1. A Bible
2. A Pen/Pencil
3. A Notebook
4. A Time
5. A Place
6. A Plan
7. A Prescribed amount of time
Most Christians who attend a Bible preaching church have heard the pastor say that it is vital for an individual to have a quiet time. This mandate can be intimidating. A member might think, “I don’t know where to begin” This DIY guide hopes to demystify the process. The goal is to give you a basic starting point. Much as with woodworking, an experienced carpenter can take the simplest of plans and expand them using their skill. So too, with this quiet time guide. It outlines a process that can be modified to one’s experience and liking.
The ultimate goal of a quiet time is to grow in Christlikeness via intake of the Word of God. Thus there are certain things needed for this process. First of all, you will need a Bible. I recommend selecting a translation that is easy to read. I use the Christian Standard Bible. I find it to be the perfect blend of readability and accuracy. Use a notebook to write down the insights gleaned from the text. Once you have those items, select a place and a time. Consistency is the key. Some suggest that you must have a quiet time in the morning. Indeed, this is a helpful way to start the morning, but I also understand that mornings are not easy for everyone. My advice is to pay attention to your natural rhythms. If you are more focused and can concentrate better on what God is saying to you in the afternoons or late at night, by all means, use that time for your quiet time. The key is consistency. Make it an appointment, and do not allow anything to keep you from it. Trust me–the devil will try to interrupt it. Block off a certain amount of time. Start simple. For some, 15 minutes might be all you can spare. Others might want to carve out half an hour or a full hour. Make it manageable.
Components of a Quiet Time
The method of having a quiet time that I am advocating here consists of three components: Prayer, Scripture Reading, and Scripture Memory. Now I know that some of you slammed on the brakes whenever I said scripture memory. I know many of you wrongly believe that you cannot memorize scripture. We will have an article later in this series on that. File your objections away until then. For the purpose of this article, we will only be dealing with the actual scripture reading portion of the Quiet Time. By the way, this method is not original to me. I heard a prominent pastor talking about this as his go-to method of his devotional life when I was rethinking how to best reboot my devotional life, and this method has worked wonders for me.
Once you have selected a place and time and gathered your materials, you are ready to begin. The starting line for any quiet time is prayer. I typically start my quiet time with a prayer that quotes a scripture verse like Psalm 119:18. In the CSB, this verse reads, “Open my eyes so that I may contemplate wondrous things from your instruction.” This prayer acknowledges that you know God’s Word holds something of value for you today and asks God to help you see it.
Here is where a good plan comes in. You may have a Bible reading plan that your church has encouraged you to participate in. This past year our church read the New Testament together. This year I have encouraged them to select the plan that works best for them. My reading of scripture this year will be guided by the McCheyne Bible Reading Plan. You may also choose to study a particular book or section of scripture, such as the 23rd Psalm or the book of Philippians. No matter which plan you prefer, I recommend having one because it adds two benefits to having a daily quiet time. First, it provides accountability. Whether a paper copy or a YouVersion checklist, the list helps you stay on track. Second, it takes away the potential time wasted of asking yourself the question, “I wonder what I should read today?”
The next step is to start reading. Read until you come to a place where a verse or section stands out. At that point, write that verse or verses down in the notebook. I would encourage you to write them verbatim. Next, ask yourself what the passage means. You are after the Biblical truth. Prayer and study notes can help you discern this. Pay attention to the context. Once you have figured out the meaning of the passage, you must ask how I need to respond to this truth. Write your response next to the heading application. Finally, write out a prayer asking God to help you apply that truth to your life.
That’s all there is to the scripture reading portion of your Quiet Time.