Quiet Time

Quiet Time is a ‘must’ among the evangelicals; you take a set period of time on a daily basis to read the bible and pray. Other protestant denominations are more used to praying before and after every meal, reading from scriptures after dinner and pray before bedtime. I also call this Quiet Time.

I grew up with praying and reading the bible after dinner and I maintained this for quite a while in my own family. At a certain moment I started rethinking the importance of this custom and if I should really keep my foot down to read a bible passage after dinner. For me the transfer of faith on these moments is the most important. To talk with my children about the bible and about God. But when the little ones are whining they want to play and the teenagers are no longer very interested, the transfer of faith isn’t going to happen, so we stopped. We talked about faith at random occasions, just whenever it suited. It is normal for us to involve God or faith in a conversation because the foundation was laid at an early age.

Just reading the bible after dinner when I was a child only brought me the habit. I heard the words, often knew the story, but it didn’t do anything to me. I just took notice of it.

This I hear from more people, also when they read the bible for themselves. It is a flow of words that sounds familiar, but what you have to do with it remains a mystery. A few minutes of bible reading after dinner is doable, but reading yourself every day for a certain period of time and not really understand what you read, that you won’t be able to continue for a very long time.

There are people who ‘eat’ their bible, that think it is a wonderful book, who almost can’t stop reading it. And there you are, failing big time because you don’t think the word of God is that inspiring. So when the conversation turns to Quiet Time, you agree that it is hard to make a habit out of it and that it is hard to focus, but you remain silence about the fact you actually don’t understand a lot of the bible and that it doesn’t speak to you.

The same goes for prayer. Prescribed prayers like the Lord’s prayer will help you pray, but they can also be said without thinking. Praying yourself isn’t easy. What do you talk about for half an hour? A lot of people don’t even talk that long to their partner every day, and they talk back. Some people found a solution in prayer lists with all kinds of people and situations they pray for on a daily basis. Others pray the Psalms or bible verses. It isn’t wrong, but I think to myself, what was the purpose of Quiet Time again?

For me the purpose is meeting God. God is my Father so I want to tell Him things and I want to hear things from Him and sometimes I just want to be with Him. I don’t have to earn points, I don’t need to be quiet and focussed for 15 minutes before he reveals Himself, I don’t need a ritual of worship, forgiveness, etc. before I can be with Him. I just walk in on Him every moment of the day in every circumstance. It doesn’t need to be a special moment or a special place because God’s presence sanctifies every moment and every place.

I find God in the bible, but mainly outside of it. In story’s of other people, in books and films. That doesn’t necessarily have to be Christian books or films, God doesn’t have to be a part of it, but it is in associations and impressions I see God and sometimes in answers on questions I have.

You can also find God this way in music, dance, art and of course in nature. In the boundless creativity and the beauty of form and movement, but also in the complaint of the misuse of it.

You can find God this way in knowledge and science and the achievement of the human intellect. How wonderful we are made, almost divine. We are capable of so very much, but at the same time are so very limited.

God is omnipresent, you can find Him everywhere. Not only because He is Spirit and lives in us, but also because everything bears a stamp of Him, the creator.

If the bible doesn’t speak to you and your prayers are going only one way, then start to search for God in the people and things around you. Talk with people about who God is to them. Go search in sermons, You Tube video’s, books. Learn more about God this way. At a certain moment you discover a facet of God that clicks with what you are looking for and a way of communication that suites you.

(Keep in mind you are looking for the God of the bible, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the Father, Son and Spirit, and don’t end up with an other God)

From there your relationship can grow and you will be able to discover more facets of God. And the more facets of God you learn to know, the better you will understand Him en maybe one day the bible will become a good book that makes sense to you, because you know the Author.