Quiet? Time?

What do you do to enrich your times alone with the Lord?Are they quiet? Do you have enough time? Are you structured? Spontaneous? Do you follow a book that leads you through Bible study with guided questions? Do you meet with someone periodically for accountability?I’m asking because I’m collecting ideas for Quiet Times and Bible study.So far, here are some things I’ve heard others do, mixed in with things I’ve incorporated currently or in the past:

  • Last Sunday at church, two guys in our class said that they are writing out the Bible, word for word, beginning with Genesis. They feel that the act of writing slows them down and brings incredible focus, and they see things in the Scriptures that they never noticed before. They call this practice “scribing.”
  • A friend in the class joked that she was doing something similar, but less ambitious, than those guys and said she’s writing out Matthew. Same motivation–to slow down, focus, and interact personally with the Lord via the text. She brackets things that stand out to her, to return to and spend time with in meditation and prayer.
  • Another guy in the group is going through a three-year daily Bible study book called Search the Scriptures that will take him slowly and meticulously through the entire Bible. He meets monthly with a friend who is also on track with the same book to discuss what they’re learning.
  • I’ve mentioned my Psalter/Proverbs reading plan as a simple and basic discipline. If all else fails, if other plans fall apart, I can always fall back on this.
  • Journaling. Always a great tool for my prayer life. This probably has a thousand variations–perhaps you can offer ideas about how you use journaling in your quiet time?
  • A-C-T-S as a prayer plan, praying first Adoration, then Confession, then Thanksgiving, and finally Supplication. When I learned that technique, the teacher added L to the acrostic, for Listening, even those “ACTSL” isn’t a memorable word. It sounds a little like “axle,” though, doesn’t it? Sorry. I digress. I’ve used the ACTS(L) method with a journal and also just verbally or silently without pen-to-paper. Here’s a simple explanation from a UK-based ministry.
  • One-Year Bible. A few years ago I picked up a One-Year Bible that actually divides up and breaks down passages into daily readings that include a passage from the Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms and a Proverb. The sections are dated, so it’s all physically laid out for me to easily follow–open up to today’s date and read.
  • One-Year Reading Plans. One doesn’t need to invest in a One-Year Bible to read through the Scripture in a year. There are a lot of these plans you can download to follow using your own Bible, checking off passages as you go. Here’s one I found in a quick search that also offers the option of a three-year plan. And here’s another from Crosswalk that you can use online that just pops up the reading of the day when you go to the link. I guess this is more like having an online One-Year Bible. If you’re fixing breakfast and have your laptop nearby, you can even click on a “Listen” option and have it read to you.
  • Vary translations. Someone told me she reads through the Bible every year using a reading program, but chooses a different translation every time, to get a fresh perspective.
  • Devotional Books. These can offer a story or insight from someone, Scripture passages, and sometimes prayers. I’ve used old classic books as well as daily subscription types. Our Daily Bread is one that I used in college–it’s still available printed, but also online. My Utmost for His Highest is also available online, along with Streams in the Desert, and Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening, among others.
  • Scripture-based Book studies, like Beth Moore’s books or Blackaby’s Experiencing God, or headier stuff like a survey of the Old or New Testament. CBD has a list of Bible studies in various categories. Have you used any in particular that stand out?
  • Commentaries online are handy. There are a lot, like here, here, and here. Lots of other places, too, if you do a quick search.

I look forward to collecting some more ideas in the comments! Please share ideas and tools for how your time with the Lord has become richer and more meaningful.And then be sure to pop back over to Rocks In My Dryer to offer more great insights and ideas to people’s pressing questions today at Backwards WFMW.Oh, and feel free to browse my previous posts of things that have worked for me.

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  • Comments

    1. I’m reading through the Bible in 90 days right now and I absolutely have loved it. Before that, I did a few Beth Moore studies. I like something structured for sure. I think the scribing thing sounds cool, I’ve never heard of that.

    2. About a year ago I sectioned my bible off (with sticky page bookmarks) into 6 blocks (one for each day of the week ommitting sunday).

      The law (Gen-Deu)

      History (Josh-Esther)

      Wisdom (Job-Sol)

      Prophets (Isa-Mal)

      Gospels (Mat-John and Acts)

      Church/Epistles (Romans-Revelation)

      It may sound choppy and strange to jump forward into different genres each day, but I have LOVED seeing how everything ties together, seeing reflections and clarifications of the old in the new, fulfilled prophecy alongside the age old prophesies, etc. I have seen so many links that I would have missed otherwise. It also helps make the “difficult” stretches (heavy prophecy or law passages) more bearable, because you are not reading through them consecutively day after day and bogged down for it in a week, but you read through it one chapter a week and you are more than refreshed and ready for the next dose by the time that passage comes around the next week.

      Works for me!

    3. Oh I also love the “write it out” part. I journal things that stand out for me during my quiet time and then go back and blog about the really impacting reflections at the end of the week as well. Really helps to hammer it home.

    4. I’m in the middle of prepping for next year’s home school plan…and in scheduling my 1st grader’s “Bible” time, I searched out a reading plan. You know, because I am Too Cheap To Buy Another Poorly Written Children’s Bible.

