hOW tO sPEND tIME wITH gOD
In case you haven’t checked out this week's challenge on the Changed Hearts: I AM Woman website it’s a challenge to keep us on track with spending time with God. I got a few questions from people asking what does “quiet time” consist of, what is considered spending quality time with God, and how do I do it? There’s not necessarily a “right” way to spend time with God. Everyone will have their own individual relationship with Him and therefore the way you do your quiet time may differ from the way that I do mines and that is perfectly okay! I don’t have the art of quiet time with God down pact by any means but this is just a guide to help anyone who has questions about where to start or just to get an idea of how you can do it. I’m listing these as steps but I don’t necessarily follow a particular order and you don’t have to either! Go with where the spirit of God leads you.
Prayer is essential to the believer’s life; it is how we communicate with God yet so often we feel as though we can’t talk to God because we don’t know what to say or how to approach Him even. Prayer is just a conversation between you and God. Talk to Him in the way that you would talk to anyone else. Well let me rephrase that, talk to Him in the same way you would talk to someone that you love and that you respect. No you don’t have to go and get all prim and proper; you just speak to Him in your normal voice and tone. One of the important things to remember when going before God in prayer is to ask for repentance of sins. Confess your sins to Him and ask God to help you in the areas that you are struggling in. First John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (KJV). Have faith in God to believe that He can take care of what it is that you are praying for. Matthew 21:22 states, “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive” (KJV). Don’t pray and doubt God, but believe God to do the things that you ask of Him. Most importantly ask that His will be done for your life ultimately. I also like to use this time to pour out to God. Well what does “pour out” mean? I tell Him what’s on my heart. He already knows it but He wants me to verbalize it so that I give it over to Him. I like to have a “tell Him why you’re mad” session. I know it sounds funny but I tell God my frustrations, I tell Him what is hurting me, I pretty much tell Him why I’m mad. The word says “Cast your cares upon Jesus, for He cares about you” (1 Peter 5:7, KJV). Take advantage of that and stop carrying around the weight of this world, it’ll give you an ugly hunch back :). Just talk to God. We have a tendency to make things so complicated, JUST TALK TO HIM. Use this time to pray for others as well. Yes it’s good to pray for yourself but it can’t always be about you. A good example of prayer is David’s prayers to God in the book of Psalm. No this is not the only example of prayer in the bible by any means but I really love David’s transparency and how he talked to God about what he was feeling.
2. Praise and Worship: My quiet time isn’t exactly “quiet.” I usually have worship music playing in the background to set the atmosphere. I normally start off with it loud and sing along with the words or simply just worship God. So what exactly does it mean to praise and worship? You open up your mouth and just start thanking God; thank Him for what He’s done in your life, thank Him for His blessings, thank Him for how He’s graced you and for His mercy. Most importantly thank Him just for being God. Thank Him because He gave us a Savior when He sacrificed Jesus Christ for our sins. Psalm tells us that the Lord inhabits the praises of His people (Psalm 22:3). He loves to hear His children praising and worshiping Him. I always remember the analogy that my pastor gave in church one day. He played football in college and he talked about how the way you practice is the way that you’re going to play on game day. Therefore if you don’t practice full out, it will be hard to play full out when it’s time for the game because you didn’t practice that way. It’s the same thing with how we praise and worship God. I use to feel really awkward and uncomfortable lifting my hands in church or praising God in front of people. The reality was, I’ve always had roommates and when I had my quiet time I felt like I had to be quiet and like I couldn't really be free in my house which translated over into church. I still felt like I couldn’t let loose in a sense because I hadn’t been loose in my “practice” time. It’s important to have a space where you can be free and be loud, cry, sing, and do whatever else you want to without worrying about someone interrupting your time with God. Cut out the distractions; turn off the cell phone, TV, and whatever else you need to. For some people their gospel music can be a distraction because they want to sing to it and it causes their mind to drift when they’re reading scriptures. That’s okay! Cut it off until you finish if you have to. Some people may say, well Angel I have roommates too or other people in my house and I can’t really have alone/quiet time. Do what you got to do! I’ve always had numerous roommates and there have been times where I got in my car and sat in the parking lot of Wal-Mart, the movie theater, emergicare, target, and wherever else that was quiet and I could spend time with God. You can make it work! Don’t give in to your mind plotting on all the reasons why you can’t do it. Philippians 4:13 reminds us that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us and don’t you forget it!
