Top 10 Ways to Not Space-Out in Your Quiet-Time

Kings DevosIt was said of George Whitefield, that he woke-up every morning at 4:00am for personal prayer-time. As 10:00pm approached he would say to everyone in his home, “Come, gentleman, it’s time for all good folks to be at home.” Doesn’t that sound a little rude? Why would he say something like that? Because if he stays up too late he wouldn’t be able to wake up early to seek God, (nor would he have been a fire brand to kindle The Great Awakening). According to Deuteronomy 4:24…

God is a “jealous God”.

And if He’s jealous to have your heart, then you and I ought to be jealous about guarding that time, and not letting anyone, (or anything), steal that time with our First Love, who’s name is, Jesus.

Below are some points that I’ve developed for an effective Prayer-Time/Quiet-Time. Avoid the tendency to check e-mail, or Facebook, etc. Get a plan and watch how much your relationship with God will grow.

1. Make a “Prayer Time” CD.

2. Plan ahead & find a “Prayer Closet” where you can be alone.

3. Know in advance where you’re going to read in the Word.

4. Get a Prayer Journal and write down what the Holy Spirit is giving you.

5. Use Rhema Cards to get your prayer time started with faith.

6. Then move into a time of Thanksgiving.

7. Lift your hands in praise & adoration to the Lord.

8. Then begin to pray The Lord’s Prayer.

9. Avoid sleepiness by pacing & praying.

10. Take the last 5 minutes of your Quiet Time to thank, worship, and praise God.

Do have struggles in your Quiet-Time, or secrets that have helped you? Leave a comment below.

If you enjoyed this post, come check out my brand new blog: Today I Can Change: http://www.todayicanchange.com

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Building a Devotional Refuge

Imagine yourself on an extended vacation. I mean, this is your ideal vacation. What would your hotel, hacienda, or luxury resort look like? This is going to be your special refuge, just for you. For me I’m imagining a real simple beach bungalow, where the roof is lined with palm branches, hammock hanging between two palm trees, simple bed, lots of windows, and a desk on the side so I can read. You get the idea. You want to go there right now, don’t you? Well, in the same way we need a spiritual refuge. Interestingly enough this “spiritual refuge” is something that is very easy to build. You might be thinking, “yeah, right. I hardly even pray that much.” I believe these four simple steps will open a Pandora’s Box, if you will, to new relationship with God.

1. COME TO THE CONCLUSION THAT YOU NEED A REFUGE.
• For some this is very simple. Life is pulling them down, they feel off-centered, and they are ready to re-engage their spiritual-life. For others… they’re running on steam, and pretty soon they’re going to burn-out.

2. CREATE YOUR IDEAL REFUGE
• Jesus spoke of going into your “prayer closet”.

“But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.” [Matt. 6:6 NKJV].

• My personal “Refuge”, where I get alone with God, is usually in my office. There’s several things I have there: My Bible, favorite internet worship radio station or special playlist in iTunes of worship music, Journal and pen where I can write down things the Holy Spirit puts in my heart.

3. SCHEDULE TIME TO GO TO YOUR REFUGE
• This is where a lot of us miss it. We’ve got 3 or 4 Bibles, and our iPods are filled, but we somehow find it difficult to actually go to our special place to pray.
• You might say, “Yeah, sounds like a good idea, but I just don’t have time!” Could it be that you aren’t making time? We always have time for what’s important, whether it doing your nails, or watching your favorite TV show. It’s a matter of priorities. When you begin to see the amazing results of going to your Refuge you’ll want to go there more and more!

Faithful Prison Thugs

I just got done watching Lockup. You know, that show where they go inside maximum security prisons. Call me strange, but those shows are just so interesting to me. There was a certain man in there who belonged to a gang. They asked him why he would commit such violent acts – even right there in prison, and he said, “I’m a good soldier”. As I sat there sitting with my “Christian Self” I thought, “how can this criminal have such faithfulness and loyalty to his gang, and yet for most “Christians”… we don’t understand these terms of allegience to God?”

And yet I get the feeling from most believers that they are yawning their way through life… “Jesus is Lord, I’m bored, and who on the Olympics scored?”

