A Christian cannot be one for long before he/she will be exposed to wall-to-wall sermons on the necessity of developing a Daily Quiet Time. If you have somehow missed this exhortation, or the concept is new to you, my two part blog post, DAILY QUIET TIME - The Intimacy Factor, should be helpful in getting you up to speed.
First, let's begin with a definition.
The term "Quiet Time" was originally coined by 20th-century Protestants, mostly evangelical Christians, and may also be known as "personal Bible study" or "personal devotions." Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback mega church in Lake Forest, California, points out that Quiet Time has also been called "morning watch" and "appointment with God".
Briefly, once our family's daily activities came to close, and the kids were comfy in our family room, reading or watching a video, and it seemed to me they needed a small reward just for being great kids, I would begin to sing a little ditty I wrote: Jammy-Drive-Thru. No sooner did the word "Jammy" roll from my tongue, than all three kids would jump to their feet, bound upstairs to prepare for bed and don their PJ's. Their goal was not only to get ready for bed but be buckled into our minivan before I could back it out of the driveway - all within 5 minutes. If successful, they would be treated with what is today's versions of a Dairy Queen: a drive-thru at McDonalds (their choice of either a cone or McFlurry.). In the many years of Jammy-Drive-Thrus, not once was a single child late.
Mind you, my temperament is decidedly not one who appreciates "traditions." As the tag line in my portrait studio (Mark Jordan Photography: Timeless • Simple • Meaningful) denotes, I cherish matters of substance and relevance. While holidays and the typical events of life have never held my attention or interest, Jammy-Drive-Thrus and Daily Quiet Time were of utmost significance.
However, for the vast majority of readers, I suspect, who are enlightened and familiar with the requisite for establishing their Daily Quiet Time with God, my blog offers something entirely foreign. I can almost guarantee you will not have heard or seen it before, either spoken from the pulpit or sold at your local bookstore. There's not much that's truly original these days, and maybe you'll realize the approach I'm about to divulge has occurred to your somewhere in your past - regardless, and with this caveat aside, I believe I've got something new to share. It's something if taken to heart, has the very real potential of changing your walk with God, forever.
First, let's begin with a definition.
Simply put, Daily Quiet Time is a routine practice where an individual schedules a portion of each day to connect with God. The key components of DQT are typically prayer (with emphasis on listening) and devotional reading or Bible study. Therefore, the degree to which one observes a DQT is in direct proportion to their closeness to and understanding of God.
To wit, one's Daily Quiet Time is the defining quotient in what I call the Intimacy Factor.
|DAILY QUIET TIME - A Marine takes time to reflect upon God's Word.|
Regardless of what we might call it and how it came about, if one's desire is to grow closer to God and know him deeper, the only way to increase the Intimacy Factor with God is to develop and maintain a Daily Quite Time.
|DAILY QUIET TIME - Tim found freedom once he embraced God where he could hear Him best.|
At it's very essence, Daily Quite Time is a tradition of worship. Putting aside that when I was growing up in Riverside, California, DQT had a distinct meaning all its own: Dairy Queen Time. It was a different kind of "worship," but for a ravenous boy with a penchant all things sugar, DQT held a special place in my heart. So much so that when I was blessed with three kids to rear, I developed a tradition where I could justify satisfying my craving. I called it Jammy-Drive-Thru.
|DAILY QUIET TIME - Laura's walk with God grew strongest as she walked with God.|
This small celebration was just one of many family traditions. Little did my kids suspect there was a method behind the seeming madness (i.e. irrelevance). My hope was that by practicing tangible, imaginative traditions, they might also see the value from witnessing my lifelong, meaningful tradition of a daily quite time with God.
|DAILY QUIET TIME - Andrea found she connected with God best crisp morning air of a rising sun.|
The parallel, as I saw it, is that DQT, being a daily tradition of worship, is very much a treat. It's something that I give myself to satisfy my deepest desire to be with my Father. It's the lifeblood of my relationship and connection to God. Those who value DQT, experience God in ways those who don't, never will.
|DAILY QUIET TIME - For some, it's a comforting time to grow through the most tragic circumstances.|
Needless to say, DQT is fundamentally essential to one's spiritual health. So much so that without it a "non-worshippers" life can and will perpetually unravel. Those who are convinced their life is much too busy to give God but a small portion of each day are left befuddled - life seems to be a series of derailments, off-track and unfulfilled. Tragically, the more out-of-control one's life feels, the more effort they invest attempting to restore it, trusting upon their own strength and willpower.
If asked to define the Christian life in one sentence, what might you say? Since this is a blog post, where getting to the point is the operative imperative, let me help you by boiling it down to but a single word: trust. What? You were thinking faith? Yes, faith is vital, but it is faith combined with hope that grows into the defining factor of the Christian walk - trust.
[SIDE NOTE: Highly Recommend "Ruthless Trust" by Brennan Manning]
|DAILY QUIET TIME - Building spiritual muscle in more ways than one.|
So then, getting back to a life void of a Daily Quiet Time... With God's voice and direction habitually out of the equation, the cycle of separation and confusion will inexorably roll on. Once the monster of self-sufficiency is fed and exercised, it also continues, growing out of proportion to everything else. Tragically, allegiance to self demands even more of one's time, blinding the gullible provider from the authentic source of power, wholeness, genuine joy and permanent peace.
In short, without DQT, the essence of the Christian life, trust, is inescapably diminished. And it's not that trust is axiomatically reduced to doubt, but rather something even more insidious: lethargy, inertia. indifference.
The "T" in trust is Time with God - without it, we're left with rust. And that is precisely what so many Christians have relegate their lives to today.
|DAILY QUIET TIME - Perseverance and pressing in towards God moved Travis to a special place with Jesus.|
In my years of Counseling Christians, the single most common thread in every broken relationship, with God and/or with others, is their lack of spending a portion of their day with God. It's not to say that a DQT immunes one from the life's trials, but attempting to brave each day as an ambassador of Christ without first receiving one's daily briefs could not be a more predictable and certain recipe for heartache and bewilderment.
Listen folks, Daily Quite Time is that indispensable.
|DAILY QUIET TIME - Meditation can take place anywhere, even a relaxing bath.|
Now then, before venturing on to Part Two of my Daily Quiet Time blog post, I'd like you to take a moment and reread the stories contained within the images above (I provide more images and stories in the second half as well). I also suggest taking a moment right now to ask God what He might want to speak to you and reflect upon as you do.