3. Open up the bible: As you pour out to God, allow God to pour back into you. The bible is not just a history book for us to read through from cover to cover. The words can truly come to life for you as God reveals Himself through His word. I’m not a fan of the whole open up the bible and whatever page it lands on that’s what God wants me to read but hey if it works for you go for it. The YouVersion bible app is a great tool to use that has a number of studies and devotionals that you can choose from. Also in my experience, the books of Psalm and Proverbs are a great place to start to make your own devotionals but of course you don’t have to start there. Sometimes while you’re praying or during your praise and worship time, God will lead you to focus on a particular scripture or He’ll place a certain thought or word in your mind for you to look at. It really helps if you have a bible with a really good concordance and if you don’t that’s okay! Remember the internet is a great tool to use as well. Google what you’re looking for and it should direct you to the exact scripture that you’re trying to find. It also helps to find a good study bible that helps to break down the scriptures for you. I have the Life Application Study Bible in the New International Version and I also use a parallel bible that’s not a study bible along with it for the King James Version. For the longest I wasn’t a fan of the KJV because it was more difficult to read but it is the closest version as far as translation from the Greek and Hebrew writing. With other versions some of the meaning can be lost in translation so I like to have the KJV to look at and also use my life app study bible to help with the scriptures from KJV that are difficult for me to understand. Also pray and ask God to help give you an understanding of the KJV and the bible as a whole when you’re studying
4. Journal: I go through probably 3-4 journals a year. I was never big on keeping a diary when I was younger because I didn’t want someone to find it and know all of my “secrets.” However, my journal is different. I use it to write letters to God, write out scriptures that stood out to me, to write out any revelations that God gives me while I’m praying or reading scriptures. I also use it to write down people or things that I’m praying for and the vision that God has given me. I know everyone doesn’t like to write and that is okay, but for me most of the time if I don’t write things down I end up forgetting them. Another option that you have is a lot of smart phones if not all have a voice recorder app. If you don’t feel like writing, record these things as they come to you and save them to your phone.
This is just a brief guide for how you can spend time with God. Here’s the thing, don’t make it this structured event that you’re checking off a list of “okay pray first, now praise and worship, oh now I have to find my bible.” Don’t make spending time with God a chore, make it fun! The more you make it fun versus looking at it as a job, the more you will desire to want to get to that place where you spend time with God. Another tip, don’t expect every time that you have quiet time that it is going to be this big cry fest where you are sobbing and weeping on your face! I use to think that I hadn’t really spent time with God unless I was on my face, crying, with my praise Him hands up! Uh no…yes it will be like that at times but don’t allow your feelings to dictate your QT with God. I love to dance around to fast praise music and have my own gospel concert in my room. Do what works for you! Lastly, don’t focus on the time. I want to be careful in how I word this…it’s important to spend time with God but don’t limit yourself to an allotted time of I have to spend an hour with God or I have to spend 3 hours each day with God. It’s not so much about how long you spend with God as much as it is about the quality of your time spent with God. Does that mean go and say a 30 second prayer and then count that as your time spent with God for the day? NO, but I know for myself there have been times where I said I’m going to spend an hour with God each day and I found myself thinking more about is my hour up yet or how much time do I have left versus focusing on Him. Also if you set only an hour for your quiet time, what happens when things start to get good right at that hour mark and God starts speaking to you? Are you going to shut it down because you met your hour mark? (You better not lol) Don’t put limits on God. Go before Him with a sincere and genuine heart and allow Him to direct your time with Him. Okay last thing for real this time; remember that the bible says some things only come with fasting and praying (Mark 9:29). Be sure you implement fasting into your relationship with God as well. I just want to reiterate that this is not an exclusive guide or the “right way” to spend time with God. This is just an outline to get you started! Hope this helps and if anyone has questions please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. God bless!
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