A quiet time is meant to be a time in the day, when we set aside some quality time to read God's word, pray and think about what we can learn from a passage. It should be a time where we grow in our faith and soak up every word of the text we're studying
Quiet times often turn into a routine. We're ticking another box in the daily schedule, and we feel holy when we do one and guilty when we don't. I know I'm guilty of rushing through my daily study, in order to move on to whatever I'm doing next! We simply aren't valuing the time enough. So, here are some tips and techniques I use to make sure the time I spend with God is as focused and God-centred as possible!
Leave Enough Time
I feel like my quiet time should be around 20 minutes, and maybe sometimes even longer! We do lead busy lives, with work and rushing around - but think about how much time we spend scrolling through instagram or facebook or twitter. We should definitely be spending more time on reading God's word than reading a newsfeed! Plan enough time the night before, get things ready, bags packed. We know what time we need to leave the house, so make sure your morning isn't taken up with rushing around finding lost textbooks, but instead filled with God's wonderful teaching! Make sure you've planned what you're going to wear, so that it doesn't take up precious time we could be using for quiet times!
Know the Background of the Passage
If you're in a gospel, who is Jesus talking to? How old is he? How far into his ministry is he? It's important to understand who Paul is writing to in his letters, or which king is on the throne during Exodus! All that information can help us to understand God's message much better!
Do you feel like God is specifically telling you something through what you're reading? Sometimes, when I read a verse, something instantly pops into my head, for example a way I can live that passage out, or a way in which I need to change my heart. God isn't mysterious - he wants us to grow!
No matter how messy, or short, or scribbled - take time to make a note of what you've learnt, or a favourite verse, or a awesome way of phrasing something from your notes. Writing stuff down cements it in our head! I use separate categories, (prayer for the day, big lesson, favourite verse, challenge) to set out my notes and try to make the passage clearer in my mind. Just reading won't stick in your head!
Writing in Margins
Some people aren't fans of writing in their bibles, but I love to highlight and makes little notes next to passages I've studied! It means next time round, when you come to a passage, it will jog your memory that you've been there before, and think about what it was God showed you about it last time! You can even get Bibles with specifically enlarged margins, so that there is room to write notes there!
Pray Before and After
Pray at the start that God would soften your heart and open your eyes. At the end, pray for whatever challenged you, or delighted you! We can't truly change ourselves, but God can work miracles in our hearts if we just ask him to!