By Michelle S. Lazurek, Crosswalk.com
Quiet time is essential for any Christian's spiritual maturity. However, reading the Word and praying the same way each day can cause people to get into a spiritual rut or go through the motions of the faith. When Christians get into a spiritual rut, it is easy to forsake reading the Word and prayer altogether. If you have a quiet time that's less than stellar right now, here are five ways to spice up your time with the Lord:
1. Different Place
If you tend to do your quiet time in the same chair or the same room of your home every day, try going to a different place. Make a sanctuary in an empty room of your home if possible. Light candles, dim the lights, and create a relaxing quiet atmosphere. Purchase one of those indoor water fountains to feel like you're out in nature. Get a cozy chair and put extra pillows on it to be extra comfortable. Or, if the weather permits, go outside and sit on your deck with your favorite beverage. Start your time outside (or inside) by inhaling a few deep breaths and fresh air. As you inhale, praise the Lord for the breath in your lungs. Sometimes starting with praise will get you in the mood to listen more intently to the Lord.
Additionally, you may want to add food or your favorite drink to your quiet time. Make a cup of your favorite coffee or breakfast before you start. By feeding your body, you'll also feed your soul and, in so doing, will be able to listen and interact for extended periods. This way, you will not be distracted by hunger or thirst.
2. Different Time
If the time you use to conduct your quiet time is not working, try the opposite time of the day. If you're a morning person, try right before you go to bed. Consider getting up a few minutes before work if you are a night owl. Because you know you are tired during this time, it may motivate you to do as much as you can before you doze off. This will keep you focused on accomplishing quiet time on a regular basis.
3. Find a Partner
This may seem odd, but sometimes praying together with someone and sitting in silence will help keep you focused. The other person's focus and intention will inspire you to maintain your focus. It is also intellectually stimulating to talk about the Bible together rather than simply reading it and creating your own interpretation. Find a spiritually mature partner who can keep you on the right path. Choose a book of the Bible you have never read and read it together. Study commentaries before coming together and add your own insights of what you gleaned from the passage. It is amazing to hear different Christians' perspectives on the same passage.
Additionally, dare to make your quiet time anything but quiet. If you're used to sitting quietly mumbling your prayers to the Lord, try shouting and praising God wherever you are. Make a joyful noise to him, and he will honor the time you spend with him.
Read a different translation- Most Christians have a trusted translation they read most regularly. While there is nothing wrong with this, try reading a translation you've never read before. See how different translations interpret the same text. Sometimes other words will speak to your unique situation. This will be a different translation that will also help you stay motivated to read to see how they compare or contrast with your trusted version. At the end of each quiet time, take out your trusted version and compare the words in each. How are they similar? How are they different?
4. Use the Acts Method
While you may have heard the ACTS method of prayer: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication, there is another way to pray: the Acts 1:8 way. Acts 1:8 says, "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." First, pray for your Judea. Your Judea is the people closest to you. This could be your neighbors, community, friends, and family. Next, pray for your Samaria. This can be the people in neighboring towns and states that you know. Finally, pray for the ends of the earth. Pray for all those who do not know God that they would come to know God as their savior. Pray for both people you know and people you don't know. Ask God to do a miracle and allow those who do not know him or who are the furthest away spiritually to come close to him. God may bring people to himself that you never thought would come to know the Lord. Rejoice in whomever God brings. Offer to do Bible study or share your quiet time with people who are newer in the faith. We are to "spur one another on toward love and good deeds" (Hebrews 10:24-25), and a great way to spur each other on this is to study the Word together.
5. Write it Down
Scripture memorization is sometimes a neglected form of quiet time. Buy a deck of index cards and write down one verse that spoke to you each day you read the Word. Place it in prominent places in your home, like your bathroom or kitchen. Make these places that you go to often. Instead of listening to music or watching TV, commit to memorizing that verse. In a year, you'll have memorized 365 verses of Scripture. Your mind and soul will be better for it, and you'll be more apt to want to spend more time with God as he speaks to your heart.
If this does not work for you, buy a blank journal and do the same thing. Write down each day a Scripture that speaks to your heart. Visit the journal often and remind yourself of the verses that God is using to speak to you. What is he saying? Are there areas of your soul he wants to get to? Are there people you have to forgive? Are there wounds and hurts you need to release to live an abundant life full of freedom? God desires for us to live free in Christ. Christ died so we could obtain this freedom. Let's not waste it on grudges and old wounds that make us bitter, resentful, and poor examples of the Christian life. Take you one step further and extend that forgiveness if the person is alive and you know how to get in touch with them. Allow the Word of God to transform your life mentally and emotionally. Take the steps necessary to create a behavior change that transforms your life for the better.
While there are many ways to conduct your quiet time, remember this: every moment we spend with him counts. Whether it's five minutes, an hour, or all day, God simply wants to be with us. He yearns for our fellowship. When we keep this perspective and do our best to constantly re-engage ourselves with the Word of God, listen to God in prayer, and memorize his Word, we'll become the disciples God desires for us. This, in turn, will help us make disciples as we continue to pray for Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
Michelle S. Lazurek is a multi-genre award-winning author, speaker, pastor's wife, and mother. She is a literary agent for Wordwise Media Services and a certified writing coach. Her new children’s book Who God Wants Me to Be encourages girls to discover God’s plan for their careers. When not working, she enjoys sipping a Starbucks latte, collecting 80s memorabilia, and spending time with her family and her crazy dog. For more info, please visit her website www.michellelazurek.