-By Pastor Steve Sanchez of Community Church of the Hills (CCH) Johnson City, Texas (with a lot of help from others).
(Lowering the bar for newbies)
Mark 1:35: "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."
What is a “Quiet Time”? They are also known as “Daily Devotions”, “Personal Devotions,” or “The Morning Watch.” These terms describe a regular time with God through Bible study, meditation and prayer.
• When do you have yours?
• How important is spending time with God to you?
If you are too busy to spend some time with God, then you are too busy!
Want to know a busy woman? Susanna Wesley (pictured), the mother of John and Charles Wesley. She could have said she was too busy because she had 19 children!
What did she do? It is said that in the middle of the day, she’d sit down in her chair and pull an apron over her head to read the Bible and pray. The kids knew not to disturb mama when she had her quiet time.
One mother overheard her 3-year-old daughter answer the phone in the next room while doing her devotions: “My mom is having her emotions now. Can she call you back?”
Someone called the morning quiet time, “turning the dial until we tune in to God’s wavelength—then we get the message.”
Henry Blackaby, founder of Blackaby Ministries International and an influential evangelical pastor said, “Try not to think of the time you spend with God as a duty. The purpose of a quiet time is for you to get to know God. And as you come to know Him, you can walk out of your special times with God enjoying a living relationship with Him that you can cultivate all day long — throughout all your life.”
Psalm 46:10—Be still and know that I am God.
Spurgeon: “If we are weak in communion with God we are weak everywhere.”
D.L.Moody said, “We ought to see the face of God every morning before we see the face of man.”
Hudson Taylor, the great missionary to China said that your devotions ought to be in the morning because “You don’t tune up the instruments after the concert is over. That’s stupid. It’s logical to tune them up before you start!”
Not only did Jesus have his quiet time in the morning but so did the following:
• Abraham (Genesis 19:27);
• Job (Job 1:5);
• Jacob (Genesis 28:18);
• Moses (Exodus 34:4);
• Hannah and Elkanah (1Sam 1:19 );
• David—Psalm 5:3—In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.
The founder of the Navigators Ministry, Dawson Trotman, actually had two quiet times: morning and evening. Whenever he had a crowd of people over at his house or he was with his wife, and he sensed the conversation was ending he would use this code: H.W.L.W.
He would say, “All right, H. W. L. W.” Then a passage of Scripture would be quoted without comment and all would go to sleep. H.W.L.W. stood for “His Word the Last Word.”
Spurgeon: “In the morning” is the fittest time for…God. An hour in the morning is worth two in the evening. Prayer should be the key of the day and the lock of the night. Devotion should be both the morning star and the evening star.”
If you have a problem getting up in the morning, you can do what one of the Cambridge 7 (pictured) did to make sure he didn’t miss “The Morning Watch.”
The Cambridge 7 were a group of prominent athletes who were wealthy and educated. They gave up everything to be missionaries in China. Their plan was to spend the first minutes of a new day alone with God, praying and reading the Bible.
One man had trouble getting up in the morning so he invented an automatic, foolproof cure for laziness. It was a contraption set up by his bed: “The vibration of an alarm clock set fishing tackle in motion, and the sheets, clipped to the line, moved swiftly into the air off the sleeper’s body.”
Robert D. Foster recommends “7 Minutes with God”: You could call it a daily “7-Up.” 5 minutes may be too short, and 10 minutes for some is a little too long at first.
Are you willing to take 7 minutes every morning? Not 5 mornings out of 7, not 6 days out of 7, but 7 days out of 7! Pray this the night before: “Lord, I want to meet You the first thing in the morning for at least seven minutes. Tomorrow when the alarm clock goes off at 6:15 a.m., I have an appointment with You.”
This is how you spend those 7 minutes: After getting out of bed and taking care of your personal needs, find a quiet place and with your Bible enjoy God for 7 minutes.
The first 30 seconds: Prepare your heart. Thank Him for the good night of sleep and the opportunities of the day.
The next 4 minutes: Read your Bible. Your greatest need is to hear some word from God. Start with Mark. Read for the pure joy of reading and allowing God to speak—perhaps just 20 verses…
The next 2 ½ minutes: He spoke to you; you now speak to him.
Another method is….
The A.C.T.S. METHOD OF PRAYER
• A: ADORATION: Tell the Lord that you love Him. Reflect on His greatness, His power, His majesty, and sovereignty. (Psalm 145 is wonderful for doing this.)
• C: CONFESSION: Having seen Him you now want to be sure every sin is cleansed and forsaken. (Psalms 32 and 51 are great helps.)
• T: THANKSGIVING: Thank Him for everything!!!
• S: SUPPLICATION: Everything else.”
Do not become devoted to the habit, but to the Savior.
Jesus had his quiet time because he knew his day needed it. And I can guarantee that when you start, you will get interrupted. Jesus was not immune to this fact.
Mark 1:36-37—36: "Simon and his companions went to look for him, 37 and when they found him, they exclaimed: 'Everyone is looking for you!'”
BOOM! The day started. That was it.
Isn't that how yours always starts, too?