To have an effective quiet time, you must pick a specific time to meet with the Lord each day and decide how long it should be. The general rule is this: The best time is when you are at your best!
Give God the best part of your day, when you are the freshest and most alert. Don’t try to serve God with your leftover time. Remember, too, that your best time may be different from someone else’s.
For most of us, however, early in the morning seems to be the best time. It was Jesus’ own practice to rise early to pray and meet with the Father: “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, NIV).
In the Bible, many godly men and women rose early to meet with God. Some of these were:
- Abraham (Genesis 19:27)
- Moses (Exodus 34:4)
- Job (Job 1:5)
- Hannah and Elkanah (1 Samuel 1:19)
- Jacob (Genesis 28:18)
- David (Psalm 5:3; 57:7,8)
(See also Psalm 143:8; Isaiah 26:9; Ezekiel 12:8)
You might even consider having two quiet times (morning and night). Dawson Trotman, founder of the Navigators, used to have code letters for his nightly quiet time: HWLW. Whenever he was with a group of people at night or home with his wife and the conversation seemed to be ending, he would say, “All right, HWLW.” HWLW stood for “His Word the Last Word.” He practiced that through the years as a way of ending a day with one’s thoughts fixed on the Lord (Betty Lee Skinner, Daws, Zondervan, 1974, p. 103).
Whatever time you set, be consistent in it. Schedule it on your calendar; make an appointment with God as you would with anyone else. Make a date with Jesus!
Then look forward to it, and don’t stand him up. A stood-up date is not a pleasant experience for us, and Jesus does not like to be stood up either. So make a date with him, and keep it at all costs.
The question is often asked, “How much time should I spend with the Lord?” If you’ve never had a consistent quiet time before, you may want to start with seven minutes (Robert D. Foster, Seven Minutes with God, NavPress, 1997) and let it grow naturally. You should aim to eventually spend not less than 15 minutes a day with the Lord.
Talk About It
- What is the best time for you to set to have your quiet time?
- What are the things that you regularly put before or in place of your quiet time? What steps will you take today to re-prioritize your day so that God has the first and last word?
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America’s largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times best-seller The Purpose Driven Life. His book, The Purpose Driven Church, was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also the founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.
This devotional ©2013 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.