Gospel singer Yolanda Adams’ song “Open Up My Heart” conveys the honest desires we have about God and our deep need for Him: “So I need to talk to you, and ask you for your guidance, especially today, when my world seems cloudy, guide me until I’m sure, I open up my heart.”
Spending time with God benefits and blesses us daily. This practice builds beautifully into the rhythm of contemplative living. When we can break free, invite calm into our lives and allow our minds and hearts to actively rest in God, this helps us intentionally focus and connect with Him from our souls.
Holistically, our bodies and minds need time with God to focus on being rather than doing to nourish and restore as we meditate on God’s works. Tapping into God’s Holy Spirit so that you can purposefully observe your life while connecting your true best self to God is the LIFE! The Remarkable Life, according to John 10:10, is what you were made for.
Being intentional to enjoy and experience an intimate relationship with God is an essential practice in the Christian life. But honestly, it can be hard to do it. Many things pop up as distractions, urgencies, and energy-drainers, making it very difficult to keep God as the most important relationship in our lives, no matter the season of life we’re in.
To help you pursue these special moments with the Lord more effectively, consider these three steps:
1. Put God Into Your Schedule.
Unless we make time for what’s important to us by prioritizing it in our schedules, it won’t ever happen. Have you ever just suddenly got that smoother tummy or more defined arms from thinking about how you need to exercise? Or did you put in the work by changing your eating habits and making it a priority to exercise regularly to get to your goal?
Putting God into your schedule makes Him important as you consider how to use the hours and minutes of your weeks. You can put a digital reminder on your phone or tablet with a gentle musical alarm reminder to turn your attention to having a quiet time with God. You may enjoy writing reminders down, so putting up a sticky note with the words “Daily have a quiet time with God @ 7 am” or whatever time is best for you is good. Just make sure you put the Lord into your daily schedule.
2. Silence The Distractions.
When I’m talking to a good friend in person that I love to be with, I enjoy having their full attention. God also desires our full attention when we spend quality, quiet times with Him. Resolve to put your phone and electronic devices on silent and keep them at a distance while you connect with the Lord. If you plan for your devotional times early, let greeting God with a good morning prayer be the first thing you do. Don’t reach for your phones or laptops to check emails or social media or texts. Instead, make God the first thing and the main thing at the start. (Psalm 119:18)
3. Just Do It.
Prepare the environment for your special date with God. Set the mood and tone. I personally love sipping on a cup of tea while diffusing an essential oil such as Frankincense during my quiet time. Here are some suggestions to get you started:
● Have a daily Bible reading plan that you can activate with grace and ease.
● Begin your time with a prayer asking God to search your heart and prepare it for His Word. (Psalm 139:23,24)
● Confess any sin that He reveals to you. (Psalm 66:18, 1 John 1:9) Remember sin keeps us from fellowshipping with a Holy God. It is anything that falls short of the standards and values He has called us to live by. Forgiveness empowers us to freely worship and connect with Him.
● Choose a passage to read, slowly and thoughtfully. Allow God to speak to your heart and enlighten you with principles to live by.
● Question, observe the text, understand it and personalize the life-giving principles that apply to your life.
● Pray and ask God to empower you with His Spirit (Ephesians 5:18-20) to live by these truths in a remarkable way.
● Record your thoughts in your journal or an electronic tool such as Evernote.
Spending time with God and His Word adds joy and freshness to your relationship with Him. It also helps you grow in your knowledge of God, His ways and plan for your life. Yet, a word of caution, this time is not meant to be transactional. We think if we spend time with God, He owes us something. Having a quiet time with God is a privilege and honor that He has lavished on us.
Relationship, Not A Chore.
If you view these special times with God as building into your relationship with Him and not as a chore, you’ll approach these times with joy and not drudgery. Think about your favorite people in your life and why you enjoy creating memories with them. Do you do fun things together? Do you talk and share authentically and transparently? Is there depth in those connections?
God wants us to experience those sacred moments too in our relationships with Him. If you’re finding there’s not as much intimacy with Him or you’re a bit intimated to shape a quiet time alone with Him, look at this instead as getting to know God more and letting Him know you. Spend time reading the Bible daily, so that you can continue learning about God’s heart and how He wants you to grow spiritually. Commit to a devotional, like my Rest & Build, which can guide you in regular quiet times. Focus on maturing in your prayer life and how you pray regularly for others.
There’s isn’t a perfect way to have a quiet time with God. But you do have to decide to start and make it a part of your daily life. There will be times where you miss having one, and the days start to fly by so fast you forget the last time you met personally with God! Don’t worry and don’t stress. Reset and spend time with God right at that moment that you remember it’s been a while since the last time you connected. God is willing and always ready to spend time with you.