Starting a Daily Quiet Time

Epiphany, January 6, 2022 

I was converted to Christ in the year 1991 at the age of 18. Today, at the age of 48, I can’t imagine a day without significant time in God’s Word. It’s not something that I do to win points with God, or to check off a box, or so I can write about the practice and sound pious. I spend time with God in His Word for the same reason I breathe, eat, and sleep: Sustenance.  

It wasn’t always like this for me. When I was a brand-new Christian, my pastor repeatedly said something to the effect of, “Without the Word of God and prayer, you don’t have a chance.” Stated positively, “God has given you everything you need to survive and thrive in His Word and prayer.” He was speaking individually and would certainly have added in congregational life with its corporate worship and reception of the sacraments. He spoke of the need for a dedicated time with God each/every/most days, whether you call it devotions, quiet time, or something else.  

The most pivotal minute in the change from NOT having this time to HAVING this time was just that—a minute. I was a fourth-year student at South Dakota State University (Go Jacks), living alone in a mobile home off campus, going to college full time, and volunteering (nearly) full time as a basketball coach. I was busy, working with all the fervor of someone young and in love. I loved my life, and I loved (what was becoming) a budding career. 

Every weekday morning, I got up at 5:15, never hitting snooze. I thought (I’m more moderated now) that snoozing was losing. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday I had a standing pickup game on campus. Tuesday and Thursdays I lifted. After working out, I came home, ate breakfast while I watched SportsCenter, and then went to class. I slept about five hours per night and attended my home congregation about 20 miles away most Sundays, even when weekend road games kept me up to the wee hours of Sunday morning.  

But outside of that Sunday morning commitment I spent little time with Jesus. It’s not that I didn’t care—I loved Jesus deeply and knew that God loved me deeply, too. But I was spiritually malnourished in a way that manifested itself in pride, anxiety, and lust for more. It was this malnourishment that eventually led me to study the Bible for (what I thought was) a quarter at (what was then) AFLBS.  

But the change started with a minute. I had become convicted at my lack of investment in God’s Word. Someone gave me the college/young adult version of “Our Daily Bread.” I can’t even remember what it was called. I decided that I would start reading that for devotions… while eating breakfast while watching SportsCenter… but I didn’t read the scripture in the devotional, just the warm story published alongside. It took about a minute.  

This is all a bit embarrassing to type, trivial as it seems, but don’t miss the profundity. Something was better than nothing; a minute led to future richness. In this world of constant information and notification, the practice of a regular quiet time has slipped for many. We are all busy, and we are all hurried, but we simply cannot let busy-ness crowd out vital time alone with God in His word.  

You have time. Reduce the amount of time you spend on social media. When you’re binging TV shows, stop one episode early. Invest one of your two 15-minute work breaks, or your lunch hour. We are not all the same, and our lives are not the same. Whatever works to get you into God’s Word, do it. It could lead to more study in the future and expanded reading like Luther’s Small Catechism and/or Luther’s Large Catechism, or any number of sound theological works.  

Start small. Mine started with one minute. Maybe you can start with seven.  

Maybe a daily devotional book will help you. There are 15 million or so to choose from (I made that up). Here’s my favorite, Luther for the Busy Man, which takes about three minutes per day, and lives in podcast form, too.  

Bible reading plans can be helpful, but make sure you ENJOY scripture, too. My favorite plan is admittedly aggressive, so maybe split it up over two years.  

God’s Word is the means by which He creates and sustains faith in our fragile souls. Invest that time. You will never regret that investment. It may even change your life.

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