This post is very impromptu, written really quickly and spur of the moment…les go.
Almost every morning when I wake up, I go through the same routine. Over the past few weeks, that routine has changed because of one little person.
Lucie is my 4-year-old little princess. She’s our middle child, and from what I’ve heard about middle children, they are all about the same…tornadoes. Her room is an absolute wreck, filled with little toys all over the place, yet she knows exactly where each and every one of them are. She loves to laugh, dance, play, and my favorite, snuggle with her daddy while she watches her night-night show before bed (Curious George).
On a typical day when my alarm goes off, I’ll wake up, go brush my teeth, wash my face, get dressed, grab a cup of coffee and have my quiet time, but lately my routine has been interrupted by my little 3 foot tall daughter. Now, when I open my eyes, she is already awake and standing by my bed (or laying in the bed where she got in at some point), looking at me and smiling. Talk about a great way to wake up! Seeing that beautiful little smile is awesome, but the only problem is…she wants to follow me around all morning watching me do my morning routine.
She follows me EVERYWHERE! And that’s where this today’s blog comes from.
Same tune this morning-wake up, see Lucie, morning routine (with her by my side). I came up to my office to grab one of my devotionals (Tozer on the Almighty God, AW Tozer-check it out, it’s awesome) and read it in my office, and what do you know? Lucie busts in the door asking me question after question, wanting to sing and dance and play. She keeps talking while I’m reading (oblivious to my subtle hints) because all she wants is attention from her daddy first thing in the morning. She wants to spend time with me because she loves me and cares about me. Then it hit me. This is the exact same way I need to wake up and spend time with my heavenly Daddy.
Too many times this is lost in our everyday routine. Waking up (usually late because we’ve hit the snooze button a few or 20 times), getting ourselves ready, getting the kids ready, making breakfast and lunch, tossing everything in the car and heading out, only to forget to feed the dog, turn off the coffee pot, and wondering all day if we closed the garage door! Our morning activities are so hectic and crazy that we wish they just would slow down. We really do want to change things, we just never really do it.
You may be asking yourself, “Could I really squeeze in a few extra minutes talking to Jesus, and at the same time, is it really important doing it anyway?”
A lot of people have asked me throughout the years, “What exactly is a quiet time?” A basic quiet time consists of 3 things: Prayer, Bible Study, and Listening. The second question asked is usually about the timing of when to do it. My earlier story of Lucie makes the connection to the point of this post.
Check out this verse:
“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” [mark 1:35]
Can we just break this verse down a little bit? Even if you said “no,” Imma do it anyways. (K? Thanks!)
Very early in the morning–Jesus had a busy day/night prior to when this verse was taken down. You think your day-to-day grind is hectic, Jesus had just gotten to Capernaum from Galilee, over a 3 mile walk. When he got there, he spent the day driving out evil spirits, healing Peter’s mother-in-law, then spent the evening healing the sick and driving out more evil spirits. V. 33 says that, “The whole town gathered at the door.” I can imagine Jesus was pretty dang tired! That sounds like a busy day to me!
Yet, very early in the morning, while it was still dark, shows us that the sun had not yet risen (deeply theological, right?). What does this tell us? That it was the very first thing that happened. Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Jesus made it a priority to wake up early in the morning to talk to his dad–He wasn’t going to miss a chance to spend some quality, one-on-one time with Him.
This kind of dedication to his heavenly Father is HUGE, and speaks volumes to how you and I should go about our morning routine. I would be hard pressed to think this wasn’t Jesus’ every day action. He knew that if He didn’t spend time with the father first thing in the morning, that there might be a chance he would get so busy later on in the day that he wouldn’t get the opportunity to.
Sound familiar (minus the healing and stuff)?
You rush through the morning, tell yourself that you’ll read your bible when you get to work/school, then time flies by, you head home and take care of things there, and before you know it it’s 11:27pm and the last thing you want to is to read (I mean, Jimmy Fallon comes on in 7 minutes!). And even if you do, you may just fall asleep reading and forget everything you read! But, what if, just maybe, you set your alarm 20 minutes earlier and made a point to start your day with Jesus?
