HOW TO HAVE
Sunrise Wesleyan Church
How To Have Meaningful Time With God
Having a daily time with God is the only way to ensure that you will grow
spiritually. Unfortunately, many people are unsure how to have an exciting and
life-changing time with God on a daily basis. The answer is found in four
? Start with the proper attitudes.
? Select a specific time.
? Choose a special place.
? Follow a simple plan.
START WITH THE PROPER ATTITUDES
In God’s eyes, why you do something is far more important than what you do.
On one occasion God told Samuel, “The LORD doesn't make decisions the way you do! People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at a person's
thoughts and intentions” (1 Samuel 16:7). It is quite possible to do the right
thing but with the wrong attitude. This was Amaziah’s problem, for he “did
what was pleasing in the LORD's sight, but not wholeheartedly” (2 Chronicles
If you want to have a meaningful time with God,
you should have these attitudes:
1. Expectancy. Come before God with anticipation and eagerness. Expect to
have a good time of friendship with Him and receive a blessing from your
time together. That was what David expected: “O God, You are my God; I
earnestly search for You” (Psalm 63:1; see also Psalm 52:1).
2. Reverence. Don’t rush into God’s presence, but prepare your heart by being
still before Him and letting the quietness clear away the thoughts of the
world. Listen to the prophet Habakkuk: “…the LORD is in His holy Temple.
Let all the earth be silent before Him” (Habakkuk 2:20; see also Psalm
89:7). Coming into the presence of the Lord is not like going to a football
game or some other form of entertainment.
3. Alertness. Get wide-eyed awake first. Remember that you are meeting with
the Creator, the Maker of Heaven and earth, the Redeemer of men. Be
thoroughly rested and alert. The best preparation for a quality time with
God in the morning begins the night before. Get to bed early so you will be
in good shape to meet with God in the morning.
4. Willingness to Obey. This attitude is crucial: you don’t come to your time
with God to choose what you will do or will not do, but with the purpose of
doing anything and everything that God wants you to do. Jesus said,
“Anyone who wants to do the will of God will know whether My teaching
is from God or is merely My own” (John 7:17). So come to meet the Lord
having already chosen to do His will no matter what.
SELECT A SPECIFIC TIME
The specific time has to do with when you should have your quiet time and how
long it should be. The general rule is this: The best time is when you are at your best! Give God the best part of your day—when you are the freshest and most alert. Don’t try to serve God with your leftovers (leftover time). Remember,
too, that your best time may be different from someone else’s. For most, early in the morning seems to be the best time. It was Jesus’ own
practice to rise early to pray and meet with the Father. “The next morning Jesus awoke long before daybreak and went out alone into the wilderness to pray”
In the Bible, Godly men and women rose early to meet with God. Some of these
Abraham—Genesis 19:27 Moses—Exodus 34:4
Job—Job 1:5 Hannah & Elkanah—1 Samuel 1:19
Jacob—Genesis 28:18 David—Psalm 5:3 Also, in the morning our minds are uncluttered from the day’s activities. Our
thoughts are fresh, we’re rested, tensions have not yet come to us, and it’s
usually the quietest time. One mother sets her alarm clock for 4:00 a.m., has her
quiet time, goes back to bed, and then rises when everyone else in the household
gets up. Her explanation is that with kids around the house all day, early
morning is the only time when it is quiet and she can be alone with God. It
works for her; you need to select a time that will work for you.
If you are a night person, have your time with God in the evening. The point is
God deserves your full attention, not your leftovers. Whatever time you set, be
consistent in it. Schedule it on your calendar; make an appointment with God as
you would anyone else. Make a date with Jesus! Then look forward to it and
don’t stand him up. A stood-up date is not a pleasant experience for us, and
Jesus does not like to be stood up either. So make a date with Him and keep it at
Many times people ask: “How much time should I spend with the Lord?” If
you’ve never had a consistent quiet time before, you may want to start with 7-10
minutes and let it grow naturally. You should aim to eventually spend not less
than 15 minutes a day with the Lord. Out of 168 hours we all have during a
given week, 1 hour and 45 minutes seems terribly small… especially when you
consider that you were created to have a relationship (fellowship) with God.
Here are some additional guidelines.
? Don’t try for a two-hour quiet time at first. You’ll only get discouraged.
You must grow in this relationship as you do in any other. So begin with a
consistent seven to ten minutes and let it grow; it’s better to be consistent
with a short time than to meet for an hour every other week.
? Don’t watch the clock. Clock-watching can ruin your time with God faster
than almost anything else. Decide what you can do in the Bible and prayer
during the time you have selected, then do it. Sometimes it will take longer
than you have set aside, and sometimes less time. But don’t keep watching
the clock. If needed, set an alarm clock that will tell you when you need to
? Emphasize quality not quantity. There is nothing super-spiritual about
having a two-hour quiet time. It’s what you do during your time—15
minutes, two hours, or anything in between—that’s important. Aim for a
quality relationship with God.
CHOOSE A SPECIAL PLACE
The location where we have our time with God is important. The Bible indicates
that Abraham had a regular place where he met with God (see Genesis 19:27).
Jesus had a custom of praying in the Garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of
Olives. “Jesus left the upstairs room and went as usual to the Mount of Olives”
Your place ought to be a secluded place. This is a place where you can be alone, where it’s quiet, and where you will not be disturbed or interrupted. In today’s
noisy world, this may take some ingenuity, but it is necessary. It ought to be a
? where you can pray aloud without disturbing others.
? where you have good lighting for reading (perhaps a desk).
