But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. (Matthew 6:6)
Yes. This. Everything about the above verse makes me want to type in all the praise hand emojis. Because quiet, alone, unseen, rewards, secret … all these words tug at my busy-mom-of-three emotions.
Then … reality hits.
Mark 1:35-37 is more my reality …
Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!”
“Everyone is looking for you!”
Is this your life too? I assume I’m not the only one who gets up and goes to a solitary place to pray, only to be followed by little people. *wink*
Even if I wake earlier than usual, odds are one of the children will wake up and interrupt me. They will need breakfast or help going potty or help finding their favorite shirt or something. That’s how it is. This is my reality in this season.
So yes, many of us have very, very little time to ourselves right now.
I’ve included below a few captured “quiet times” of my own so you can see what I’m talking about.
I used to think because of this lack of privacy and silence, my quiet time wasn’t meaningful or productive, so often I’d grow frustrated and even resentful for not getting “ideal” time with God.
But I’ve learned – am learning – that God can and will use my not-so-quiet moments to grow my knowledge and relationship with Him.
No matter how hard I try, some days my “quiet” times are going to be filled with doll babies, nursing real babies and feeding eggos to older babies. All with Peppa Pig blasting through speakers.
But I know God is with me wherever I am, whatever I’m doing and no matter who is around me.
While I still crave and love the literal “quiet” times I get with Jesus, I’m learning to roll with it and recognize not every moment with God has to be perfect and serene, with all the spiritual type of feels. Because REAL LIFE, friends.
So how do you have a productive quiet time in a not-so-quiet scenario?
Here 4 things that help me have meaningful Not-So-Quiet Time.
Keep Him handy.
This is number one for me. Keeping scripture quotes, bibles, devotionals, even prayer prompts handy is great for when I do find a few silent moments throughout the day. If His Word is right there, it’s easy to take advantage of the time that does pop up.
I keep my phone close by me almost all day long (I know, I have a problem), so it’s easy to hop on a Bible app (YouVersion and the First 5 app are great for quick and short reading) or listen to an audio Bible.
Okay, so we’re going to devote time to God, but we don’t know how it’s going to turn out, if we’ll be interrupted or sidetracked.
Pick a bible reading plan to follow or a book that studies the Bible. When I wake up, I know which book I’m going to grab (right now I’m finishing up Wendy Blight’s I Know His Name: Discovering Power in the Names of God) and get through what I can. If I have to stop in the middle, I have to stop in the middle. I don’t waste time flipping through the Bible, wondering “where should I start?”
Plan to not follow the plan.
Let’s be real. It isn’t always going to play out how we imagine it. So if you are currently trying to read through a bible study book, and you’ve been unable to sit down that day to read it, you’re going to have to engage a new tactic for the day. Sometimes, I will go back to the First 5 app or something similar, where there is a ready-made and short devotional quickly available that I am not currently following.
[re]THINK – Reflect on what you learned or read in your last quiet time. Re-ask some questions to yourself about the subject and ask yourself what stands out most to you about it, that applies to you most personally.
A good strategy here is memorizing scripture, as well. Take a scripture verse and meditate on it all day, write it down in an email to yourself, chant it over and over, write it on sticky notes posted all over your house, or whatever you need to do to keep thinking about God’s Word.
Here, the goal is to re-engage your brain to meditate on scripture or what God is telling you.
[re]PRAY – Pray a prayer familiar to you. Maybe you re-pray what you prayed about yesterday, because it’s still relevant. Or you pray the Lord’s Prayer. Maybe you speak to God through a Psalm of Thanksgiving or Psalm 23, both effective and familiar to many.
The goal is simply to speak to God. Speak to him while you drive, while you shower, while you climb each stair in your home. But to simplify it and keep persistency, pray what you’ve heard or prayed before.
Be persistent in prayer, and keep alert as you pray, giving thanks to God. (Colossians 4:2)
Do it out loud.
Okay, so you’ve woken up early, settled in for some QT with Jesus, and your little one sneaks downstairs.
This is often an “UGH” moment for me. But I have to force myself to remember it doesn’t have to be, nor does it for you.
We can pull them up next to us and read out loud, pray out loud, or explain to them what God is teaching us. Remember in Mark 1:35-27 when Simon exclaimed to Jesus during His quiet time, “everyone is looking for you”?
Well, do you also remember how Jesus responded?
“Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.” So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons. (Mark 1:38-39, emphasis mine)
Let’s take a page out of Jesus’ book, and when people are looking for us, let’s teach them and pray for and with them. He reminds me our people should be inclusions, not interruptions. Because this is why we are here.
So there you have it. These are some of my tricks for meeting with Jesus during a non-quiet or restful season of life.
I’d love to hear your tips and tricks for connecting with Jesus during your Not-So-Quiet Time. Post them up so we can all learn from each other.