Bible reading and prayer are undeniable staples in the Christian diet. Yet as universal as the daily “quiet time” is, it’s interesting to note how few people feel successful in the endeavor.
Just ask a room full of Christians how many minutes they spent in concentrated prayer last week—and listen to the room fall silent. Ask how engaged they were in Bible reading, Bible memorization, or any type of Bible study—and prepare to hear the crickets chirp.
So many Christians live with the nagging feeling that time with God doesn’t hold the priority it should in their lives. They want to make progress, but they just can’t seem to master the art of quality quiet times. Worse, many start to think of their quiet time as the enemy they can’t conquer, instead of the life-giving friend it is.
Why are quiet times such war? Perhaps it’s because of unrealistic expectations or lack of diligence. Maybe it’s because the quiet times others post on social media make ours look subpar.
Or what if we’re making the whole thing more complicated than it needs to be?
Angst about quiet times is often connected to barely having them. Imagine how successful you’d feel if you spent a little time in God’s Word and prayer every day for the next year. What if you didn’t let the busyness of life undermine your time at Jesus’s feet (Luke 10:38–42)? Without even speaking of “quality time,” a legitimate quantity would make a massive difference.
Besides, merely “checking the box” quickly moves beyond that motivation. God’s Word is so good, and prayer is so profitable that if we just commit to these practices, results will follow. A momentum will develop. Faithfulness will lead not only to built-in routine, but also to life-changing habit.
Here are three reasons why mere faithfulness works.
1. God’s Word Will Change You
The Bible has a way of convicting our hearts, correcting our thoughts, awakening our spirits, and changing our lives (Heb. 4:12). Psalm 19 says God’s Word revives our soul, brings wisdom, rejoices our heart, enlightens our eyes, and, of course, keeps us from sin (Ps. 19:7–11).
If you want to have great quiet times, you need to just start having quiet times.
Scripture doesn’t shy away from declaring its greatness—and for good reason. In the words of the old Sunday school song, if we can find ourselves in this Book every day, we will inevitably grow, grow, grow.
2. Prayer Will Affect You
In 1 John 5:14–15, the apostle writes:
And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.
At first glance, it’s hard to believe we always “have the requests we have asked of him.” When we rightly pray, however, we are relinquishing our will and wanting God’s instead—which is what he always says “yes” to.
Prayer, then, reminds us to want God’s will above our own. If we left our quiet time with this benefit alone, it would be worth the time.
Prayer is also the act of coming before the throne of grace to ask for help (Heb. 4:16). We enter prayer with concerns, and we leave with confidence in God’s sovereign grip over all things. What more could you ask for during a quiet time?
3. You Will Want More
Spiritual disciplines are a little like a healthy diet. Pieces of fruit don’t always look appealing when you stare at them. But if you take the plunge and bite into a juicy apple, you’ll think, That tastes good. I think I’ll take another bite. So it is with God’s Word and prayer—only exponentially more so.
Quantity will lead to inherent quality, which will invariably lead to more quantity of better quality.
The Psalms tell us God’s Word is desirable, sweeter than honey to the mouth (Ps. 119:103). Tasting Scripture’s goodness will create an appetite for more. You’ll want to dig deeper and engage further. Faithful prayer has the same effect. The more you talk to God in faith, the more you will see him answer (Matt. 7:7–11), which will result in wanting to talk to him more.
In short, quantity will lead to inherent quality, which will invariably lead to more quantity of better quality. It’s a beautiful cycle.
Start the Cycle
This revolutionary strategy is hardly revolutionary; in fact, it’s entirely basic. But it’s also entirely true—if you want to have great quiet times, you need to just start having quiet times. Much of the battle is won by simply sitting in the chair, opening up the Bible, and taking time to talk to God.
It’s okay if your quiet time doesn’t “feel” a certain way. It doesn’t need to be Instagram-worthy. The goal is to be faithful. Do it today, and wake up tomorrow and do it again. As you stick with it, you will be well on your way to a lifetime of solid quiet times.