? where you are comfortable. (WARNING: Do not have your time
with God in bed, that’s too comfortable!) Your place ought to be a special place. Wherever you decide to meet with the Lord, make it a special place for you and Him. As the days go by, that place will
come to mean a lot to you because of the wonderful times you have there with
Your place ought to be a sacred place. This is where you meet with the living God. You don’t have to be in a church building. People have had their quiet
times in their cars parked in a quiet place, in a special room or an empty closet at
home, in their backyards or a local park, and even in a baseball dugout. Each of
these places has become sacred to them.
FOLLOW A SIMPLE PLAN
Someone has said, “If you aim at nothing, you are sure to hit it!” To have a
meaningful quiet time, you will need a plan or some kind of general outline to
follow. The main rule is this: Keep it simple. You should obtain the following three items for your planned times with God:
? A Bible—a clear, modern translation with good print.
? A notebook—for writing down what the Lord shows you, and for
making a prayer list.
? A worship tape or hymnbook—sometimes you may want to sing
during your praise time (see Colossians 3:16).
The following six-point plan is workable to a quiet time of any duration.
1. Wait on God (Relax). Be still for a minute, don’t come into God’s
presence and start talking immediately. Follow God’s admonition: “Be
silent, and know that I am God!” (Psalm 46:10) Be quiet for a short while,
to put yourself in a reverent mood.
2. Pray briefly (Request). This is not your prayer time, but a short opening prayer to ask God to cleanse your heart and guide you into the time together.
Two good passages of Scripture to memorize are:
“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts.
Point out anything in me that offends You, and lead me along the path of
everlasting life” (Psalms 139:23-24).
“Open my eyes to see the wonderful truths in Your law” (Psalm 119:18).
You need to be in tune with the Author before you can understand His book!
3. Read a section of the Bible (Read). This is where your conversation with
God begins. He speaks to you through His Word, and you speak with Him
in prayer. Read your Bible… ? Slowly. Don’t be in a hurry; don’t try to read too large an amount;
don’t race through it. ? Repeatedly. Read a passage over and over until you start to picture it
in your mind. One reason people don’t get more out of their Bible
reading is that they do not read the Scriptures repeatedly.
? Without stopping. Don’t stop in the middle of a sentence to go off on
a tangent and do a doctrinal study. Just read that section for the pure joy
of it, allowing God to speak to you. Remember that your goal here is
not to gain information, but to feed on the Word and get to know Christ
? Aloud but quietly. Reading it aloud will improve your concentration if
you have that problem. It will also help you understand what you are
reading better because you will be both seeing and hearing what you
are reading. Read softly enough, however, so that you won’t disturb
? Systematically. Read through a book at a time in an orderly method.
Do not use the “random dip” method—a passage here, a chapter there,
what you like here, an interesting portion there. You’ll understand the
Bible better if you read it as it was written—a book or letter at a time.
(Reading guides are available on the Information Table and at the
church office to help you read the Bible in a balanced, systematic way.)
4. Meditate and memorize (Reflect and Remember). In order to have the
Bible speak to you meaningfully, you should meditate on what you are
reading and memorize verses that particularly speak to you. Meditation is
“seriously contemplating a thought over and over in your mind.” Out of
your meditation you might select and memorize a verse that is particularly
meaningful to you.
5. Write down what God has shown you (Record). When God speaks to you
through His Word, record what you have discovered. Writing it down will
enable you to both remember what God revealed to you and review your
Biblical discoveries at a later date. Recording what God has shown you is a
way of applying what you see in the Scriptures that pertains to your life.
6. Have time of prayer (Request). After God has spoken to you through His
Word, speak to Him in prayer. This is your part of the conversation with the
What if you miss a day? Don’t worry about it if it happens occasionally. Don’t
go on a guilt trip. “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to
Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). Don’t get legalistic, because missing one day does not make it flop. Just don’t give up! If you miss a meal, it does not mean that you should give up eating because you’re inconsistent. You simply eat a little more at the next meal and go on from there. The same principle is true with your
time with God.
Psychologists tell us that it usually takes three weeks to get familiar with some
new task or habit; it takes another three weeks before it truly becomes a habit.
The reason why many people are not successful in the times with God is because
they have never made it past that six-week barrier. For your quiet time to
become a habit, you must have had one daily for at least six-weeks.
William James had a famous formula for developing a habit:
1. Make a strong resolution (Vow). You must always start with a strong
decision. If you begin halfheartedly, you’ll never make it. Make a public
declaration by telling others about your decision.
2. Never allow an exception to occur till the new habit is securely rooted
in your life. A habit is like a ball of twine. Every time you rip it, many
strands are unwound. So never allow the “just this once” to occur. The act
of yielding weakens the will and reinforces the lack of self-control.
3. Seize every opportunity and inclination to practice your new habit.
Whenever you get the slightest urge to practice your new habit, do it right
then. Don’t wait; use every opportunity to reinforce your habit. It does not
hurt to overdo a new habit when you are first starting.
And added to this formula, there is one more ingredient for the Christian seeking
to begin the habit of spending time with God daily…
4. Rely on the power of God. When it is all said and done, you must realize
that you are in a spiritual battle, and you can only succeed by the power of
the Holy Sprit of God. So pray that God will strengthen you, and depend on
Him to help you develop this habit for His glory.
If you have been convinced that this is what you need to do, would you pray the
A PRAYER OF COMMITMENT
“Lord I commit myself to spending a definite time with You every day, no
matter what the cost. I am depending on Your strength to help me to be
P.O. Box 22073 Charlottetown, PE C1A 9J2 Meeting Sundays at 10:30 a.m. at 582 North River Road
902.626.3343 information@SunriseOnline.ca www.SunriseOnline.ca All Scripture verses taken from the New Living Translation (NLT). You can obtain a copy of your own from your local Christian bookstore or by calling the church office.