In this blog post you will hear from the heart of a beautiful and godly woman I am so blessed to call my mom. The things she shares below come from a genuine heart and as you read this, you should know that she is not just saying these things, but she truly lives them out on a day to day basis. I can attest to the fact that she is a mother that showed me from early childhood the importance of personal devotion time spent with the Lord. Growing up, I can remember early mornings when it was still dark, seeing her little lamp lit in kitchen, pouring over the Word before anyone else in the house had stirred so she would be ready for her family when we woke, having already allowed the Lord to feed her spiritually. I concur with my mom that time you spend with the Lord is the most important time you will spend each day. Please take the short amount of time to hear the heart of Terese Benton, my mom, missionary to Tanzania, East Africa under GMI. –Erin Kemper
May I encourage you to establish a habit of this special quiet time? You may not always feel like it, but try to be obedient to a consistent time with God. My prayer is that in time, each person reading this will soon come to a place where they really can’t do without it. That their hearts want to jump out of bed in devotion to the intimate relationship that has developed between them and their Lord God Almighty and that they feel something is amiss in their day because they have not spent time with Him. How are we to know what He wants us to do in all the big and little decisions in our lives if we do not ask Him? I believe this is the most important time of my day – by far. Many people talk about how their children interrupt them in their quiet time and I can understand a greeting of good morning, but I’d like to encourage you to train your children to respect how important this time is with the Lord. It’s good for them to see how you are placing a priority on this and you can encourage them to also have a vibrant relationship with their Lord, even at a young age.
Quiet Time Ideas
1) Schedule your time in the morning preferably. Another time of the day can work if the morning is impossible for you but I humbly suggest that the morning is best in order to give your day to the Lord and start with His new mercies. I also suggest an hour if possible. By the time I do all the things I enjoy in fellowship with my Lord, I need a good hour or even more. I know in America it is hard to find this amount of time, so maybe you can start with 20 minutes or a half hour and hopefully work up to more. I can easily have an hour in Tanzania where the pace of life is less intense and it’s been such a great blessing in my life. Some people like to have their intimate time with the Lord in the morning without doing a study and then work on a study where they answer questions later in the day.
2) Find a place of solitude. A place that you can speak or sing out loud without anyone hearing is preferable. I like my spot to be where I can sit at a table and write, but in a comfortable chair. I also like a rug or carpet available so I can kneel and pray, bowing in submission to the Lord of Lords. I also like to enjoy a hot drink during my quiet time – everyone has their favorite. J My sister likes to sit on her comfortable couch and that is great too because she has no problem writing in her journal or study in that position.
3) Begin by praying for the Lord to be present and for Him to speak to your heart and show you His will, opening up your mind and soul to His will and not your own.
The following are ideas that can be done in any order that you wish. You can tailor-make your quiet time and change the order at any time. You can add or take away to adjust to the different needs or desires in certain times of your life. I like to think of how He made us all different and how He speaks to us in a personal relationship where He knows everything we are going through. I like to have all the materials I will use for my quiet time in one place, maybe even sitting in a basket by my special quiet time area. I’ve done so much traveling and lived in so many different places that I am used to having what I need handy.
A) Read your Bible. You may have a year-long plan or a certain book to read or you may be reading portions listed from your bible study. You may be reading from Psalms and Proverbs… the Word is so important to read. If you don’t know where to start as far as a reading plan, my son-in-law put together several plans on the Grace Gospel Fellowship website. He has posted chronological ones, mixed OT and NT ones, reading through the Bible in a year… etc. Mike is able to read longer portions of Scripture at a time than me but that’s okay.
B) Do Bible study work. There are so many great materials available to us. Oftentimes I work on a study that is part of a weekly women’s bible study. This can also be part of your Bible reading if you are reading Scripture for your study.
C) Write in a journal. This can be done any way you like. It can be talking to the Lord in praise and petition and thanks. It can be writing in third person about life events. It can be special quotes or Scripture portions that are meaningful. It can be a list of prayer requests (I like to put these lists in the back of my journal and refer to them daily and update them continually. I have a page for each person in my family and also a page for the each of the women I am mentoring or for significant people in my life. I also have a personal list of prayers for how God has convicted me in areas I need to work on. My daughter likes to have several different journals going at one time. When she was a teenager, she even had a journal of qualities she would want in a husband and write to him events that she would want to share with him later. She also had a journal of fun quotes or special parts of songs that spoke to her. Another daughter found it helpful if she summarized in her own words what she just wrote in her journal and tends to think about it more through the day if she does that. I would encourage you to start small and add as you feel led.
D) Pray… out loud preferably. I say out loud because it keeps my mind from wandering if I am talking to God. I know this says something about my attention span but, “it is what it is.” Kneeling or lying flat out are great positions… where you know no one will be watching you. (In the secret and quiet place…) But there’s also nothing wrong with being comfortable.
E) Memorize Scripture. I copped out for so long in thinking I couldn’t memorize Scripture until I did Beth Moore’s study on James. She memorized the entire book and she is older than me! I started writing out portions I wanted to memorize and it was lots of fun when I was out on my walks. I got home to quote it to my family and had to “walk” to rememberJ.
F) Sing songs of praise. I love to sing. Praising my Lord in song is such a special privilege. Our praise doesn’t need to be in song either. It can be praising Him with words that tell Him how much we adore Him. When we acknowledge His love, work and guidance in our lives, we can humbly admit our inability to do it on our own.
G) Giving thanks. There is SO much to be thankful for. My daughter started a Thankful List to her journaling time. Every day she lists 10 things to be thankful for (they have to be something she never wrote down before). It can be anything from being thankful for 10 toes to an answer to prayer, to anything! It helps her think through the past day and what all she has to be thankful for. After she has done it for a year, she wants to make a huge compiled list of it all.
H) Giving God the events of the day. I like to keep my calendar book handy and look at what’s ahead for the day, giving each meeting, event and activity to the Lord and asking Him to go before each one, enabling me to have wisdom and grace as I go through my day.
I) Sitting in silence to hear from the Lord. Oh how important it is to sit before the Lord and have no agenda, just a desire to hear from Him.
J) Meditate on a portion of Scripture. Maybe you are going through something in particular that you want specific help from the Lord. You can meditate on a portion of Scripture. Or maybe you feel God has given you a special verse(s) and you want to spend time meditating on how to apply it to your life.
All of Psalm 119 is great but here are a few nuggets verses 171 & 172: “My lips will pour forth praise, for You teach me Your statutes. My tongue will sing of Your work, for all Your commandments are right. Verses 147 & 148: “I rise before dawn and cry for help; I hope in Your words. My eyes are awake before the watch of the night, that I may meditate on Your promise.” Verses 36 &37: “Incline my heart to Your testimonies, and not to selfish gain! Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in Your ways.”