Making Time for Quiet Prayer

Making Time for PrayerQuiet prayer can be difficult.

We frequently hear about the importance of regular quiet time with God – in sermons, devotions, personal testimonies, heck, even the Bible. Jesus often went off by himself to pray. Many times Jesus prayed through the night, foregoing sleep. Prayer was clearly a priority, and should be for us.

My best prayer time, recently, was while strapped to an uncomfortable seat as required by an illuminated fasten seatbelt sign. With nowhere to go, I opened my prayer app, lifted up each concern, and jotted down insights. I can’t remember the last time I poured out my heart to God like that! It was surprisingly intimate! I emerged connected to the Spirit, filled with peace, and confident that God was handling every concern.

Why don’t we make prayer a daily habit?

There are many reasons – work, sleep, lunches to pack, a pet needing to go out, social media, life.

We talk to God all day, sending quick prayers of thanksgiving and cries for help. We think about people needing His presence. We say mealtime blessings. It’s all good prayer but doesn’t provide the intimacy found in time alone with Him.

So let’s do this!

We want to start our day with Him. We know that a steady habit of dedicated prayer is life changing! Let’s choose to meet Him in that quiet place.

In lieu of being strapped down and a thousand miles above the earth, find a comfortable chair away from your main living space. For convenience, keep a Bible, notebook, and pen there, and perhaps a candle and timer.

A timer? Short of installing a seat belt, it may be difficult to remain seated. Set the timer and commit to five minutes in His presence. At first, it may feel like an eternity, but will soon be too brief.

Use the candle to calm your racing mind and relax your body. Tell your family that when the candle is lit, you’re spending time with God – it’s better than posting a Do Not Disturb sign.

If you’re visually distracted, close your eyes. When your mind wanders, either arrest the diversion and pull your thoughts back to God or pray for the diversion itself.

Don’t do all the talking. Let your mind be still and listen. Take notes of your insights or journal your whole conversation with Him.

This is an idyllic prayer environment, but we all know some days don’t start out this way. Never fear! There are many ways to be alone with God.

  • Pray before getting out of bed. When you’re tempted to start planning your day, give Him your agenda and ask for His guidance.
  • Pray while walking. Praise God for His creation. Pray for the families whose homes you pass and pour out your own concerns.
  • Pray through your keyboard. It doesn’t sound sacred, but close your eyes (or remove your glasses) and let your prayer flow through your fingers. Don’t edit. Don’t look at the screen. Just pray.
  • Pray in the shower. You’re alone, right? And naked! What better time to surrender yourself to Him and allow Him to search your heart?
  • Pray over the child snuggled in your lap, your role as a mother, and your marriage.
  • Pray during your commute. Silence all distractions and talk to God.

However, you and God work out time to be together, He will honor your effort. Over time, you will find it’s the best, most important part of your day.

What is faith?

What is faith? A Biblical look on what faith is in our day-to-day lives. www.embracinggrace.netThe simplest answer according to Merriam-Webster is strong belief or trust. But let’s look deeper.

We have faith in many ordinary things. For instance, I have faith that my car will start. I have faith that a chair will support my body. I have faith that my friend will keep our conversations private. With multiple positive experiences, my confidence increases to the point that I’m willing to risk taking action. I depend on my car, sit in the chair and share with my friend.

The Apostle Paul describes faith in God as “being sure of what we hope for, being convinced of what we do not see” (NET, Heb 11:1).

We can spend our entire lifetime growing from a simple belief that God exists to being sure and certain, but an important turning point occurs when our trust becomes strong enough to support action.

Paul also says “without faith it is impossible to please God” (NIV, Heb 11:6), then lists Biblical examples like Abraham and Moses who obeyed God without knowing His grand plan.

Abraham’s family must have thought he was crazy to relocate them from the cradle of civilization to an unknown destination. With hesitation, Moses left his safe, fugitive, shepherd life to return to the scene of his crime and challenge Pharaoh, the world’s most powerful man. We should be especially encouraged because both Abraham and Moses were ordinary, imperfect men who became great because they stepped out in faith.

Great faith involves trusting Him enough to follow Him into the unknown.

Why is it important to trust God? Isn’t it enough to believe in Jesus?

Yes… but following God leads to fulfillment beyond your imagination! Knowing the story of the cross is far different than allowing Jesus to change your life.

As a young mother, I learned how to see God’s hand in my everyday life. I’d review each day before bed to identify His activity. He nudged me to interrupt my busy schedule to call a friend and it turned out to be what both of us needed. When I heeded what seemed to be a fleeting thought, I saw God’s protection.

