Is your quiet time quiet? We often refer to the time we spend with God as our quiet time, but the last thing we want our quiet time to be is quiet. We need our surroundings to be quiet so we can hear from God, but we do not want God to be silent. Think about your quiet time:
Some people think it is unusual to hear from God. From where does this idea come? It does not come from God. The Bible does not teach that it is hard to hear from God or to figure out what He is saying. The pattern of God’s Word is that He spoke to His followers. When He spoke, they knew it was Him speaking, understood what He said, and knew how they were to respond. Think about some of the people God spoke to in the Bible: Adam, Abraham, Moses, Elijah, John, and Paul. If you made a list, it is likely that it would consist mostly of OId Testament individuals. Yet, they lived during the time before believers were indwelt by the Holy Spirit. If God spoke so clearly to Old Testament believers, shouldn’t you expect Him to speak clearly to you seeing that His Holy Spirit lives in you? In John 14:16, Jesus told His followers that He would send them another Helper (the Holy Spirit) and this Helper would dwell in them forever. John 14:26 says the Holy Spirit will “teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I (Jesus) said to you.” How can the Holy Spirit teach you and remind you if He does not speak to you? Eagerly expect God to speak to you. He loves you and wants to communicate with you. If you struggle to believe this, ask God to help you know Him as the God who speaks. Ask Him to teach you to listen and recognize His voice. Make learning to hear and respond to His voice your most earnest prayer in 2019. Jesus said “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them and they follow Me” (John 10:27). If you are His sheep, you should hear His voice. There are 2 primary ways to listen for God’s voice: prayer and Bible study. Prayer is conversation with God in which you both talk to and hear from God. Begin your prayer time with confession to cleanse the pathway between you and God. Psalm 66:18 says, “If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.” Rejecting all known sin through confession prepares your heart to hear from Him. Also ask God how you have sinned. By doing so, you show that you want to be completely pleasing to God and are willing to confess and reject any way you fail Him. Next, spend time praising God. Praise is a way of inviting Him to be with you. Psalm 22:3 says God “inhabits the praises of Israel.” The Hebrew word inhabits means to sit down, to dwell, or to remain (Strong’s H3427). When you praise God, it is like you are inviting Him to come in, sit down, and spend some time with you. When you are praying, imagine Jesus standing before you. Picture Him in His earthly body standing right in front of you. Imagine the expressions of His face as you talk with Him. If this seems irreverent to you, picture Him in His heavenly form as revealed in Revelation 1:16, Isaiah 6:1-4, Revelation 19:11-16, Ezekiel 1:26-28, or Daniel 7:9-10. Finally, no prayer is complete without listening for God to speak. Early in my marriage I wondered why my husband didn’t talk to me that much. Then I realized that I was always talking. Could the same be true of us and God? Do we spend so much time talking that we forget to listen?
Part of listening for God to speak involves reading and studying His Word. God has spoken to us with 2 testaments, 66 books, 1189 chapters, and over 31,100 verses. If you do not value what He has already said enough to read it, how can you expect Him to speak in other ways? The most prominent way God speak to His follower today is through His Word. Read it expecting to hear His voice. When you begin your Bible reading, pray Psalm 119:18. “Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law.” Ask God questions as you read. Ask Him to tell you specifically how you are to respond. He will speak. When He does, write what He says in a journal so that you will remember what He says. Review what He has said on a regular basis. Often, you will see a pattern emerge. Make sure to respond by completing any instructions He has given. One important way to hear what God is saying through His word is through memorization and meditation.  These are probably the most neglected areas of quiet time. The Bible emphasizes their importance. “Thy Word I have hidden in my heart that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11). “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it” (Joshua 1:8a). God tells us to memorize or hide His Word in our hearts and to meditate on it daily. We memorize the Word so that the Holy Spirit can speak to us from it at any time. We meditate on it to conform our thoughts, attitudes, and actions to it. Try memorizing 1 verse per week. That would be 52 new verses this year! If that’s too hard, try to learn one per month. That is still 12 verses more than you knew last year. Train yourself to meditate on the Word. Think about what the verse saying. What is God trying to teach you? How does He want you to apply it to your life? When you learn to hide God’s word in your hearts and meditate on what He is saying through it, you are learning to hear His voice. As you apply them, you will “make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success” (Joshua 1:8b). All Scriptures are NKJV © by Karen Griffin 2019