I consider the daily quiet time to be the fundamental discipline
of the Christian life. I have no concept of what it means to live
the Christian life except that we start our day with the Bible on
our lap. Not that there would not be exceptions, but the
normal thing to do on a normal day is to start the day with the
Bible on our lap.
I was taught the importance of the quiet time in High School.
This message was reinforced in college and seminary days. I worked
some with the Navigators who are real big in creating people who are
disciplined in their daily life in terms of spending time alone with
In my early days as a Minister of Education I used the Navigators
2:7 Series to teach people discipleship. I was shocked to discover
how common it is that people are very active in church but do not
start the day with the Bible on their lap. Lifeway’s MasterLife
Series is a similar product to the Navigators 2:7 Series.
Having worked at practicing a quiet time for three decades
plus now, I have noticed something. I have noticed a reoccurring
trend that repeats about every nine months.
About every nine months, I have to reinvent the quiet time.
Bible reading for geeks
Several years ago I was reading, but getting a little bored with
my reading. So, I reinvented the quiet time.
I am a bit of a geek. So, I decided it would be fun to start
reading my Bible off my hard drive. I have several translations of
the Bible on my laptop and I began reading the Bible on my laptop. I
then created a Microsoft Access database where I could record my
progress. Each day I would make a new entry. The database would
automatically insert the date, and a sequential number that I could
use to calculate the number of quiet times I had had over the last
week or month or year. I would record what I read and a little bit
about what I meant to me. Later, I added fields to record
reflections on what I was grateful for and what I wanted to get done
that day. This reinvention made quiet time come alive for me.
For about nine months. Then I had to reinvent the quiet time.
The One Year Bible
I spent some time at some Lifeway stores looking for a new Bible
Study that might rejuvenate my quiet time. I was looking for an
Experiencing God style Bible study when I stumbled onto the One Year
Bible. This is really cool. Someone taught me once that all
Scripture is inspired by God and is all equally inspired. But, it is
not all equally inspiring. If you doubt that, it has been too long
since you read Leviticus. With the One Year Bible, there is a New
Testament reading, an Old Testament reading, a Psalm and a Proverb
every day. So, on the day you are reading Leviticus, you are also
reading Luke. I knew that this would be a bit of a commitment for
me. I knew from my database plan that I was skipping some days here
and there–sometimes quite a few days. Reading through the Bible in
a year works out to about five chapters a day which is fine till you
get five days behind. Then you are really behind. I knew I was going
to have to step up to make this work. But, I figured I needed to
step up. So, I got the One Year Bible and it made Bible reading come
alive for me.
For about nine months.
Then I started getting bored again. I get bored easily. About
this time I got my first PDA–a Palm. Turns out, there is a One Year
Bible for the Palm. So, I got the One Year Bible for the Palm and
picked right up. Now I could read the Bible and be a geek again.
This made Bible reading come alive for me.
For about nine months. Then I started getting bored again.
The Dawson Plan
Last summer my oldest son, Dawson, said to me, “Dad, would you mind going to
El Paso with me to help me pick out a new Bible study?” (This
is Dawson-speak for, “Dad, would you mind buying me a Bible Study,
pay for the gas to get there, and how about lunch while we are at
it?) It occurred to me that I was getting a little bored with the
plan I was on so I decided that whatever Bible study he picked out,
I would get two of them and would read along with him. I have
been doing this, on and off, for some time now, but am getting a
little bored with this plan.
Time to reinvent the quiet time.
Listen to the Word
I am a very auditory learner. That is why I love listening to
content on audio. I have been on
www.audible.com for years where
for $20 a month you can download and listen to two books a month.
For a guy who does as much traveling as I do, this is great. I find
that even driving around town I can listen to quite a few books just
while I am driving.
One of the books I downloaded was the NIV Audio Bible dramatized.
It retails for 41.99, but if you are a member of the club, you can
get it as one of your monthly downloads–in essence, for $10. Don’t
you love a bargain?
So, here lately, I have been listening to the Word. It has made
Bible reading come alive for me. Here was a moment of insight I had
The more time I spend in the Word, the closer I feel to God.
The more time I spend in the Word, the closer I feel to God.
I said it twice for emphasis.
This particular Bible is cool because it is dramatized. That is,
when Mary says something, you hear it in a female voice. When the
text says, “They said. . .” you hear a chorus of voices.
When Goliath speaks, he has a really Goliath sounding voice. There is
even movie-style musical background appropriate to the mood of the
scene. Way cool. I don’t start the day with my Bible on my lap any
more. I start the day with my IPOD in my hand and my ear buds in my
ears. For a guy who likes
to listen more than read, this is way-cool.
The question, part one
All this is introduction to this question: how are you doing
these days in terms of your quiet time? How are you doing these days
in spending time alone with God? Is it time to re-invent the quiet
The question, part two
The next question is this: how is your group doing? How do you
think your Sunday School class is doing these days in terms of their
time alone with God? I think you ought to ask them. Ask them
regularly. Ask them often. Most of us need to be asked. Most of us
need to reinvent the quiet time on a regular basis and it helps if
the group we are apart of is regularly asking how we are doing.
The quiet time is the fundamental discipline of the Christian
life. How are you doing these days in terms of your time alone with
Jesus? Do you need to reinvent it?
If you would encourage your group to start their day with the
Bible on their lap, I’d encourage you to ask them on a regular basis
about how they are doing with their time alone with God.
Best Bible Studies for Quiet Time
What are some of your favorite Bible Studies
or other resources for Quiet Time? Share your