An awkward but encouraging question…

My friend Katie did a post on her blog this week that I really appreciated.  She was saying that it seems that Christians don’t often share how they do their “quiet times”…  you know you are “supposed” to have devotional time, but you’re just kind of on your own, and nobody really talks about it or gives any advice.  For something that’s so important and so vital to a healthy and strong relationship with the Lord, it seems like personal worship/devotionals/quiet time is a topic that doesn’t get addressed that often.  Not to mention, it’s a little awkward to ask someone, “so what do you do for personal worship time?”  (although that’s essentially what I’m going to do, so get ready!)

Sure, there are some books written on the subject that are great resources, but sometimes it would be helpful to just hear from others around you how they handle their personal worship time…  or at least what they STRIVE to do –  we all know that our “ideal” is usually VERY far from reality.   So Katie shared her routine in hopes that others would do the same, and we could all encourage each other and help each other develop methods for personal worship that are encouraging, effective, manageable, spiritually strengthening, and -primarily- glorifying to God.  I completely agree that getting tips, ideas, and encouragement from other Christians/Christian couples is a great way to strengthen your own faith and practices.  I wish I knew alot more people who were open to sharing their routines/methods, because I think I would gain alot from it!

Of course, no two people are going to have the same method- what works for one person might not work too well for someone else.  One person’s way of focusing may totally throw another person off.  But hearing lots of different ideas make it easier to figure out what works best for you.

I thought this was a pretty good idea, so I thought I’d jump in and share what I try to do….although it doesn’t always happen.  I have ups and downs like everyone- times where I feel really close to the Lord and times when I feel like I can barely keep it together.  Sometimes I can’t get enough of the Word, and sometimes my Bible sits on my bedside table getting dusty.

I’m a reader, so I really prefer reading instead of doing workbooks or things like that.  Usually, I prefer to focus on one book of the Bible at a time, and go through it at my own pace.  Sometimes it might be a few verses, sometimes it might be a few chapters, sometimes it might be the entire book at one time.    I highlight things that stand out to me, and jot down verses that I want to remember or memorize.  If I want more information on something or want to read deeper on a subject, I raid Nate’s commentary shelves.  Often I corner him, read him passages, and have him give me an impromptu analysis, because he’s much better at that than I am!  I try to pray briefly before I start, asking the Lord to give me concentration and an open, understanding heart. My reading time might fall any time throughout the day, but I usually do my long prayer times before I go to sleep at night, because I usually have about an hour after Nate falls asleep before I go to sleep.  I often write prayers out if I’m having trouble concentrating, or if I’m praying about something really specific that I want to make sure I remember in the future…plus it helps me to have a record of God’s faithfulness in answered prayer!

I have tried several highly structured programs – through the Bible in a year, workbooks, detailed reading plans, etc – but I always end up falling off the bandwagon.  I have found that this method that Noelle Piper writes about works best for me.  I read much more, more often, and with much more focus when I do it this way. Check it out and see if it would be helpful for you as well.

Ideally, I’d love to have a set time of day when I always sit and spend time in the Word (preferably first thing in the morning)… but unfortunately that doesn’t ever happen.  I would also like to incorporate more journaling, and a better system for scripture memorization. Both of those are falling short!

Nate and I try to spend some time together in the Word in addition to our personal times, although it doesn’t happen every single day.   Usually we spend some time reading together before we go to sleep (one of us reads out loud), and stop occasionally to talk about a specific verse or passage…usually prompted by me asking him questions!   We do an entire book before we move on to another, although we don’t go in order.  We jump around all over the Bible, one book at a time.  Then we spend time in prayer together.   As our boys grow up, we want to incorporate “family worship time” into our daily schedule as well, although we aren’t 100% sure what that will look like yet.

What about you?  Do you have a specific method that you stick to?  If you are married, do you and your spouse do anything specific?  Do you have any resources to share that might help me or someone else?  What does your method “ideally” look like? I’d love to know! And of course, I’m sorry if that’s awkward to ask (:

If you’re open to it, I’d love to hear from Kelly, Megan, Janie, Amber, Nikki S., Ashley, Morgan, Jen, Courtney, Lindsey, and anyone else who would like to share.  If you don’t have a blog but would like to share, please write in the comments section!

(If you do a post on this, feel free to head back over to Katie’s blog and leave a link in the Mr. Linky that she has set up!)

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5 thoughts on “An awkward but encouraging question…

  1. This is a great idea! I don’t have a set time every day that I get into the word, and I really need to make a specific time because with sweet little Henry my days go by so fast. I would definitely suggest trying to find a specific time before the boys come! Most of my quiet time right now is actually while I’m feeding Henry in our rocking chair. I have also started praying with Henry before every nap (instead of just nighttime) because he was/is having such a difficult time sleeping. I will have to admit that there have been many times lately that I’m wiping the dust off my Bible before church. Shaun and I have discussed starting to go to bed earlier and reading scripture together. The times that we have done this in the past…we have used a couples devotional. I guess I lean towards using a devotional book along with reading the Bible because I think I’m able to focus more.

  2. Nikki, thank you so much for jumping in and sharing what works for you, and you and Nate as a couple! I look forward to checking out the reading method you suggested.

  3. Hi Sweetie, I have been having my quiet time 1st thing in the morning ever since your Mama was alittle girl. I used to get up about 30 minutes before everyone else so it would be quiet. I use a devotion al bookand I have a prayer list. Most of my Bible study comes when I am teaching, whick I do pretty often because I know I would not study if I did not teach. I know I get more out of the lessons that I can give to the ones who listen..When I say 1st thn in the morning I mean 1st thing. Bwfore breakfast and before TV. The only thing I might do first is feed the cats because they are not always patient. I also pray anytime during the day that God brings something to my mind. Love you.

  4. Let me just say, that after I read this post, I spent some time reading my Bible. I don’t want to say how long it’s been since I’ve done it. I can easily make excuses. Graham started getting up earlier. I’m just so tired all the time. I don’t have time. But honestly, these are lame excuses. I do have time, and I choose to fill my time with other wordly things. My plan of action: read and pray while Graham is taking a nap. I might even still have some time to take a nap too. I recently did a Bible Study that was similar to Precept. It was just not as intense. Contrary to what I thought, I really enjoyed this type of study, and I hope to carry it over into my personal time in the Word. You take a chapter of the Bible and really dig into it. You circle, you underline, you just make a note of important and repetitive words in the chapter and really study what they mean. There are times when I think it is beneficial to just merely read and there are times when it is so encouraging when you dig through the Scriptures, cross-reference, and see what God has been telling his people over and over again. I know you probably didn’t have this intention, but thanks for convicting me Nikki!

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