
- Have a plan. Again, without a plan your quiet time will result in aimless social media scrolling (been there) or endlessly flipping through the Bible (been there too.) So have a plan. What do you want to study? What do you want to read? I always recommend studying the actual Bible as primary source of your quiet time. Books are awesome but the Bible is better. So maybe consider choosing a book of the Bible to read through and study or starting a “Read Through The Bible in a Year” plan. I outlined my current simple and effective quiet time plan for you to see. It isn’t anything fancy but I hope it encourages you to make a plan that works for you; one that considers the season of life you are in and the amount of time and energy you currently have. Remember this is not a duty to check off but a treat to enjoy each day.
MY CURRENT SIMPLE PLAN
Keep in mind, what makes this plan simple is that now it’s a habit. I do almost the same thing every single day. I know what I’m going to study, when I’m going to study and where. There’s no thinking involved. Because at 6am no one can think clearly.
- Warm-Up (5-10 minutes): It takes a few minutes to actually wake up so I call this my quiet time warm-up which is typically some type of devotional. Something that someone else has prepared and done the heavy lifting already. 😉
- My Favorite Warm-Ups: Morning & Evening, New Morning Mercies, or Solid Joys (a phone app, I prefer books because I can “accidentally” click on Instagram when I’m supposed to be praying…)
- Pray (1-2 minutes): Just a quick prayer asking for God’s help and grace as I dive into His Word.
- Reading / Studying (15-20 minutes): I’ll spend a few minutes on the specific book or topic I am studying in the Bible. Right now I am studying Proverbs so I’ll spend the time reading and re-reading and highlighting and meditating through a specific Proverb.
- A very basic “how to study the Bible” tip is to ask three questions when reading Scripture: 1. What does this passage of Scripture teach me about God? 2. What does this passage of Scripture teach me about humanity in general and myself personally? 3. What is my response to 1 & 2?
- This looks different every day depending on what I need while studying but I typically have on hand the following study helps: Blue Letter Bible, the ESV Study Bible and the Gospel Transformation Bible. The Bibles have commentary that help my understanding of what I’m reading.
- Pray through a Psalm (5 minutes): This is new for me but something I’m trying to make a habit. Read this for more detailed thoughts on How to Pray the Psalms.
- Journal: I may journal throughout my quiet time or I may leave it to the end to specifically journal my prayer time.
- Book: Currently, I get up a little earlier to add 15 minutes of book reading to the end my quiet time. I was so encouraged by how many books I could read in a year if I just read for 15 minutes a day that it motivated me to get up just a few extra minutes earlier! (See this post where John Piper does all the math for you!)
FAVORITE HOW TO STUDY THE BIBLE RESOURCE
If you are wanting to learn how to better study the Bible more effectively, I highly recommend Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin, an astounding resource that is short and simple! I’m re-reading it again right now!