Questions on
Personal Devotion and
Quiet Times

#1 Are there any reasons to have quiet times in the morning?
#2 Can't I have my personal quiet times at night or some other time?
#3 My schedule shifts around. How do I plan a regular quiet time for those times?
#4 What place does good discipline have in our Christian lives?
#5 Can I read the prayers from other people?
#6 What about singing in devotions?
#7 What can I do about dull devotions?
#8 What is wrong with devotional books?
#9 Where can I learn about inductive Bible study?

#1 Are there any reasons to have quiet times in the morning?

Morning devotions are essential to stable Christian living. Let me share three reasons.

Scriptural reasons

The scriptures give us many indications that those who are living godly lives have a time with the Lord each morning. Some prayed more and at different times, but the morning seemed to be the basic prayer time.

"In the morning, O LORD, Thou wilt hear my voice; In the morning I will order my prayer to Thee and eagerly watch." Psalm 5:3

Practical reasons

If a person delays devotions after he gets up even for an hour or two, it is very hard to settle down and focus on God's Word. Many different issues arise to distract him. The later one waits, the more outside distractions take place such as phone calls, children calling, responsibilities, etc.

Nature reasons

The sun comes up in the morning. Here is the time when the light overcomes the darkness. Devotions is just like the sunrise. We say no to the world and affirm yes to the Lord. As we abide in Him, more and more light shines into our heart and helps us all through the day.

"But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, That shines brighter and brighter until the full day. The way of the wicked is like darkness; They do not know over what they stumble." (Proverbs 4:18,19).

#2 Can't I have my personal quiet times at night or some other time?

The scriptures teach us that we should pray in the morning. We should. Sometimes because of schedules and other conflicts, the morning is not the time to have our main devotional times. Listen to the Psalmist.

"Evening and morning and at noon, I will complain and murmur, And He will hear my voice." (Psalm 55:17)

David was coming before the Lord three times a day as Daniel did. He did it, so it seems, during a particular time of trial. Daniel regularly prayed three times before the Lord. He was unwilling to give this discipline up even at the threat of his life.

Practically speaking, some schedules probably work out better at night. It is not a legalistic matter but a practical one. Meeting with the Lord each day with an undistracted time. Does a boyfriend need to be reminded to call his girlfriend? No. He looks for any spare moments to be with her.

Remember God transforms us through our times with Him. Generally speaking, we need to go into the day with these things rather than running on our strength through the day and then finally meeting up with Him.

#3 My schedule shifts around. How do I plan a regular quiet time for those times?

It depends how much ones schedule shifts around. One usually has a somewhat regular schedule, even if it changes each week. One has to experiment when ones most attentive times are. And then try to move your time before your longest work period. Again remember, we want to meet Him before the long busy touch with the world. One might need to meet two or three times rather than a long time with the Lord.

#4 What place does good discipline have in our Christian lives?

Scheduling our time and other resources that we have for the Lord is very important. We tend to waste time. The more we have, the more we waste. My suggestion is to add more time for the Lord for a certain time period like 3 months. Maybe 15 minutes or longer. Cut out things that distract you. Evaluate after the 3 month period. Paul rightly looked at himself as Christ's servant and steward.

"Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God." (1 Corinthians 4:1).

#5 Can I read prayers from other people?

Sure you can. Reading other people's prayers is not suggested all the time because God wants to hear from you with your own difficulties and expressions of love, thanks and commitment. There are many good prayers around. The key is to say them from your heart. Unless you personally identify with the words, then in the end it never becomes your prayer. It is mere ritual. In that case, reading prayers would be detrimental to ones spiritual growth.

#6 What about singing in devotions?

The words of songs can be powerful. I would not suggest to play music during devotional times. We get too distracted. Some might say it helps them focus, but in the end it goes counter to real contemplation. The Spirit might lead you to think about a certain matter, but the song goes elsewhere.

When we sing songs in worship we concentrate so that we ourselves become as the song writer and expressing ourselves to God. I often need to sing a hymn or a series of songs several times before I can reach that point. The expression must go through our mind and touch our heart. Then we can use it to worship as Ephesians 5 suggests.

"... But be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord;" (Ephesians 5:18-19).

#7 What can I do about a dull devotional times?

We have used several different approaches through this series to help you answer this question.

Evaluate what you expect from your devotions. If it has been dull, then you probably do not have much of any expectations.

Check your motivations. Are you chiefly meeting God or just trying to do what you were told to do. Legalism kills the adventurous spirit that each meeting with God should entail.

Have you confessed and turned from any known sin?

#8 What is wrong with devotional books?

Devotional booklets can have special insights, but they are like feeding baby food to an adult. They are thoughts and are very difficult to become your thoughts. We understand that often they quote scripture or even have a person read or memorize a passage. This is good. It doesn't go far enough, however. The prayer is too superficial; the reading is someone speaking to you rather than God speaking to you. We realize that there are good exceptions to this but would like to see each person learn about how to read the Bible on their own.

Remember, unless the prayer or scripture passage becomes yours, then in essence you haven't really communed with God. Man's devotional booklets, though written from good motivation, distract people from God.

#9 Where can I learn about inductive Bible study?

Inductive Bible study is different from deductive Bible study in that we let the text speak to us. Deductive study first makes deductions and then tries to prove them. We come more humbly through inductive Bible study, believing only God can prepare one for the day.

One might not have much time for an in depth study, but as one learns the three steps, one finds himself just automatically thinking this way as he studies the scriptures. At this point BFF does not have any uploaded material on this topic. Search the web, and you will find many resources having something on this.

Inductive Bible study at its most basic level includes:

• Observation (What it says) - ask a lot of questions,

• Interpretation (What it means), - find principles, and

• Application (What it means to me), - focus on 2-3 areas that affect ones own life.

Read about George Mueller's personal testimony on how he read the Bible in the morning. -> Next

| Introduction | Shaping | Struggling | Excited | Meeting God | Prayer | God's Word | Preparations |
| Expectations | Communing | Burnout | Questions | Study Questions | Testimony | Mueller |

 BFF Homepage  | Top | Index | Back  | Next

Biblical Foundations for Freedom

By Paul J. Bucknell