“We must remember that God will never drag us along the path of true-hearted discipleship. This would greatly lack the moral excellency which characterizes all the ways of God. He does not drag, but draws us along the path which leads to ineffable blessedness in Himself; and if we do see that it is for our real advantage to break through all the barriers of nature, in order to respond to Gods’ call, we forsake our own mercies. But alas! Our hearts little enter into this. We begin to calculate about the sacrifices, the hindrances, and the difficulties, instead of bounding along the path, in eagerness of soul, as knowing and loving the One whose call has sounded in our ears” (C H Macintosh).
Having consistent times of private worship can be challenging in our fast passed, distracting world. Yet, the reward we get from spending time with the Father is well worth overcoming any obstacles. As an encouragement and challenge to make this a high priority in your life, here are some suggestions from my routine,
1) Find a time the works - Blocking out a time on calendar is essential. It needs to be a time where you are alert and not overly distracted. Though David rose early in the morning, that doesn’t mean you need too. Remember, he started his career as a shepherd, so he lived by the rising and the setting of the sun.
2) Find a place that works – You need a place where you can be alone, and where distractions are kept to minimal. Starbucks is not that place! I do my best study in places where there is a lot going on around me, but it is a horrible place for a personal worship! Getting beyond the distractions, I am not sure it would go over well if I started to sing, pace, or lay on the floor to pray! You get my point!
3) “Be Still and Know that I AM God.” – Take time to quiet your heart and mind. Ask God to help you lay aside the many distractions and give you focus. Confess any sins that are tugging at your heart. Turn the sound off on your phone, I-Pad and computer, so you don’t hear texts or e-mails when they come in. If you remember something important that needs to be done, make a record of it and let it be.
4) Read Devotionally – This is not the time for academic study of Scripture. Until you are fluent in Greek or Hebrew, just use your favorite translation. Read slow and reflectively. When your mind wanders, stop, go back and read again. Let it sink in. My pattern for Scripture reading for the last twenty years is that I read through the Psalms and Proverbs every month and then work through the rest of Scripture at a rate of 2 to 5 chapters a day. .If you prefer using a devotional book along with the Bible in your quiet time, I recommend Spurgeon's Morning and Evening.
5) Reflect – Once you are done reading, take time to reflect on what you have read. Let the verses sink deep and be a means of grace for you. Remember, don’t rush through this!
6) Pray – There is no magical formula for a fruitful prayer life… it is hard work! I like to prayer through the Lord’s Prayer as it keeps balance to my prayer life. When I pray through the Lord’s Prayer, at “Our Father” I start with a season of praise and thanksgiving. In addition, I make it a point to not skim through “forgive us our sins.” Confessing to God what He already knows, and basking in His grace is always refreshing. I have also made it a habit to be sure to pray both morning and evening.