Sunday, June 6, 2010

Making time for God

works for me wednesday at we are that family

In my verse of the week post I mentioned the struggle of balancing the immediate demands of our day with the truly important need to get into God's Word. He says He stands knocking, but so often we can't hear it, or don't feel we have time to respond to his call in between housework, homeschooling, cooking, and other activities that beg for our attention.

Each new season we must reestablish the importance of time alone with God in our daily schedule. How do we find time where there is none? I have found some helpful ways to keep God at the forefront of my thoughts and make sure that my priorities stay intact, or at least return there without too long of a hiatus.

Keep it Concrete. When my brain is frazzled from lack of sleep, a busy schedule, or a temporary crisis, I struggle to put coherent thoughts together. I don't want my prayer and Bible reading to fizzle during those days when I need it most. During these times I have found concrete tools helpful. Devotional guides (like My Utmost for His Highest, Our Daily Bread, or Today in the Word), reading schedules, and prayer lists are invaluable. I use a prayer calendar so I remember daily to pray for each member of my family, missionaries, church leaders, our nation's leaders, and other timely needs. Without a written guide I would be left to wander through my muddled thoughts and probably spend most of the time praying about my sorry mental state, and likely end up throwing a pity party.

Make it Visible. God's Word can encourage throughout our day, but only if we see it. Post Scripture verses around your house. Leave a New Testament or memory verse card or booklet on the counter, or in the bathroom. Change your screen saver on your computer to some godly encouragement. Even your cell phone can encourage your thinking with a carefully chosen background or ring tone. Verses on the dash board, sticky notes on the bathroom mirror, any where you can squeeze in God's promises -- do it!

Chop, chop. No, I don't mean to hurry more than you are already, I mean to actually chop it up. If I could get up at 4 a.m. and spend two hours of uninterrupted time with God that would be wonderful, but it is simply not realistic. So, I chop it up. Right now I spend quite a bit of time each day nursing, and much of that time is also spent in Bible reading and prayer. With my devotional guide, Bible, and prayer calendar right by where I nurse, I can get a few minutes in each time I sit there. It's definitely broken up, but it also helps me spend a lot more time than I ever would if I had to do it all at once.

Make room. Having a place that contains your Bible, a devotional book, a journal, a prayer calendar, and any other items you find essential during your time with God will help you use those snippets of time. I don't want to waste those rare moments searching for the necessary supplies. Having it all together and easily accessible means I can make the most of those scattered moments throughout the day.

Many other ideas may help at this point that often come up when confronting the challenge of establishing a daily quiet time: find an accountability partner, choose the time of day that works best for you, journal your prayers and thoughts, set goals, have a check off sheet, don't get discouraged when you miss a day, but rather jump back into it as soon as possible.

Finding time for Bible reading and prayer challenges even seasoned Christians, but we can't neglect it simply because it is difficult. Satan would love that attitude.

I love that God wants to walk with me throughout each day, and when I respond to Him, my day becomes one of worship. Not perfectly so, but increasingly one that glorifies Him.

I pray that some of these tips will work for you as they have Worked For Me.


Amy in Peru said...

thanks erin.
it is always a choice between spending time with Him and doing a thousand other things.
so important. and every time, worth every moment I can spare...

amy in peru

Kara said...

Great tips. Like many, this is something I struggle with.

Leah said...

I love this post and the one previous too. It's very fitting for the season that I'm in right now! Thank you for your encouraging words, Erin! :) I'm posting a link to this on my blog. :) ~Leah

6intow said...

So, true, Amy. So worth it!

Kara, I don't think you can be human and not struggle with this to some extent. Hope these help make the battle a bit easier.

Leah, Thanks for the link. Happy to share what I am learning daily.


angie said...

Thanks! I especially needed to read your tip about chopping into little bits during the day.

Jenna said...

Thank you! This is just what I needed. I want to begin each day inviting Him into our household, and think less of my needs and more of others'.

Victoria said...

Great advice, and I hope to follow all of your tips! God bless.