What if He won't answer me?
What if I can't hear anything?
What if (haha)...I'm bored?
Shh! Shh! I don't want to hear anymore 'what if questions'! In fact, I don't want to hear any doubtful questions right now. You just read.
Let me tell you a secret- All spending time with God is this talking to God and telling Him that you need Him in different ways.Then you listen for His response. It works just like a conversation. And just like a normal human friendship, it needs to be maintained everyday to be strong and continue thriving. What? You thought you could just talk to God on Tuesday and then not come back till the next Tuesday of next month? Doesn't work like that.
Actually, the more you spend time with God and search for Him, the more you start to crave Him. You want more and more of His peace and the direction and free-ness (excuse the made-up word) that you get from just dwelling in His presence.
So how do I get to this point, you ask? It's not hard. It's not complicated. It just takes a little bit of preparation.
I won't lie, one of the main tactics satan (yup, he doesn't even get a capitalization) loves to use against us is the weakness of flesh. Modern terms? Sleepiness. Drowsiness. "Not feeling like it today." And let me tell you, he's good at this. He'll use every excuse in hell to keep you in bed because he knows what power lies in spending time with God and drawing upon His strength.
Let me use a little Joyce Meyer on you- fight against it! Fight the tide! You're in a war, you're a soldier...and you're going to use mere sleepiness as an excuse to not get your strength for the day? To not spend time with your Creator, your Father? Does that sound like a valid excuse?
Now mind you, you're reading from the worst of them. I'm not a night owl, but I have been known to stay up a bit for a good movie. I like the luxury of having freedom to spend time with my family and have a little 'me' time after school and the rush of the day. But guess what? For God, I had to cut it short! And I was happy to do it, because I knew from the few days I'd gotten up early for quiet time, that it was worth it. But satan continued to fight me. For about a week, this was me:
"But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble." --Psalm 59:16 (NIV)
"With my soul have I desired you in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek you early: for when your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness." --Isaiah 26:9 (KJV)
O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;" --Psalm 61:3 (KJV)
"It is in private, in morning prayer, that our spiritual lives are both tested and strengthened." --Andrew Murray
"Walking the dawn-wind, Jesus, Heavenly Lover, in the still beauty of the waking morn, unveil Thyself to me, and with the vision shall come strength for trials yet unborn." --Amy Carmichael
You buying into the lie that it 'won't work' for you.
I know why last time you tried it didn't work. Why you think God somehow isn't listening to you.
Have you ever listened to Him?
Ever just truly listened to see what He says? You didn't come up with a shopping list, want, or even the slightest desire? Did you ever come "just to hear...what You would say" ("Word of God Speak," Mercyme)?
Unbelievers, or believers with no personal relationship with Jesus, tend to treat God like a genie. How would you like to be manipulated because of something you could do? Exactly. Imagine how He feels.
Ponder this. God sees past, present, and future- all at once. If it pleases Him to not bless you with something you requested, it does not mean He didn't answer your prayer. It may not have been in the way you expected, but God does all things to work out for the righteous.
1. God speaks through your conscious.
You hear His voice all the time, telling you to do what you ought to do. You just choose to ignore this. -Honestly, if I just ask Him, He helps me find things!-
2. He speaks through the Bible.
This is the blatant, obvious truth no one wants to accept because the Bible is "boring". If you have issues reading the Bible, I suggest reading this post by Emily Mitton, one of my favorite bloggers ever, and be sure to grab a copy of the Bible that you can read comfortably. I personally own a copy of the NIV (basic Bible translation) that was given to me, but I often find myself running to my Message Translation version of the Bible for a clearer interpretation.
3. God speaks through signs and wonders (including speaking to you audibly!)
This is the most 'fascinating' part to most believers. Honestly, just getting to hear a message from Him in its entirety is a gift from Him. I don't know about you, but with all the gunk from the world, hearing from my Refuge is a pleasure for me. I've never heard Him audibly, but I think He knows if He does, it might scare me!
So He does speak to you. But you have to make it a priority first to see what He says without reservations. Through His word, through prayer, and sometimes, waiting. I can't show you how to listen for Him, but if you ask the Holy Spirit to, He will.
"I'm too busy."
Well, slow down! No wonder you find yourself half as efficient as you could be if you had God on your side, and I guarantee you wouldn't have half as much health and anxiety if you just cast-ed ('cast your cares upon me...) your day into God's hands! And you wonder why it feels like the world is against you...because it is.
As a believer, you are in this world, but you aren't of it. You're a spiritual being, here for a purpose, but you've also got a flesh side that thinks it can conquer anything by itself.
If you really want to commit to something, if you want something bad enough, you will make time for it- that I firmly believe. I may not know your situation, but Jesus knows everything there is to know about you. He understands if maybe you can't spend a straight hour with Him, but talking to Him in between chores is perfectly acceptable. This won't replace a regular, scheduled quiet time, but it does help you abide in the Spirit like we're instructed to do, and it improves our trust and relationship with Him.
I'm proud of you! You got this far. You are now educated in the ways of the enemy, and how to expect and avoid his temptations. You can't possibly look to spend time with God without expecting the enemy to try to ruin it. In this next part, I'll show you how exactly to operate your quiet time. This is not a word-for-word manual. You personalize it according to the leading of the Spirit, and like they say, what works for me may not work for you.