Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Maintaining a Fruitful Quiet Time in Summer (Part II)

If you missed last Tuesday's post, check it out here.

Here are a few more tips and encouragements to maintaining a fruitful quiet time during the summer months.

Journal during your quiet times.  Write down prayers as well as praises.  Keep notes of things you learn from your quiet time, questions you have, and where you are reading in the Bible.  Consider taking notes when you are at church.

Journaling, even if if it doesn't come naturally to you and you don't have much to say, is ultimately such a blessing for your spiritual walk.  In a matter of weeks and over the years, you can look back and tangibly see and remember ways the Lord has moved in your life, as well as how you have grown in your faith.

Don't be afraid to skip around.  While I encourage you to finish an entire book in order to get its full meaning, it's okay to read from a few places at once.  In a typical quiet time, I read chapters from three or four places in the Bible.  I go through each book (over the course of a few weeks), but I read from several.  For example, I am currently going through Ruth, Psalms, Jeremiah, and John.  When I finish John, I will probably begin Galatians, and so on.

I often use the idea of reading from two books in the Old Testament, at least one in the New Testament, and then a Psalm.  By moving around each day, I am able to see God's powerful plans from a broad perspective.  Seeing a passage from John relate so clearly to a prophecy in Jeremiah is amazing.  The Gospel is declared fully from Genesis to Revelation, and it is a precious thing to see God's love proclaimed from a book as obscure as Zechariah.  I've been asked how I keep track of where I am.  Bookmarks, of course!

If you are uncomfortable switching around in a day, try moving after you finish each book of the Bible.  There is something difficult in moving in order through the Bible.  It's easy to become burned out if in the last three months, you've only read from Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.  Bring balance to the time you spend in the Word. 

Mark where you've read.  One of the most helpful quiet time tips I have ever received came from Ben Stuart, the head of Breakaway Ministries.  He keeps a weekly podcast, and last summer he taught about quiet times.  The link for the episode is here.  I gained so much from his advice.

Stuart encourages listeners to mark in your Bible after you have read each book.  While some books are more difficult to read than others, they are all the Word of God.  Each page holds valuable treasure worth studying.  When you have your quiet time, it is easy to read from John and James a hundred times and never turn to books like Hosea or Habakkuk to find the truths held within them.

Each time you read a book of the Bible, make an "x" next to its name in the Table of Contents.  In a few months, look back.  If you have multiple "x's" next to some books and nothing by others, it may be time to change up what you're reading.  Keeping track of where you've read in the Bible will help you to read God's Word in its wholeness, which will be so beneficial to your growth. 

I hope these challenges and ideas were a source of encouragement to you.  Remember that these were all ideas I have personally found beneficial in maintaining a fruitful quiet time.  The time you spend with God will look different, and that's a good thing.  Spend time with Jesus in prayer, worship, and the Word, and your quiet time will be fruitful, no matter what tools you use.

Two years ago: Blogging: When to Write

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