I've been struggling a lot with the concept of a "quiet time" ever since I became a serious Christian. It wasn't until very recently that I realized it's not an uninterrupted time of prayer systematically followed by a bible reading. It's not about reading our devotional as we sit in our car before going in to work. Sure, those things are great but they are not "it". And why do I say that with so much confidence? Because I know that everything that we routinely do loses it's efficacy and eventually will bore us. It won't be long before we are doing it, just to check it off our "To-Do List".
I have found that a quiet time for me is putting God first in all areas of my life. Who is the first person on my mind when I wake up and who is the last person on my mind before I go to bed? Who do I run to when I have a problem and who is there to console me when I am hurting? Many times it may seem easier to turn to a good listener and trusted bestfriend (for me that person is my husband). But ultimately God is the only one that takes presidence over everything in our life, even before our family.
So how can we keep God in first place? I believe that God understands our needs and our nature as human beings. He understands that there will be times in our lives when we will seek Him more earnestly and that will mean that we will spend countless hours with Him perhaps uninterrupted and other times, the majority of the time, we will simply find Him in the little, everyday occurences of life. As for me, I think I am in the group that finds God in the little things not so much because I don't have a great need but rather because God is a part of everything I do. He's not just someone I turn to when I have a problem or someone I visit once a day.
I have tried to build a habit of praying and reading early in the morning. The problem here is my motives. Why am I doing it? Many times I have found that it's because of my own legalistic tendencies sadly some of which have been ingrained in me by the church and I don't mean my church, rather the body of Christ.
In the Christian community you will find a lot of people wearing the "Super Christian" shirt complete with the tights and cape. I don't think this is what God intended for us. I think he wants us to be so genuine that when we are hurting, we will be able to lean on our brothers and sisters in Christ and in doing so those, that do not know God will be strengthen by our testimony. God is more interested in what is in our heart.
Simply put, I've come to the conclusion that however I decide to do my quiet time with God (which may not even be so quiet) I will do it with my whole heart. It may be that while meeting with a non-believer, I am listening with discernment and praying for her needs. Many times those needs will be unmentioned because they don't even know what they are in need of but the Holy Spirit gives us the wisdom to know what we ought to pray for. Paul puts it this way in Romans 8:26-27: In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will.
At other times, I may read a devotional and apply it throughout the week. Or I may write in my prayer journal, then spend some time in the Word. Still other times, I will come before his throne in the morning on my knees and cry out to Him. The key is simply to find God in whatever you do and whatever way works best for you.
Today, this blog entry has been my way of meeting with God in the morning and I have enjoyed it thoroughly. I can say that I am looking forward to meeting with him again later throughout the day and I'm not waiting to check it off my "to-do" list.