Encouragement from a quiet time dropout

I wrote last month about building our lives on the rock of God's word and my current method of Bible study. Today, I wanted to share a few things that are encouraging my "quiet times." 

As always, I don't aim to be prescriptive in advocating a certain method of study or prayer. In fact, the term "quiet time" for me has so often been associated with my sense of failure and inadequacy, that I'm very hesitant to even use it. Quiet time. Time with God. Devotions. Whatever you call it, I've pretty much struggled to be consistent with them all. You could call me a "quiet time dropout."

And likely I will continue to battle my flesh and my propensity to forget my God and His goodness. I will continue to repent of my distractibility and my lack of fervency in prayer.

Here are a few things that have helped me recently and might encourage you:

1. Reading through a book of the Bible and meditating on a short passage each week, asking God what He would say to me (as described here previously). I underline and take some simple notes, sometimes I just sit there and think about the passage.

2. Reading a Psalm each day. The Psalms teach me to look up and cry out in whatever circumstances I find myself.

3. Letting God lead my praying. For so long, I felt like that if I couldn't pray for everything and everyone in my life (Missionaries! Relatives that don't know Jesus! Future spouses for my kids! Church family! Pastors! Our country's leaders! Ahh!), that I was failing, so more often than not, I would just give up and not pray at all. It felt too overwhelming. But (shocker!), I may be just overcomplicating what should be a conversation with Jesus. Why should I expect to always lead that conversation?

I still write down lists of things to pray for, but I'm attempting to let God lead me to what and who I should pray for each day. Richard Foster, in his book Celebration of Discipline, introduced me to this idea.

4. Praying the Word. I try to pray what I read when applicable. Last night in my reading in 1 Corinthians 5:8, I read about how believers celebrate Christ, the Passover lamb with the "unleavened bread of sincerity and truth." I prayed that my church family would be people of sincerity and truth as we celebrate Jesus.

5. Praying prayers of other believers. I have been using a collection of Puritan prayers called The Valley of Vision (on my resources page and mentioned here also) this year. They've helped lead me to deeper confession and faith in Christ's work. I feel like each one tears me down and then builds me back up in Christ.

6. Keeping a simple routine. I try not to fill my quiet time with too many resources. I'm also finding value in the consistency of meeting together, just as I do in the simple weekly meetings of our church family small groups. I don't do my quiet time every night; some nights I'm too tired or sometimes I'm just plain distracted.

6. Doing my quiet times at night. There, I said it (and all the night owls rejoiced). I have finally accepted that I am not a morning person, and my evenings are just much quieter and peaceful.

I want to note, as my friend Katie says, that this time is not the whole of my relationship with God. It deepens it and fills me in a way only Jesus can, but my whole day is an opportunity to "seek His presence continually" (Psalm 105:4). Nor are my "quiet times" the basis of my relationship with God--only faith in the finished work of Christ is that. Guilt-motivated quiet times just don't work friends. Grace-motivated quiet times with your loving Father--yes.

As our pastor has been saying this summer, "Grace is opposed to earning, not effort." Isn't that good news?

What encourages you to spend time in the Word and prayer, friend?

*I'm so happy for you to enjoy my coloring pages and printables for your personal (not commercial) use! Use for Bible studies, church groups or events, and Sunday school classes are all fine! If you're in doubt, I'm happy to answer any questions. All artwork and photos are copyright Marydean Draws. If you share this, you're awesome (!), and as a courtesy,  please link back to this post and not the PDF file. Thank you!!

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  1. I love The Valley of Vision! It helps me go deeper and think deeper. I second it a million times!

    1. Right?! I feel like I will use it for many years to come.


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