Quiet time has been defined in many ways, but I like to define it as “quality time spent alone in the presence of God”. It is just like how Mary chose to sit at the feet of Jesus to listen to the great ‘I Am’ rather than be caught up in the daily hustle and bustle of things to do. In her case she was commended over her sister Martha who thought it was a waste of time to be in the Lords presence, bible says she chose a good thing and it will never be taken from her. Don’t let anybody take your time in Gods presence away from you.
There is no man or woman who has been successful in this life, who has achieved great heights in the kingdom of God and was highly recommended by God Himself, who didn’t value time alone in the presence of God. If you come across any true man of God ask him how long he spends in Gods presence and you will know why he is at that height. The bible is full of individuals who valued their time in the presence of God and came away with enormous blessing.
Quiet time began in the beginning when God made man and placed him in the Garden of Eden. The bible speaks of how God would come into the garden during the cool of the day and have fellowship with Adam, Genesis 3:8. However this fellowship was broken when Adam decided to let other things become more valuable than his fellowship with God. Since that incident, man has had to do with just prayer. The story continues with Enoch, whose company God enjoyed so much, that he couldn’t bear to leave him for another day; He had to take him away with Him, Genesis 5:24. In Exodus 33:11 we see a man who spoke with God face to face just as a man speaks to his friend. When Moses was done, Joshua would not leave the tent of God. Joshua enjoyed the presence of God so much that he couldn’t bear to leave the place. The achievements of these two giants of God are there for all of us to marvel at, resulting in them being prophets, heads of state, army generals and spiritual icons.
The Scriptures are full of Psalms (63:11, 84: 2, 10, 77:1, 2 119:147,148) that reveal why God described David as a man after his own heart. This made David inherit one of the greatest covenant blessings ever made between God and man, second only to that of Abraham. He forever secured the future of his children as kings. It was so powerful that Jesus Christ had to be called the Son of David because he was the fulfillment of that promise and of which we too have benefited from. To be esteemed by God is a great and powerful commendation but to be highly esteemed by God Himself, is simply awesome and beyond words. Such was the words that God chose to describe his servant Daniel who did not fail to come three times into the presence of God even when the penalty was death, Daniel 6:10.
First among all these giants is Jesus Christ who could not bear to be away from his Father. It is his example that we shall draw inspiration and lessons from to help us build our own quiet time. In Mark 1:35 the Bible says that very early in the morning while it was still dark, Jesus rose and left the house and went to a solitary place where he prayed. This verse is simply pregnant with revelation and holds powerful lessons for us.
The first point to note is in verse 32 where we read that Jesus was still ministering after sunset because the whole town had come to where he was staying to receive from him. This was after he had spent the whole day ministering. I believe he must have been extremely tired yet our Savior did not give the excuse that “I am too tired, I need to rest a bit more, I can always do it later”. No the bible says he rose up very early in the morning. He just couldn’t miss his quiet time. My fellow Christian you also cannot miss your quiet time.
The next question is ‘why that early in the morning?’ My answer is simple: It’s the time you are most fresh and focused, aiding concentration. It’s when you are absolutely free from all distractions. It’s the best time to assess your situation objectively. It’s the best time to seek guidance and direction from God for the day. It’s the best time to hijack the day for yourself and the purposes of God. It is the best time to plan and strategize. It is the best time to enjoy fellowship with God.
So it’s great to rise up early in the morning but why leave the house? Jesus was just being wise and smart. One of the reasons was that he was running from that powerful magnet called BED. In Hebrews 5:7 we learn that Jesus prayed with all his emotions; he shouted, he cried, he knelt down, fell on the ground, he worshipped, he sang praises and he prayed aloud. He needed somewhere he could be totally free to express himself. Finally Jesus being the sensitive person that He is did not want to disturb anybody in the house and did not want anybody to see him praying. After all, he was the one that gave that admonition in Matthew 6:6. We need to avoid places where we can’t give our best to God and won’t be a disturbance to others. Remember not to disturb or be disturbed.
Jesus went to a solitary place where he could spend quality time in prayer. He had to walk in dark places without streetlights, searching for a suitable place. He had to walk quite a distance from the whole town to secure a solitary place. Your quiet time demands effort, you need to find the things that would make the time worthwhile. You need to think through it, you need to plan ahead so that you get the best results. You don’t stumble into the Lords presence; you have to create the right environment. God must be welcome wherever you choose. It takes effort, it takes time, and it’s a special time with God, just like how you would prepare for a date. Its not done with the radio or the T.V on, its not instant coffee, it’s not on the go, its not done in traffic. All that is ritual; hence its ineffectiveness and powerlessness. You must create a place for God to meet with you; in a garden for Adam, a tent for Moses, a temple for the Psalmist and a wilderness for Jesus.
When Jesus finally got there, he prayed. Now prayer is a two-way thing, it’s not a monologue. Jesus spoke to his Father and the Father spoke back to him. He told God about his worries, the stressful things he had been through the previous day, how he missed him, how he was enjoying the work he was doing. He also told him how great the work was going on, how his disciples were getting along. He told God everything. God would in turn speak back to him and would inform him of the miracles he needed to do, gave him instructions, obtained the very word that we read in the Bible, where he was to go, who he was to meet, above all he received strength and power. He received power in Acts 10:38, Luke 4:18. In Mark 5:30 Jesus said power had gone out of him when a woman who had been bleeding touched him and in Mark 9:14-29, Jesus told the disciples that certain ministrations required prayer and fasting. I believe every morning Jesus’ power was renewed. In 1 Peter 2:21 the Bible exhorts us to follow the example of Jesus; that is the only way we too can be blessed.
When you have your quiet time you may not hear God speak to you directly the way Jesus did. You will have to fill this gap by reading your Bible and meditating on it to obtain a revelation or truth. You have to follow the instructions given to Joshua in Joshua 1:8 learn from David in Psalm 119:147,148. You have to let the word enter your spirit to give you the light which you need throughout the day (Psalm 119:105,130).
It is very helpful to obtain a book that will help guide you through the Bible for the whole year. You can also systematically go through the Bible from Genesis to Revelation by reading about four chapters a day. I highly recommend this, as it has been a source of great blessing to all who have done that. In addition, you can study certain themes and various topics on your own. You will also benefit from memorization of scriptures. Making these exercises part of your life, along side a desire to obey what you receive will make you simply powerful.
I have avoided certain thorny issues about quiet time and what you should do but I can’t help but say this now that I know that you are fired up to have a great quiet time. Fifteen minutes doesn’t help much but it’s a start if you have recently come to Christ but if you have been in Christ for more than six months and its not more than thirty-minutes that is a problem. Learn to grow your quiet time from five minutes to say three hours like Martin Luther and others who changed the world for God. You can learn to give a tenth of your day to Christ; that is a tithe of your day and night which translates into about 2 hours 30 minutes. Don’t forget to make an offering of your time to the Lord. It may be hard, but try, and God may simply take you away with him.