I love my early morning quiet times with God: we meet in my favorite chair, coffee in hand and my Bible hugged close in my lap. Delighting in my first full breaths of the day, I ask God for open eyes, heart and mind, desiring a glimpse of Him in the pages in my lap. Yet some days, I end my time feeling disappointed: have you ever felt disappointed in your quiet time? Recently returning to an old practice, I embraced 4 steps to a renewed quiet time.
Welcome to Mindfulness Monday! Where we learn some easy ways to be more present “in the moment” at our jobs, in our homes, with our families and friends.
Learning to recognize God and what He has for us in each divine moment He offers. We acknowledge the belief that God is with us always.
We confess His presence is available to us, lifting our spirit and helping us with power and grace. Learning the art of “stillness” so we can hear His voice and view ourselves, others and our surroundings through His eyes.
quiet time fatigue
Meeting with the Lord daily for decades yields abundant spiritual treasures: but decades of doing anything daily, also predictably yields desert seasons. Seasons of searching for refreshing springs, but finding only parched remnants.
Varying my quiet time activities and approach over the years aided in maintaining a robust time of intimacy with Christ. Journaling, devotional guides, breathing through the psalms, devotion time outdoors and reading scripture aloud, combined efforts in seeking steps to a renewed quiet time.
Yet recently my quiet times left me weary from searching, finding little in the way of the sustenance for which I longed. Taking a step back, I turned to an old friend who enriched my quiet times almost immediately.
stepping into renewal
Pursuing the steps to a renewed quiet time for me involved first admitting defeat. Accepting the dryness of my quiet times opened my eyes to pride lurking in my heart. In my own presumptuous way, I sat arms folded, expecting God to meet me on my terms.
To my shame, I accused God of refusing connection, believing my quiet time practices merited His participation. Cringing even now as I review my attitudes during my desert journey, my error looms large before me.
quiet time heart check
As with any relationship, we easily become peevish when our expectations go unmet. At times we feel this way towards God; a discerning heart attitude check confirmed this for me. But at other times, dry quiet times result from simply getting stuck in a boring routine rendering us mindless in our pursuit of God.
Spending time reflecting on God’s good purpose for a daily time of communion with Him, reminded me it furthered the nurturing of my intimate relationship with the Lover of my soul. Resulting in my increased knowledge and understanding of Him, not my garnishment of empty knowledge used for impressing others. (Jeremiah 9:23-24)
But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord.Jeremiah 9:24
renewing my quiet time with an old acquaintance
God’s desires deeper fellowship with us; (1 Corinthians 1:9) He created us for fellowship and even though He seemed distant, I was the one moving in the opposite direction. Despite my lukewarm efforts and pride filled heart, He led me in the steps to a renewed quiet time.
Bringing an old practice to mind, He wooed me back to Him with lovingkindess through the Lectio Divina. For those of you unfamiliar with this practice, the “Divine Reading” is an ancient monastic practice of immersing oneself in the scriptures in a more personal and intentional way.
This process of feasting on the Word moves through four steps of taking a bite, chewing slowly, savoring and finally swallowing and ingesting all it has for you. The Lectio Divina offers a powerful method for meeting God in His Word in an initimate way, by uniquely revealing the scriptures to you on a more personal level.
4 steps to a renewed quiet time
The Lectio Divina is essentially a mindfulness practice of staying present with the Word of God in the Presence of God.
How often I come to the end of a page or chapter in my Bible reading and realize I remember little of what I previously read. The Lectio Divina provides an interactive method for engaging with the scripture.
As with all of the mindfulness exercises I share with you, I recommend a time of preparation before beginning the steps of the Lectio Divina. Ensure a quiet, uninterrupted space and spend five minutes in mindful deep breathing: exhale twice as long as you inhale. For example inhale for a count of four, exhale for a count of eight.
Begin with a prayer of invitation and consecration: “O Lord, please reveal yourself to me in the scriptures today, open my mind and heart that I may receive all you have for me in this passage today.”
Plan roughly thirty minutes to complete the Lectio Divina practice. Choose a shorter passage of scripture no more than six to eight verses. Sit quietly in God’s Presence, then begin by reading the passage slowly and prayerfully. I like reading out loud. Notice any words or phrases God brings to your attention.
At times, a particular word stands out, for example the word “forbearing” stood out in Colossians 3:12-17, while the phrase “Be not wise in thine own eyes” stood out in (Proverbs 3:5-8). Simply notice what stands out to you without forcing anything.
Read the passage again, this time prayerfully ask God to reveal what He has for you in the passage in light of the word or phrase He impressed upon your heart. Avoid slipping into “study and analyzation”; listen to God and what He relates, ask him for clear focus.
Read the passage a third time, savoring what God revealed to you. Prayerfully respond through journaling or simple prayer conversation. I especially prefer journaling here, because even though in the moment I grasp what God spoke, with time my mind loses all of the nuance I found the first day.
The final reading moves into contemplative rest in God’s Presence. After completing the reading, shift into the deep mindful breathing with which you began the practice. Spend five to ten minutes in quiet stillness before God: this is not a time for prayer, but a time of rest, communion and connection. With each inhale receive His peace, with each exhale return gratitude.
quiet times of refreshing
Far from an end in itself, or another devotional practice added to your bag of tricks, the Lectio Divina provides a powerful medium with which we hear individually from God within His Word guided by the Holy Spirit.
Whether you seek steps to a renewed quiet time with God because of weariness in your attempts at being the perfect Christian, keeping up with expectations or a heart not solely after God, the Lectio Divina offers quiet times of refreshing intimate moments with your Savior.
free lectio divina resource
I compiled a FREE downlable sheet with all of the steps of the Lectio Divina along with some of my favorite scripture passages as a helpful resource for beginning the Lectio Divina practice. If you are a member of my Serenity in Suffering Compassionate Community head over to the Resource Library and download your copy today!
If you are not a member of my community, sign up below and you will not only receive access to the Lectio Divina FREE resource, but my new Attitudes of Rest Guide, and all of the fabulous resources in my library! In addition, you will enjoy weekly encouragement, special opportunities and new free resources especially for my community members.