      So.

      I found what I think will be a good one for the both of us over at Zondervan – http://www.zondervan.com/Cultures/en-US/Product/Bible/Plans.htm?QueryStringSite=Zondervan

      I liked Track 1 where it takes 2 weeks through each topic. This may not be my “own” devotional time, which tends to be a bit willy nilly through the Bible, but truly, whatever I end up reading out loud to my kids has a way of making its way to my heart as well. God’s Word is funny that way! :)

    5. Mine study isn’t very structured, but I just started reading the bible on my own for Lent. I read a little bit each night, and I started in the New Testament.

      The bible I have is a student bible, and it has separate text boxes with explanations and analysis. So that’s helped a lot.

      On a separate note, my running has really helped my prayer life! I try to pray for a certain person or a couple people during each running session.

    6. Similar to ACTS, I use START:

      S- Scripture (jot down the scripture you read- either word for word or a summary)

      T- Thought: What is God saying to you via that scripture?

      A- Action: What action will you take in your life based on that scripture/thought?

      R- Requests: What requests do you need to make of the Lord in prayer?

      T- Thanks: What do you need to thank God for?

      This leaves out listening, and also the “adore.” But it seems to work better for me as a guide to quiet time as a whole.

    7. This is a great post idea. I have been struggling with quiet times for almost a year. I need to do them first thing in the morning, but that means I have to get a good night’s sleep or I won’t get up.

      I tried to begin reading through the Bible this year for the first time in awhile, but I’ve been getting behind and feeling like I have to rush and it’s a chore. So lately I’ve been basing my studies off Daily Light (have you heard of it?) verses for the day. They’re amazing. I journal a lot, since a big part of my worship style is through writing. And I often scribe verses that I’m pondering. I journal my prayers or say them “out loud” (in a whisper). And I try to remind myself of those verses that speak to me throughout the day.

      Right now, I’m in two Bible classes and two ministry classes where we study the Word often, so I feel that my formal study of the Word is being taken care of in a non-devotional setting. Sometimes I find it helpful to split the two.

      Sorry for the long comment! :-)

    8. At a very young age I started having my quiet time in the shower – which makes it very difficult to read or write anything…but it is quiet and these days with small children underfoot it is the only time I have alone (and as all moms know they can even find us in the shower) If my time ends up being emotionally, which it usually tends to be, I have the water right there to wash my face and a towel to dry my tears.

      I also enjoy reading small inspirational snippets – I like most things by Linda Dillow and Grace For The Moment by Max Lucado.

    9. I love the Search the Scriptures book. And I also use some of the others as well…I RSS Tozer and Chambers. While overseas (with more time on my hands –read: no friends!), ;) I started reading through the Bible in large chunks. I LOVED it. Reading so much at a time really connected things for me, rather than the “through the Bible in a year” thing. Initially, I hoped to get through it in 90 days, but alas, I’m just now in Romans and it’s been nearly a year since I started. I really slowed down after returning to home and my normal (read:busy!) American life.

      Just my two cents. Great topic, btw.

    10. Oops! Meant to add…I really enjoy Catherine Martin’s studies. They are a bit more contemplative and less “fill-in-the-blank-y”. I enjoy her quotes and can count on hearing from God during one of her studies.

    11. I wanted to second the shower comment. With a baby and a 6 year old I’ve found that my shower or my bath at night is my strongest “quiet” times to connect with God.

    12. Two years ago I bought a Bible that is both the NIV translation and The Message paraphrase (the texts are side by side on each page). The Message adds a fresh perspective on the meaning of the verses.

      My husband and I are part of a small group. We just finished a series on the Beatitudes but sometimes we do topical studies too.

      On my own, I find that reading through the Bible (or a section of the Bible – last year it was the Pentateuch) helps me stay on track. My husband prefers taking a verse at a time and meditating on it throughout the day.

    13. LOVE the idea of scribing. I’ve actually been searching for a new idea that will help me dig into the Word a little more. I’m definitely going to do this. I think I’ll just focus on one book for now though. Maybe I’ll even use different colored pencils. Ooooh how fun! Can I put this idea on my blog?

    14. Just wanted to chime in and say that I, too, love the concept of scribing and want to incorporate that into my study.

      Lately, I’ve been doing Sandra Glahn’s Coffee Cup Bible Study series, and love them. One of the best things about them is that they have the Scripture text right in the workbook, so I can just tote the book from room to room — to wherever I can snatch a few minutes for study while my toddler is otherwise occupied.

    15. I really like to spend some of that quiet time each day writing in a gratitude journal. I spend time each evening reflecting on the day and no matter how good or bad it was, I manage to find at least ten things I am grateful to the Lord for.

    16. fireball3316 says:

      hey fab ideas! it is just so good to DO IT eh – to make reading the Word of God a regular thing and a priority in our lives! i do a one-and-a-half bible reading plan – reading the psalms and NT twice a year and the rest of the OT once a year. i journal and write about the verses i love or that jump out and are illuminated to me by God. thanks again for sharing! blessings, fireball

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