Lessons in Discipleship(8) دروس في التلمذة

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LID#8 – How to have a Quiet Time

          This is Dr. Ed Hoskins welcoming you to Lessons in Discipleship, a series designed to help new believers become established in their Christian faith.  This 8th session is on How to Have a Daily Quiet Time.  First let me tell you a little about myself.  I’m a retired physician who spent 34 years in family medicine and student health.  I became a Christian 50 years ago and was helped early in my Christian faith by the Navigators, an international non-denominational Christian organization, whose stated goal is “To Know Christ and to Make Him Known.”  I have been on associate staff with that organization since 1980.  Lessons in Discipleship is a compilation of what I learned during that time.  What I learned then I now pass on to you.  Today’s session is How to Have a Daily Quiet Time.

The quiet time was known in the early 20th century as the Morning Watch, a term first coined by the missionary Amy Carmichael.  The Quiet Time has also been known as Time Alone with God, Daily Devotions, Personal Devotions, the Sacred Time, or just Personal Bible Study.  It all comes to the same thing, spending personal daily time alone with God, letting him speak to us in his word, and then us responding to him in prayer.

Daily time with God is essential for our spiritual growth.  My wife reminds me that most people eat two or three meals each day, or 14-21 meals a week.  Let’s face it.  Spending time alone with God is our spiritual food.  Even if our stomachs could hold enough, no one would ever think of eating only once a week.  Then why would anyone possibly consider spending only once a week with God?  This is like a Christian who chose as his or her own spiritual intake to attend church once a week.  Spiritually it’s just not adequate.  Because a daily Quiet Time is essential to our spiritual nourishment we must be more regular, preferably every day.

I Peter 2:2 says “Like newborn babes, crave pure  spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation.”  What Biblical examples do we have of a daily Quiet Time?  Moses believed in the Quiet Time. Exodus 33:9 says “As Moses went into the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down, and stay at the entrance, while the Lord spoke with Moses.”  David believed in the daily Quiet Time.  In Psalm 42:1-2 David says, “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God.  My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?” Daniel also believed in it.  “Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God.” (Daniel 6:10)  Jesus believed in a daily Quiet Time.  “After he had dismissed them, he went up into the hills by himself to pray.  When evening came, he was there alone.” (Matthew 14:23)  All the twelve disciples believed in the Quiet Time.  “We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.” (Acts 6:4)

So, how does someone start to have a daily Quiet Time?  It consists of personal time alone with God in his word, the Bible, and in prayer.  Here are a few suggestions.  First, have your Quiet Time first thing in the morning.  Choose a place and time free of distraction.  Over the last 50 years, I have found that if I don’t make sure to do it first thing in the day, it becomes increasingly difficult to have it at all.  However, if for some reason you miss having it, make sure to have it at your first free opportunity.  Second, start with prayer.  Ask God to prepare your heart to seek him.  A verse I like to pray is from Psalm 119:18, “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.”  Third, take the next five or ten minutes and read a short passage from the Bible, possibly just a chapter or even a single paragraph.  And when you have finished reading, ask the three questions we’ve mentioned previously about meditation: What does this say? These are the facts. That’s the content part.  Second question: What does it mean?  That’s interpretation.  And finally, What does it mean to me?  That’s personal application. It’s helpful to get a small notebook, write down the reference passage as well as your answers to three questions.  Now talk to God about what you read in his word, and what he might be asking you to do or understand from the passage.  In the next slide we will talk more about thoughts on prayer.

Take the next five or ten minutes talking with God in prayer.  I like to use a helpful acrostic I learned about many years ago.  It’s called ACTS.  ‘A’ stands for adoration, ‘C’ stands for confession, ‘T’ stands for thanksgiving, and ‘S’ stands for supplication.  First, spend a few minutes praising God for who He is.  Next confess any known sins or deficiencies God has made known to me.  That’s agreeing with God about areas that I’ve failed him in (sin).  God will forgive us and cleanse us completely.  Then thank him for his provided blessings in my life and current circumstances, especially the difficult ones.  Finally, ask God (supplication) for any current needs, including my own needs as well as the needs of others.  Be specific.  Don’t make all this too complicated – but it definitely should be part of your own developing relationship with the Creator of the universe.

Let’s summarize what we’ve learned in this brief presentation. First, the daily Quiet Time is essential for our spiritual nourishment.  Get in the habit of having your Quiet Time every day.  If we stop having Quiet Times, we cut ourselves off from the vine of Christ.  In John 15:5 Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches.  If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”  Do it first thing each day.  If possible, use a notebook and write down what you learned.  Sometimes it helps to have your Quiet Time with another believer.  Third, the daily quiet time consists of letting God speak to you in his word and then we speak back to God in prayer.  Fourth, when you read God’s word, train yourself to ask three questions.  What does it say? What does it mean? And what does it mean to me personally?  Remember, God’s word was never meant only to give us information.  God’s word was meant to change our lives.  Finally, when getting to know God in prayer, remember the acrostic ACTS – adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication.

Well, we will see you next time for another session of Lessons in Discipleship as we cover Lordship and Personal Purity.  That wraps up this session for today.  Thanks for being a part.  Until next time, keep following Jesus.  He’s worth it.

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