On Day 11, I am thankful for my daily Bible study.
Mr. Right and my in-laws gave me this gorgeous chaise lounge for my birthday last year, and it has become my very favorite Bible study spot in the mornings. Imagine me sitting on this, curled up in a blanket sipping my first cup of coffee of the day, with my Bible open and my pen ready. This is my spot.
For the record, I don’t particularly like the term quiet time. It sounds a lot like time out. I guess I can just call it my daily Bible study, but even that sounds so academic. It’s my time to curl up with my savior, to pour out my heart and to fill my mind with truth so it can weed out all the gunk and insecurities that have crept in from the day before. Maybe I could call it my Mornings With Jesus? It sounds so much more brighter.
Right out of college I was mentored by a Sunday school teacher, and one of the first things I asked her was, “What does your daily Bible study time look like?” I asked everybody I looked up to, because I wondered what “magic” thing they did that made them crave their Bible. I learned that there’s no magic way, and that everybody’s looks a little different.
In case you’re wondering, here’s what I do… for now. It changes occasionally. For instance, before I got married, I used to do my Bible study in the quiet of the evening, before I went to bed. Or, if I knew I would have a conflict, I’d do it on my lunch break at work, or after work, but before I left the office. But when I got married, my schedule was turned upside down and I had trouble juggling time with my husband, my workout, housecleaning, grocery shopping, time for projects I want to do, hanging out with friends… and my Bible study.
And so with the encouragement from Mr. Right, I moved to the early morning Bible study, because then I never have a conflict (except for two morning meetings a month). My alarm now goes off at 5:30 a.m. (gulp) and I’m out of bed with coffee made by 5:45. I curl up in my reading nook and start with a short prayer, and then I read a daily devotional from Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest – this is new, I just started that part last week. It’s a quick one-page read, and then I start on whatever I want to study in my Bible.
I find that I need to have a plan before I start – otherwise I tend to fumble along and lose motivation. I’m easily distracted, so having a plan works for me – it’s not for everybody. For the past few months I used a workbook on the life of Paul by Beth Moore to guide my daily devotional. Now that I’m finished, I am working my way chronologically through the New Testament with this guide. (You can even sign up for a daily email update with the day’s reading–let technology work for you.)
After I do the day’s reading (sometimes I do two days’ worth if it’s short) then I do a longer time of prayer. I keep a prayer journal where I write down all the things I want to pray for, and that helps me keep a record. It’s so encouraging to look back on what I’ve been praying for and see all the places God has answered my prayers. I also write things I learned in my daily reading, including verses I want to memorize or things I want to study further. I have a whole slew of old journals that are so sweet to look back on.
Girlfriend, learn from my mistake: I keep a separate prayer journal for home and I do NOT take it with me to church. Because sometimes I write very personal prayers in my journal, and one time I lost my journal at church. I won’t lie, I almost peed in my pants. More so, because my husband works at the church and I was terrified a coworker might find it and read through it. That’s a mistake you don’t make twice.
How long does all this take? About 45 minutes to an hour. There’s no magic time limit, but it’s what seems to be working for me… for now. Let me encourage you that I am NOT an early morning person and that for the first few weeks it was tough to focus when I wasn’t all the way awake. But like anything, you get used to it, and now I’ve come to look forward to those early morning times of peace before the chaos of life starts raining down.
So that’s my way of doing things. Not the only way, but if you’re trying to get motivated to start reading the Bible every day, maybe it can be a jumping off point for you. And, if you have another way of doing things, I would love to hear from you – I am always up for new ideas.
“Sanctify them with truth; your Word is truth.” -John 17:17