Below you will find some guidelines that will help you to develop the time you spend with God. Don’t beat yourself up if you struggle along the way at first. It takes time to develop consistency in this area of our spiritual walk. You should find, however, that as you spend time alone with God your desire to communicate with Him will push you on to meet with Him on a regular basis. This doesn’t mean that there won’t be days you might miss, or that Satan won’t try to trip you up and get you off track. It is simply a word to encourage you to press on and be disciplined!
- Map out a specific time to meet – If you have marked on your calendar that you plan to go to the gym for a workout, you are less likely to skip it because your schedule already allowed for the time to be there. In the same way, set up a specific time each day where you know you will be spending that time with God. Once that time is established, you will be less likely to plan anything that will make you miss it.
- Pick a specific place to meet – This can be as grand, or as simple, as you like. Some people prefer a big easy chair with a warm blanket in their den. Others have a swing on the front porch, or a big bench under a tree, where they can watch the sunrise or sunset. Where ever the place is for you, it needs to be quiet and private so that distraction can be at a minimum.
- Have a plan – Like an arrow needs a target, your quiet time needs a focus. At first, your focus may be to start at the beginning of a book in the bible. Each day you read the next passages, and eventually you could even include multiple passages and books. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will your quiet time include hours of deep studying in the beginning. Just be sure to include these things each time; Bible study, prayer, personal worship, and quiet meditation. In other words, don’t be afraid to sing your favorite hymn or praise chorus. Actually watch the sun rise or set, and listen to the birds in the trees. In fact, be free to just be silent. Give God time to respond. Finish by writing down the things you and He talked about.
- Find accountability – Ask a few close friends, or spouse/family member/roommate, to question you on occasion about your time with God. They should ask you how often you have been meeting with Him, and what you have been learning. But don’t forget, this accountability will only work if you choose to be honest in return. Once you request from your friends this help to stay on track, you may find that they desire the same accountability from you.
Remember, if you get off track, it's not impossible to get back on. It may require a renewed discipline, but it will be possible to get there. Seasoned veterans and rookies alike experience dry spells in their quiet time with God. The temptation is there to get caught up in the ritual of spending time with God, forgetting that its quality, not quantity, needed for genuine growth in your relationship with Him. If you find yourself in that spot, step back and spend time evaluating what might be going on. It could be an issue of the heart that you need to settle. Seek the Lord in this matter, and you will reach a turning point in your quiet time with Him.