Okay, in three seconds, answer this HONESTLY. How much do you enjoy your Quiet Times?
I’m sure there are Christians out there who LOVE them, and others who find them a doddle! But me? I find them a downright challenge because I never quite know if I’m “doing it right”! Should I read the Bible first? Which book of the Bible should I start with? I can’t seem to get beyond reading the Psalms! I mean, can you really have a quiet time reading Numbers???!!!
Should I start with worship? What if I don’t feel like worshiping? Isn’t it so fake to sing praise when I’m feeling ornery? Maybe I should follow the ACTS formula (Adoration-Confession-Thanksgiving-Supplication)? But that’s so formulaic! Then, after I read the Bible, should I wait and hope that God will speak to me? But HOW will he speak to me? What should I listen for? An audible voice? A fleeting thought? An idea? A scolding? And when it comes, how will I know it’s God? How will I know it’s not just my own thoughts? Or, God forbid, the devil putting thoughts into my head? Needless to say, the mental strain of having quiet times made the experience far from Quiet!
My husband, who is ultra left-brained, thought he found El Dorado when he came across the work of Mark Virkler of Communion with God Ministries. http://www.cwgministries.org/ And he shamelessly promotes their work with the zeal of a network marketer! Check out their site especially if you are a left-brainer! 🙂
As for me, I needed…well, I don’t know WHAT I needed. But, whatever it was, I got it when I met the wonderful Pyle Family from New Zealand’s North Island. We met them on a farm in the South Island, and I was immediately charmed by their kids! If the proof of the pudding is in the eating, the proof of good parenting lies in the kids! There were four of them: Jeremy, Matt, Isaac, and Priscilla. Parents, Colin and Kathy presiding. 🙂
What can I say? Before I even learned about their ministry, I was blown away by the warmth, genuineness, intelligence, humour, respect, and ease-of-relating that these young adults displayed. They were delicious to be with. They were not “on-show”. They were themselves, comfortable in their own skin, confident about conversing with adults they had never met. So, when they started sharing about their ministry which focuses on equipping and supporting families to walk together with God, I was all ears. They had me at Hello! 🙂
They gathered us around to share about their ministry. Colin and Kathy opened by explaining how they had developed a system for doing Quiet Times AND sharing the fruits of it with the whole family. Let them tell you about it on their website: http://walkingwithgod.com/page.php?id=1 What a marvel of simplicity! Each family member has a Quiet Time, and then the family share and pray together over what insights God reveals to each one. Matt led the discussion and gave us all a chance to try it out. As I did it, something sparked in my spirit and I knew God was speaking to me. The next step is even more wondrous! You share your insights and thoughts with the rest of your family, everyone having read the same Bible verses and saying how God spoke to them. It leads to greater bonding and accountability.
The best part of that afternoon’s presentation was listening to each of the Pyle youths share how their walk with God was strengthened by following this simple system faithfully! Here were three young lads talking about how they got through the challenges of the teenage years and how adhering to their Quiet Times and then sharing them with their family, kept them steady and faithful to God. And they were so NORMAL! They weren’t preachy, prescriptive, cloyingly sweet, or supernaturally well-behaved. They didn’t spout a barrage of Scripture verses like some do who inhale a Heavenly oxygen I don’t get where my clay feet stand. As a matter of fact, both Kathy and one of the children, closer to my daughter’s age, confessed struggles that both my daughter and I could identify with. I couldn’t believe it! Here were REAL Christians who were walking the talk; who loved and obviously respected each other; who were honest about their struggles; who had a sense of humour; and, who loved God and weren’t stuffy and huffy about it. WONDERFUL!!! They were MY kind of people!!! And I wished I could clone them because I thought they could win the world for Christ simply by their witness which was as wholesome and as nourishing as freshly baked bread.
My family has started using the Pyle’s programme, Walking with God. We each have our Quiet Time at the start of the day and then get together, share, and pray after dinner. We all look forward to it. Their handout on The Quiet Time is invaluable! http://walkingwithgod.com/page.php?id=3