Do we have a “Burger King Christianity” where we have to have it our way, and that without our “Happy Meal” of nice ear-scratching on Sunday morning we’re going to pout and backslide from the Faith? What kind of fantasy world are we living in? Daniel of old was faithful, innocent, bold, and courageous. He turned the tide of an entire empire by the character he obtained in his prayer closet.

We could learn a lesson from Daniel and these rugged, milltant prisoners who are willing to lay their life on the line at any given time.

“Lord, help us.”

N.I.N.O.

Last nite I shared a message with my young people about N.I.N.O. Now, for those of you who aren’t up on the latest “Techy” terms it means, “No Input, No Output.” Basically it means that if the right data input isn’t typed-in, then you’re not going to get the right result. It’s like when you want to change your profile on MySpace… if you type in the wrong HTML what’s gonna happen? Exactly! A messed-up profile! Many of us get messed up results in life, not just because “the devil is after me!”, but because we haven’t taken the time to put the proper spiritual nutrients into our spirit-man. In fact Mr. Job knew all about this when he said,

“I have not departed from the commandment of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.” Job 23:12 [NKJV]

In other words, God’s Word is what sustains us and gives us supernatural strength.

Now there’s another acronym that is along these same lines, and it goes like this… G.I.G.O. Heard of this one? “Garbage In, Garbage Out.” Just try eating a solid diet of Hershy’s candy bars for breakfast, lunch, and dinner… just for a week! [I know, I know… that’s gross.] But so many of us are pumping garbage into our mind and hearts non-stop 24/7, and we wonder why we get so irritable and feel like “Devil’s food” everyday?

Here’s a couple quick tips to get the right “stuff” into your system:

1. Go Get You a Strong Devotional-Life!
Living from crisis-to-crisis has to stop. Get back to spending quality time with the Lord each and everyday. There’s no short-cut to spiritual growth.

2. Invest in Some Good Q.T.A.’s!
Q.T.A.’s are, “Quiet-Time Accessories”. Get yourself a good Bible, maybe even buy a new Bible, start fresh! Buy some fluorescent pens and begin a new journey with God! Next, get yourself a Daily Bible Reading Plan. This will give your Quiet-Time some focus. You’ll know where you’re going to read each day and won’t be intimidated by the thickness of God’s Word. Then I would say, invest in a Spiritual Journal. It doesn’t have to be fancy, a spiral notebook works fine. This where you write down what the Holy Spirit is speaking to you. It’s also a great outlet for frustration. “Are you serious?” Just read the Psalms! That was King David’s Spiritual Journal! And then lastly make sure you invest some quality, un-hurried time in prayer to God. This is going to energize you more than a double-shot at Starbucks!

Just remember those acronyms: N.I.N.O., G.I.G.O., and Q.T.A.’s, and develop your spiritual-life!

God’s on the Lookout!

What is God really looking for? How do you really “please” God? Isn’t that almost impossible? Isn’t God busy? He might not be as busy as your think….

Daily Bible Reading: 2 Chron. 16-18


“God is always on the alert, constantly on the lookout for people who are totally committed to him…”
2 Chron. 16:9a MSG

This sure is opposite of what most people believe, (or feel), about the nature of God. If they were honest, most people would say, “Yeah, it does kind of seems like God isn’t that concerned about my life, I’m sure He’s busy with much more important things like starvation, feeding the poor, or paying attention to more spiritual people.” But this simply isn’t true. Sure, God is concerned about the needs of nations around the world, but it doesn’t negate the fact that He’s concerned about you and me right now. Jesus said,

“Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will.”

In fact the very hairs of our head are numbered. So, let’s get that settled in our spirit-man that God sees us, knows us, and loves us.

But in 2 Chron. 16:9 God takes it to another level. He is on the look out for those who are totally committed to Him. Just like when you’re driving down the street and something catches your eye so that you quickly turn around to see what it was, in the same way God does a double take when He sees someone who is demonstrating a hunger and commitment to do His will. Our faith-level needs to rise above mediocrity and unbelief in order to experience the Hand of God being upon us in a powerful way. God is willing to strongly support you. Do you believe it? He’s on the lookout. Will His eyes catch you?

