Quiet time to study God’s word, meditate is vital for spiritual health
I pray many times during the day — when I wake up, while I am in the shower, as I drink my coffee, walking to class, preparing for a class, as I read e-mail, after a phone call, and so on through the day.
Despite the regular expression of faith that a prayer represents, I find it harder to spend even 15 minutes reading the Word. Without the time to read, study and contemplate, I lack the refreshing that comes from listening to God. Without the time to meditate and think about God’s great truths and expressions of eternal elements of life, my soul begins to dry up, and my joy in living for Christ begins to fade.
Knowing this important fact, I still struggle to take the time to reconnect with God so that his Spirit can renew the life of my spirit.
At different times in my life, I have tried different approaches to quiet time with God. At one point, I gave up reading the newspaper and spent that time with my Bible open. That worked very well. The time was adequate for really concentrating on what God seemed to be communicating to me.
At another time, I gave up the local news on television and concentrated for 30 minutes on praying and studying Scriptures I had laid out for meditation when I was studying on Saturday. That plan helped me stay seriously connected with God.
When Joyce and I first married, we stayed at the dinner table and studied in the evening. The time was great for our bonding, and we always took more time than we had allotted for the study.
We have again returned to a pattern like that. We begin with one of our favorite devotional books and then study one chapter from the New Testament.
I had an aunt who had a book stand at the entry to her kitchen, and each time she walked by she opened the Bible to read the first verse her eyes lighted on. She would take the idea of the reading and think about it to see how she could apply it to her life.
When I asked her about the practice, she told me she studied early in the morning for her spiritual nourishment. The verses she meditated on from her open Bible were a constant reminder that God is always there.
I know that serious Bible study must become more of a church priority for the Kingdom today if we are to stand for God’s principles and be evangelistic. And our regular, intense study does allow God to touch our hearts and begin to transform us.
Hopefully we are involved in Bible studies where we have to study and prepare for class discussion. In most churches, women seem more likely to be in serious studies than men. That needs to change. Men need God’s informing wisdom very much. Even if your congregation is not providing you a program for serious Bible study, you can begin your own study, using the text and whatever commentaries you need. God’s people can only be his people if we are willing to take the time to let him fill our minds and our being.
Time is our usual excuse for not studying or setting aside regular times to focus on God and our unique relationship with him. I recently saw a poster reminding the reader that each one of us has the same amount of time as great people who had done amazing things, people like Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, the president or Mother Teresa. So time is not an excuse. Our challenge is ordering our lives so that we can always have time for God.
My former administrative assistant retired to have more time with her children and grandchildren. She made one room in her house her prayer room. She went there regularly with friends and family to pray. She also spent time there each day with her Bible where she studied and wrote personal commentaries of her study so that she would remember her thoughts and insights.
I realize that few of us will set aside a room for prayer and study, but how precious it would be if we devoted even half an hour to God — praying, studying and meditating.
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