“How in the world could I ever wake up 20 minutes earlier?! That’s crazy talk.” But is it really? Think about this: Your boss said he had some inside information on the company competitor and that he prefers you to be at work early for an optional 20-minute meeting to discuss some potential problems that may arise that day. And if you chose to come in early you could, 1) be better equipped to face the challenges the day brings, and/or 2) be so fully prepared to face any possible confrontations with complete confidence of how to proceed. Would you go? You’d be crazy not to! Inside information from the boss himself? Of course you’d be there.
It’s exactly the same with our quiet time. God wants to meet with you so he can prepare you for the things that could potentially happen. God’s thoughts on everything are written down in the Bible, and all we have to do is pick it up and check it out. (All of a sudden, 20 minutes doesn’t really seem that bad after all, does it?)
“But Ryan. Seriously. My mornings are crazy. Is it bad for me to have my quiet time any other time than in the morning?” Absolutely not! You’re talking to Jesus, and that’s awesome whatever time of day it is! I’m just trying to point out that maybe if it was a good enough routine for Jesus, maybe we could give it a shot as well. I mean, what better way to start your day than spending time alone with the one who made it?
Think about this: How do we really know people? Answer: Spend time with them. Want to know Jesus more? Spend time with Him!
I’m so thankful Lucie gets up every morning and wants to spend time with me! May we have the same attitude, even this week, with our Heavenly Daddy who so desperately wants to spend time with us!
How long does my quiet time need to be? That’s totally up to you. You don’t set a time limit for a phone call with a friend, so I don’t think there is one for Jesus. I would suggest there be enough time to at least pray, read, and listen.
What/how do I need to pray? I had a friend a while back teach me an easy roadmap for prayer, and he called it the “ACTS” prayer. A-Adoration, thanking God for who He is; C-Confession, confessing our sins/shortcomings and asking forgiveness; T-Thanksgiving, thanking God for the blessings/people/friends in our lives; S-Supplication, praying on the behalf of others, and asking God to help you in throughout the day. Prayer shouldn’t be a bunch of huge words said in fancy Shakespearean english. It should be like you’re talking to a friend who means a lot to you–just be you!
What should I read? That’s up to you! There are a ton of different ways to read scripture. I would suggest that you NOT start in Genesis right out of the gate, because you’re probably going to get stuck around Leviticus and be so confused and just stop reading all together…and don’t start in Revelation–that’s tough for even the brightest Bible scholar. One thought would be to start in the book of John. (I like John because he was Jesus’ best friend and writes from a best friend’s point of view.) After that, try Acts, then James, then Philippians and Paul’s little letters. Some people read a chapter of Proverbs a day. Others use a devotional book (My Utmost for His Highest, Streams in the Dessert, Jesus Calling, Tozer on the Almighty God are just a few examples) and read the section of scripture that the author pulls the main verse from. Maybe you read a chapter a day, underline the verses that jump out to you and take notes on what you read.
Do I have to read my Bible to have a quiet time? Not necessarily. I’ve had my quiet time in my truck. I’ll pray, then crank up some worship tunes and just have a little “church.” Sometimes I’ll spend my whole set aside time praying. But I wouldn’t make this an everyday habit. The Bible isn’t just a book of do’s and dont’s–it’s God’s thoughts. He has something to say to you though it, so why not try to read it?
What should I listen for? (This one might be the hardest to explain, and maybe the most controversial.) It seems like when we’re having our quiet time, or even at church for that matter, we spend a ton of time talking to God, but we never really listen to what He has to say to us. I’m not saying that there’s going to be an audible voice talking to you (I’ve certainly never heard God’s audible voice), but I ask myself a question after I’m reading, “How does what I read apply to me?” As a believer, when I ask that question, I think the Holy Spirit speaks to me and shows me things about myself. The Spirit councils us on how to live and go throughout our day. Listen to what the Spirit says, and then act accordingly!
Have other questions? Hit me up! Go to the contact page and shoot me a message and I’ll do my best to respond as soon as I can!
Ryan I love this post. I need to better with making my quiet time a priority. I’m going to take your advice and implement it. Thanks for sharing.