Re-Establishing Priorities

Have you ever felt like your priorities are out of whack? Then you’re not alone, because millions of us are in the same boat.

“Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air.” 1 Cor. 9:26

Here the Apostle Paul is sharing how he lives the Christian Life – not with uncertainty, hesitation, insecurity or vagueness. He runs and then he fights. It seems to me that someone who is running most likely knows where they’re going. Now, might be a marathon runner that would say, “Uh, I’m not sure about this.” But those who are serious, determined, and well-trained have a fire in their eyes. They know why they’re running. These kinds of people are unstoppable.

Many times I find myself having to “battle” certain situations, but I feel as though I’m hardly even running, let alone walking strong. How can I win like this? I’m reminded of Watchman Nee’s book on Ephesians, Sit, Walk, Stand. There is a progression in the Christian Life that cannot be side-stepped. I feel I need to come back to re-establish the order of the Spirit. Jeremiah 12:5 comes to mind:

“If you have run with the footmen, and they have wearied you, Then how can you contend with horses? And if in the land of peace, In which you trusted, they wearied you, Then how will you do in the floodplain of the Jordan?” NKJV.

If I get tired just jogging in my daily schedule how will I handle anything else? I feel I need to take a breath and get rested in my spirit. I need to be re-tuned in prayer. I need to re-establish my priorities.

“Lord, I come to you today seeking to do things in order. So often I’m rushing ahead where you are not leading. I’m like Martha – busy, busy, busy, but accomplishing very little. My Love-level is dry because I have not sat before you like Marry. Lord, help me today to seek first the Kingdom of God. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”

Getting Back Into Focus

Glazed eyes and spiritual dizziness needs to be stopped! The perfume of the flesh cannot be matched with the extraordinary fragrance of His Presence.

SCRIPTURE

Jeremiah 48:10-11 “Cursed is he who does the work of the Lord deceitfully, And cursed is he who keeps back his sword from blood. 11 “Moab has been at ease from his youth; He has settled on his dregs, And has not been emptied from vessel to vessel, Nor has he gone into captivity. Therefore his taste remained in him, And his scent has not changed.”

OBSERVATION
Being honest before God I feel I’ve allowed some things to settle. Someone on the outside might say, “But you look fine! In fact it seems like you’re on-fire for God.” But as they say, “the nose knows.” And Jeremiah says, “his scent hasn’t changed.” In other words God is saying… “You ain’t smelling like a rose to Me!” This Scripture has always had incredible life-changing significance to me in difference seasons of my life. It just keeps coming back to me as if to slap, and re-slap me in the face. The Holy Spirit wants to pour me from “vessel-to-vessel”.

• From mere “prayer” to intimacy.
• From a “half-hearted container” into the cup of the zeal of the Lord
• From the “gotta-do-it Styrofoam cup” to the golden chalice of “it’s my honor to serve you, Lord.”

APPLICATION
My habit is to use a 1-hour prayer frame as a general marker to be reached everyday, nothing “special” – just a starting point. It’s not to earn God’s favor, but to merely place myself in a locked-in time frame where I give the Holy Spirit time to change me. “Could you not tarry one hour.” I guess I’ve gotten busy the last week and a half. Ministry trip, Church, meetings, paperwork, being tired, family… the list goes on and on. But still Jesus sits by Himself wondering what happened to the tears I shed in prayer for more of Him. It’s time to get back to my prayer commitment. It’s time to get back to looking over and revising my life’s mission statement, and setting new goals. It’s time to pursue, overtake, and recover all!

PRAYER
“Lord,. I come to you this morning ashamed. I know it’s not what you want for me, but I know it’s better than living in the smell of apathy. My present condition is nothing of intentional sin, but rather of neglecting my “so great a salvation”. Scheduled, business, and even ministry – I myself take full responsibility for allowing them to overwhelm me. Please forgive me today. Empower me to get back into focus, and to rise-up to be the man of God that you’ve called me to be. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”