With this evidence, I followed the quiet voice in my soul more frequently. He led me to opportunities I would have missed on my own. I began to see that He loves me and knows what’s best (imagine that!). Over time I became confident that God is trustworthy. This prepared me to answer His call to scriptural blogging, even though it felt scary.

In hindsight, I see evidence of His guidance throughout my life. With continually growing faith, I rely on His promises and trust that He’s in control even when I face difficulties.

How is this kind of confident faith developed?

Faith is a personal journey. While there’s no formula, there are habits that will position you for growth:

  • Ask for God’s help. In Mark 9, a father lacked faith and prayed for Jesus to “help me overcome my unbelief”.
  • Get to know God’s character and promises by reading the Bible. We must know Him to trust Him!
  • Seek God in constant conversation. Talk to Him throughout the day.
  • Watch expectantly for His activity in the world and in your life.
  • Identify with Biblical characters as ordinary, broken people that God used. Be reassured by God’s faithfulness throughout the ages. He can be trusted!
  • Respond to God when you feel His calling. As you respond and see God’s trustworthiness, your faith will grow.

What one step will you take to grow stronger in faith?

5 Ways to Memorize Scripture

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Ways to Memorize Scripture
I hear voices in my head. Do you hear them too?

Is there an internal voice speaking words you remember from childhood? “Chew with your mouth closed.” “Fasten your seatbelt.” Some of these phrases are so ingrained that they’re part of who you are. The speaker’s words live on in you.

By reading the Bible, God can be that voice.

The Bible reveals God’s character, gives guidance for right living, and makes promises He will never forsake. I encourage you to read scripture daily in order to discover a personal God and develop an active relationship. As we become familiar with His Word, He will bring verses to mind that offer comfort, provide courage, and inform our decisions.

The wise author of Proverbs 3:1 (NIV) says: “My child, never forget the things I have taught you. Store my commands in your heart.”

Store, as in keep, hide away, preserve…memorize.

Groan! Memorizing scripture is too hard! My mind doesn’t work that way anymore. I can’t!

I hear you! But without realizing it, you’re constantly memorizing new things through frequent exposure.

Do you sing along to the latest hits while driving? Can you identify the product whose slogan is Just Do It.

Or bake your favorite cookies without a recipe? Do the keystrokes for your favorite online store flow from your fingertips automatically?

Congratulations! You memorized! Was any of it difficult or unpleasant?

Storing God’s Word in your heart can be just as easy, enjoyable, and so much more valuable than “I’m Lovin’ It.”

Consider these ideas to increase your exposure to scripture:

  • – Sing your Scriptures.

If you hum Sunday worship hymns long after the service ends, load your digital music library with songs containing scriptural lyrics. Two of my favorites are By Name I Have Called You (Angotti) which quotes many verses and Thy Word (Grant/Smith) based on Psalm 119:105. Singing scripture is enjoyable and long lasting! I still remember Psalm 100 from a first grade cherub choir song.

  • – Create a slogan.

Start with short, effective phrases. Speaking aloud the words “Get behind me, Satan” (Matthew 16:23 NKJV) is effective for battling temptation, but be careful to say it with a smile when a friend offers a cookie. Breathe in the aroma of freshly brewed coffee with a cheerful “This is the day that the Lord has made.” In time, you can add “let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24 ESV)

  • – Put pen to paper.

Writing words out longhand imprints them in your memory. Post sticky notes containing verses that speak to you on your computer screen. (Here are some cute and lovely butterfly sticky notes!) Create signs with decorative lettering to hang where you’ll read them frequently. Print photos with scripture from Pinterest.

  • – Pray God’s Word.

Prop scripture cards between the salt & pepper shakers to add a verse of thanks to your mealtime grace. Or fill a pretty box on your nightstand with God’s promises to begin your bedtime prayers.

  • – Do it daily.

A variety of devotionals are available to connect you with God’s Word. Find one that’s delivered in a manner you’ll commit to reading, like a verse-a-day calendar, scriptural email, or favorite pastor’s blog. Choose a version you can understand so you’ll ponder and apply the verse throughout the day.

As the Bible becomes more familiar, God will be the voice that’s talking in your head, guiding your direction, strengthening your resolve, and comforting your soul.

Knowing His Word will help you to trust His promises and make wiser choices.

I pray that your life is blessed by storing God’s Word in your heart. “…with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26 KJV)

Do you have any out-of-the-box methods to memorizing Scripture?