King David didn’t have regular quiet times. His time with God was so substantial that the term “devotions” or "quiet time" would be a an understatement. There were times when he cried out to God (see Psalm 142:5), times that he praised God (see Psalm 103:22), and times when David danced before the Lord with all of his might (see 2 Samuel 6:14).
If the joy of worshipping Him and being with Him and hearing from Him seems lost, it may be time to reassess your daily time with Him.
7 Keys to Great Time with God
1. Begin your time with thanksgiving and praise. A quiet time without worship is more of a meeting than a time spent adoring your generous, kind and loving Father. Psalm 100: 4 tells us, “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.”
It can be powerful to picture yourself entering God’s heavenly dwelling through enormous gates, all as you thank Him for all that He has, and is, doing in your life! Then picture yourself standing in His courts as you praise Him. This can be powerful. You are with Him! He is real and majestic and awesome. What a way to start your time with the God of the Universe!
At other times, David asked God to help him praise Him. In Psalm 51:15, David prayed, “Open my lips, Lord, and my mouth will declare your praise.” Praise is important, even if you don’t feel like praising. As you praise God, your mind will be reminded of His goodness. Praise is powerful warfare and sometimes the enemy will go to lengths to keep you from praising God. If that happens, pray Psalm 51:15 like David did.
Praise is powerful warfare and sometimes the enemy will go to lengths to keep you from praising God.
Some people worship God every morning for a hour or more! Some of us don’t have that luxury, but it’s nice to worship for as long as you can do so, schedule-wise. Helpful hint; you will see that the longer that you worship, the more peace you will absorb from His presence, and the more you may hear from the Holy Spirit. God speaks to our hearts as we submit to and focus on Him.
3. Spend time in Scripture. When we open the Bible, God speaks to us. Each time you open your Bible, consider praying the same prayer that David prayed; “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.” (Psalm 119:18) I have seldom prayed that prayer and not been richly rewarded by what I read. It’s almost as though the Holy Spirit can cause any passage to apply to your current life situations. It’s amazing!
Quantity is good with Scripture, in that exposure to more of the Bible increases our familiarity and knowledge of God’s word. Quality, however is just as important. In Psalm 119:97 David exclaims, “Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long.” Sometimes it’s powerful to take just a line of Scripture and to meditate on it. God will stretch it out and show you intricacies and subtle meanings that you may never have otherwise noticed. Or a seemingly irrelevant passage may take on personal meaning.
Meditating on Scripture transforms us. Hebrews 4:12 explains,
“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
Exposure to even one verse, or part of a verse, can convict, comfort, direct, admonish, or challenge us.
If we get too “religious” about our prayers, then we can become like the Pharisees who thought they got credit for praying by the word. Jesus said that they “think they will be heard because of their many words.” (Matthew 6:7) In Matthew 6:6, Jesus says,
“But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
Some people like to journal their time with God. You can do this while you read and pray, or afterwards. For some people, it is distracting to journal when praying and meditating, and recording overall impressions at the end of your time works better. For others, God speaks while they journal. The important thing is to use journaling as a tool. It shouldn't be just another thing to do.
As we are praying, it’s just important to listen for what God has to say. The Holy Spirit guides, directs and turns our hearts in the direction that He wants us to go. He may bring a verse to mind, or urge us to pray a certain way. Philippians 4:6-7 says,
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
5. Be flexible about when to spend time with God. Jesus probably didn’t intend to relegate all “devotions” to the crack of dawn when He prayed early one morning. Mark 1:35 says, “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.”
If you don’t jealousy guard time with God, just about everything but time with God will happen.
Scheduling time with God is important. This is because you will find that if you don’t jealousy guard that time, just about everything but time with God will happen.
6. Try to set aside at least a half hour to 45 minutes each day. If you shoot for an hour every time, this time allotment may seem too big, at least initially. If you spend too short of a time with God, you will be rushed and won’t be able to hear what the Holy Spirit is saying. If it works out that you can continue longer than planned, then, yay!
It’s much more important to spend some time with God than to plan on an hour and give up altogether because you can’t find a full hour to set aside. Eventually, you will be amazed at how time flies!
7. Worship, read Scripture and pray whenever you can, not just in a slotted time. Worshipping and praying in the car, then while doing yard work, and even as you shower all adds up! These disciplines become a lifestyle that produces much fruit over time. Then, when you do meet with God in a more intimate, uninterrupted way, your pump is already primed, and your time with Him is all the more rich.
Time with God is not just a quiet time. It’s time poured into the most important relationship of your life.
Time with God is not just a quiet time. It’s time poured into the most important relationship of your life. It’s time with your King, your Father, your Friend. If that time becomes just another appointment, consider that He is longing jealousy to be with you.
Deuteronomy 4:24 says, “For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.” You are that important to Him: He is jealous for you. When we make time for Him, He delights in us. Here is a picture of God concerning us;
“The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”–Zephaniah 3:17