A couple years ago I was sitting around a table with fellow young moms at our MOPS group. We had listened to a speaker share about prayer, reading the Bible, and other spiritual issues and we were beginning to discuss some of the things she shared. What I kept hearing over and over from my friends was: “I should pray more…but I just don’t.” “I should read the Bible…but I forget.” “I don’t attend church because it’s just too hard with babies and toddlers. I kind of gave up.”
I was discouraged. Not because my friends were neglecting their prayer life and Bible reading (to be honest I was at about the same place they were), but because these tasks were becoming something to cross off “a to do list.” Of course they were important, but they felt like they were a few steps higher than doing a load of laundry. I wanted to yearn for praying to God and desire reading my Bible. Yet I simply felt….tired.
One mom shared how we are giving so much attention to our little ones and our house. We should simply say small quick prayers to God throughout the day. Then I thought–“Is that the kind of relationship I really want with God?” What if I had that kind of relationship with my husband. We would not spend any quality time together. What if I only talked to him a minute here or a minute there. What if those minutes only consisted of asking for things?
I recently had the honor of talking to a pastor from Washington and writing this article about his church’s focus on corporate prayer. Many Christians struggle with prayer. They know how to ask God for things…but to really seek the Lord and hear his guiding voice…that is harder. After talking to him, I realized that my time spent with the Lord is not simply read a Bible passage (check) and pray for the prayer requests I can think of at the time (check).
Time spent with the Lord is simply that…quality time. I read through Scripture and try to understand what the Bible is saying. Sometimes I pray through Scripture because the words of a Psalm or a passage in Romans speak to something I am going through. I keep a prayer journal and write out requests. Sometimes I do not write anything at all. Sometimes I simply sit quietly and listen. Sometimes I go through the names of God and acknowledge who God is. Sometimes I simply pray for one person–my husband, one of my kids, an extended family member, a friend. Sometimes I simply ask, “God what do you want me to do? This is what I want to do, but is it really what you want?”
On a practical note: When do I do this? I am not as a scheduled of a person as I would like to be. I try to get away for 15-20 minutes in a quiet room while my kids are either watching TV, napping, in bed for the night, or playing outside. There have been times I have a child on my lap as I read my Bible.
Most people I know I am a runner. I hit points where I lose motivation to run. Honestly I do get bored with it. Which is why I have switched to triathlon. Each day is a different workout (swimming, biking, running, or weight training). I asked myself if I could find some type of “triathlon style” Bible reading where each day is different..
I found this great Bible in one year website that is divided into reading a different part of the Bible each day. Day 1 is the Epistles. Day 2 is the Law. Day 3 is History. Day 4 is Psalms. Day 5 is Poetry. Day 6 is the Prophecy. Day 7 is the Gospels. Many people who try to read the Bible in one year lose motivation when they hit books like Leviticus which is a long list of sacrifices and laws. This is what happened to me. It is important to read it of course. I think it helps to balance some of the difficult books with the easier ones.
We NEED that quiet time with the Lord if we are to have any kind of solid relationship with Him. Understanding the point of it is the first step towards making it a part of your daily life.