It is always important to prepare for an upcoming project or event so that things will run smoothly. It is also important to prepare mentally for a test so that the stress of a test will not hinder one’s memory of the facts retained in studying. In the same manner, it is invaluable to prepare so that a believer will gain the most out of a personal quiet time.
The story is told of early settlers in the Texas hill country. They came to a land lush with grasses and giant oaks. Their livelihood of animal grazing and farming, however, dried the rivers, denuded the soil of the grasses, and allowed cedars to proliferate. For years the land died under the hard toil imposed on it. Then in 1928, when hill country farmers began clearing cedars from the land, they noticed a curious result. The ground in certain areas at first grew damp, then soggy, and finally gave birth to springs of water. For two generations the cedars had gulped all the water and deprived the settlers of using the soil. After clearing away the trees, water ran so faithfully in some places that not even a nine-month drought diminished its flow.
The Bible makes a promise to us-if we remove any hindrances to spending time in God’s Word, it will pump endless streams of spiritual grace into our souls. It will become, as Jesus said, a spring of water welling up into everlasting life. This story reminds the believer to do what is necessary to prepare his heart for the reading of God’s Word. When we diligently remove obstacles, the cleansing stream of the Word of God has the ability to flow into our hearts and renew us.
Going to bed on time will immensely help the alertness and receptiveness of the mind to the teachings of the Word of God. Try as much as possible to avoid late nights and those activities that will disrupt a profitable time with the Lord in your quiet time. It is understandable that a schedule is not always locked in concrete, and there may come occasional interruptions that one would not expect. However, many times a believer allows interruptions that hinder a normal amount of sleep and cause wasted and unprofitable effort. These should be avoided so that the special time with the Lord remains intact. By protecting this quiet time with proper rest and fewer interruptions, a believer is placing a high priority on fellowship with the Lord. Maintain a stern discipline here, and God will bless you abundantly for it.
Be Wide Awake
The next step is to make sure that you are wide awake before reading or praying. Many have found that washing their face with cold water or drinking a hot drink helps to make sure that they are awake. A believer needs to make an effort to be alert when they come to fellowship with the Lord. One man said, a cup of tea “helps me to have an intelligent quiet time.” If you get sleepy on your knees, change your position. Abraham “stood.” You can walk and pray out loud if that helps you to concentrate. Being alert is essential to getting from the Word of God what God desires for you. Take the necessary steps to wake up, and if you find yourself drifting off, then look at some change in your routine to help in this endeavor.
It is helpful to also have a clean area for reading and praying. While reading the Scripture, put away distracting objects such as letters, mail, or pictures that may take your mind away from the Scripture and let it wander from the purpose at hand. In today’s society, it can be common for folks to use a laptop or iPad for their Scripture reading. During the quiet time, make sure to turn off notifications so that you are focused on God’s Word and not distracted by an update or a news alert. The believer should desire to have a time of solitude with the Lord that cannot be interrupted by phone calls, texts, updates, newspaper articles, etc.
As you approach your quiet time, it is not always necessary for the believer to do all the talking. Psalm 46:10 instructs the Christian to “Be still, and know that I am God.” Stop talking and listen to God’s voice. In Job 2:13, Job’s friends sat down with Job for seven days and “none spake a word.” This is something for believers to take note of. We have lost this wonderful art today of just being quiet. There is an old hymn that was written at the turn of the twentieth century. Its title “Blessed Quietness” tells us to seek for that quiet working of the Holy Spirit. The third verse says the following:
See, a fruitful field is growing,
Blessed fruit of righteousness;
And the streams of life are flowing
In the lonely wilderness.
What assurance in my soul!
On the stormy sea He speaks peace to me—
How the billows cease to roll!
The believer wants to yield to the leading, guidance, and blessing of the Holy Spirit in his quiet time. We are speaking of the preparation that should be made, and this working of the Holy Spirit is often forgotten in the daily life of a believer. The Holy Spirit should be evident in church services and in evangelistic outreach through soulwinning, but the Holy Spirit should be evident in our daily walk with the Lord. Give the Holy Spirit a chance to work through your quiet time. Ask Him to be evident in enlightening the Scriptures and in leading your thoughts and prayers as you spend time alone with the Lord. One of the ways that the Spirit can have free reign in a believer’s heart is to come before Him with a cleansed heart. “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise” (Psalm 51:17).