We are in the middle of our Equip Sessions right now on “Reading the Bible.” I think they have been very helpful.
The biggest issue I hear from people when it comes to the Bible is not necessarily reading it, but making the time to read it. We are so busy and often don’t slow down long enough to find a rhythm of abiding in Christ.
I came across the following article recently that has some really good ideas about how to make a regular practice out of our time with God (I really like number 6).
Most of us are hungry to get to know God better. But with all the distractions of modern life we often find ourselves living on spiritual snack food instead of a healthy diet of God’s Word. How can we discover the secret of a meaningful daily walk with God? Here are seven suggestions that may help you have a better quiet time in a noisy world.
- Start with the Basics – Find a Bible translation you like. Maybe get a notebook and pen. Choose a place and time when you can concentrate. For many this is first thing in the morning. But you don’t need hours. Just 15-30 minutes is fine. The point is, decide to begin… today.
- It’s a Meeting, Not a Habit – People refer to the habit of daily Bible reading and prayer. Of course, a quiet time does involve discipline. But don’t miss the point. Your quiet time is really a meeting with the living Christ. Don’t focus so much on the mechanics of the process that you miss the Person behind it. If you want to have a more meaningful quiet time, view Bible reading and prayer as daily dialog with God, a daily meeting.
- Don’t Feel Guilty – Have you ever heard someone confess, “I’m having trouble keeping a regular quiet time. I know I ought to do better, but …”? Remember, God really loves you. And he wants to meet with you. Don’t focus on guilt for not “paying your dues” to God. Rather, in whatever time you have, focus on expressing your love and devotion to him. Soon you’ll find yourself feeling less guilty and more excited about meeting with God.
- Find a Plan That Fits You – Many people say, “I love to cook but I hate to decide what’s for dinner.” The same principle is true when it comes to a daily quiet time. That’s why it’s helpful to use a daily Bible reading plan or devotional guide. So, find a plan and stick to it. Then you won’t have to spend your quiet time in “menu planning” and you can experience “the joy of cooking.”
- Be Creative, Add Variety – Even good things can become routine. To keep your daily walk with God fresh, vary your approach occasionally. Read the passage in a new Bible translation. Keep a journal of your reflections. Try a “through the Bible in one year” schedule. Sample different Bible reading plans or study one Bible book in depth using a commentary. Experiment on your own, but remember, it’s not about the method, it’s about the Person.
- Give Distractions to God – It’s a noisy world out there and you can’t always control it. When distractions come, incorporate them into your quiet time. If young children interrupt, invite them onto your lap and read the Bible together. If the phone rings, pray for the person after responding. If your mind wanders, give those thoughts to the Lord in prayer. Don’t get angry or frustrated. Just come back into the presence of your Heavenly Father. He’s waiting for you.
- Learn to Listen – Prayer is not just talking to God, it’s also listening. Take time to still yourself in God’s presence. Give your worries and concerns to him. Wait in silence listening to the still small voice of his Spirit. Think back on the experiences of the last day. How did you see God’s hand at work? Reflect on what you’ve read in God’s Word. What is God saying to you? Invite the Holy Spirit to be present. When you really love someone, you take time to listen.
How can you have a quiet time in a noisy world? Take the first step. Beginning today, set aside a few minutes each day to be alone with God. Ask him to give you a hunger for his Word and a freshness in your prayer life. Put into practice some of the ideas from these Bible reading tips and find a Bible reading plan you like. Soon you’ll discover that those few quiet time minutes may become the most meaningful part of your day.
– Scriptureunion.org “How to Read the Bible and Pray”
There is still one Equip session left on Thursday, May 8. For more information on that session and to see videos of previous sessions, go to Equip.