We know that we ought to pray every day. We know that we are supposed to study our Bible every day. Yet, it seems in the morning that our feet have barely hit the floor before one of our children is up. Our days are filled with so many responsibilities that we struggle to find time to get it all done. We feel guilty and ask, “How long does my Quiet Time need to be?”
Busy vs. Time with God
Family life can be overwhelmingly busy. Many days are filled with school work, children’s sports, children’s activities, grocery shopping, and church activities. We fall into bed to do it again the next day.
There is not much quiet in our day, let alone enough quiet for prayer and Bible study. We feel guilty and we wonder …
Do we really have to study the bible every day?
Do I need to pray daily? Does it really make a difference?
Can I afford to spend time in Bible study?
What if I don’t get done the other things I need to do?
Why are we called to study the Bible and Pray
If we are Christians that we are called to be followers of Jesus. Being a follower means that we seek to be like Jesus. We need to ask ourselves… Did Jesus pray? Did Jesus set aside time to spend with God? Yes, He did.
“And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.” – Mark 1:35 ESV
“And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone…” – Matthew 14:23
“In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God.” – Luke 6:12
There are many examples in scripture of Jesus praying. If Jesus, who is God and who is perfect, felt the need to pray, then we who are flawed sinners are called to even greater prayer. If we are going to be like Jesus, then we need to pray like Jesus. If we are going to reflect Jesus, then we need to talk to him and read God’s word.
“I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” – John 15:5 ESV
Moms are busy. There is much to do. The piles of laundry, the chores to be done, the bills to be paid, the needs to be met can be overwhelming. Yet, we hear Jesus tell us that apart from him, we can do nothing. If we want our work to have an eternal impact, we must take our lead from Christ.
Quiet time spent in prayer and Bible study is an Investment.
Quiet time saves us time because it gives God a chance to guide us on how to spend our time and how not to spend our time.
Quiet time allows us to be better mothers, wives, and daughters. When we serve others with the right attitude, then our actions are doing good, not harm. When we elevate our to-do list over the relationships that we are called to invest it, then our godly priorities are out of whack.
“One of the greatest attacks of the enemy is to make you busy, to make you hurried, to make you noisy, to make you distracted, to fill the people of God and the Church of God with so much noise and activity that there is no room for prayer. There is no room for being alone with God. There is no room for silence. There is no room for meditation.” Paul Washer
We Don’t Earn our Salvation in Bible Study
We sometimes ask how much time is enough time for a Quiet Time, because we are trying to prove out worth or earn our salvation.
We try to prove that we are good moms with closets of folded, clean clothes. We try to prove out worth with homes that are ready to welcome guests. We try to prove out worth by making meals that are more frugal and healthy that the other moms. There is always something more to do and always something else to clean.
Parenting is even harder than cleaning. Are we too firm, or do we need to be softer? We aren’t supposed to be their friends now, but we really hope we will be when they grow up. Have we talked about Jesus enough with them? Have they seen enough genuine faith in us that they want that for themselves too? Have we done enough?
In our Quiet Times, we are reminded that we are enough.
We need daily quiet time and daily bible study and prayer to remind ourselves that God loves us and that God is in charge. We have to tend to our hearts each day before we are equipped to tend to the hearts of family and to serve others. We need to put on our oxygen mask first.
The amount of time that we spend in Bible study does not earn us more points towards salvation.
Nowhere in the Bible does it tell us how much time we need to spend each day studying the Bible and praying. The Psalmist speaks in Chapter 119:164 that “Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous rules.” This is an example of praying frequently, but it doesn’t tell us if we need to be spending ten minutes or ten hours.
Quiet Times in Different Seasons of Life
We all go through different seasons of life. When you have a season of little ones, you may have the joy of nap time. When you have older children, you may have the busyness of a sports season. When your children become teenagers, the rest of your family might not get up as early. We need to be gracious to ourselves in each season for when we do our quiet time and how long that quiet time will be.
The most important thing about our quiet time
is not how long our quiet time has to be, but rather
the consistent, commitment to seek God’s face each day.
Do not feel guilty that you can’t devote an hour each day. Do not feel guilty that that other mom spends more time in prayer than you do. Your daily quiet time is not about living up to other people’s expectations; it is about building a relationship with God.
Maybe you only have fifteen minutes while you are drinking your coffee and scarfing down breakfast. Build that habit. Lay the foundation for your day in God’s Word. Then, grab time later in the day to make more connections with God. He is always around. We don’t just have to talk to Him once a day or at a particular time of the day. Building a relationship with God should be a daily lifestyle as we go through our day.
There will be seasons where you NEED to spend more time in your Quiet Time. Sometimes how much time we need to spend in our daily devotions is based on how much we are in great need for God’s direction or comfort. There will be seasons when we are hungrier for God’s word, and we feel drawn to spend more time in the Word.
Live in Grace Not Legalism
Your daily quiet time is an offering to God, but it is for your good. It is not intended to a burden or a check-list item. If we are just checking it off of our list, and not sitting down to talk to God, then we have entirely missed the point of quiet time.
Nor does God expect us to spend all of our time in prayer. Jesus didn’t. Jesus had three years to pour into his disciples and to spread the message of the gospel. Prayer was an essential part of his ministry, but he had to balance it with all of the other ways he was called to serve.
There is no perfect quiet time schedule. There is no perfect amount of quiet time. There is no perfect quiet time template. Just make it a habit to meet with God daily and let God speak to your heart about how to build that relationship.
How do you have a grace-filled quiet time?