You must be UNdistracted – It is impossible to genuinely seek God, while doing anything else. Don’t get me wrong, you must also develop the habit of praying as you go. But if that is all you do – you really aren’t pursuing God at all. Learn to set EVERYTHING aside to read God’s word and pray. Get away from the kids, the cell phone, email, task list and simply seek the face, the will and the wisdom of God. Some of us have reduced our time with God to a “drive time” devotional. Those aren’t bad, but they aren’t sufficient either. Create a time and place to ONLY seek God.
You must be UNhurried – Henry Blackaby once told a group of Christian business men that the most important discipline they should develop was that of an unhurried quite time, I couldn’t agree more. Heart surgery takes time. Don’t expect to accomplish much spiritual progress in 15 minutes. Our Lord rose early and stayed up late to seek the face of the Father . Was He simply inefficient or is there something to be gained from lingering long in prayer and study of the Word?
Do not be UNprepared –Random attempts to pick a passage, understand and apply it may be the biggest enemy to an effective quite time. John MacArthur was once asked if he had a “devotional time” separate from his study time. He replied, “If by that you mean, do I read the bible without attempting to understand and apply it – no”. It is dangerous to read God’s word out of context, attempting to draw deep spiritual applications without any clue as to the author’s intent. Let me encourage to do a few things:
Work through books of the bible in your daily time with the Lord. For years I have included the Proverbs in my quite time. There are 31 proverbs, thus it is easy to keep track of which you should work through on any particular day.
Acquaint yourself with the human author, his audience, the type of literature, the immediate context in which he was writing and the audience was reading. This can typically be discovered from a good study bible at the beginning of the particular book of the bible.
Take advantage of good commentaries or study bible to help you make sense of the passage.
Take notes. I use the APP provided on ESVBIBLE.COM to record thoughts, ideas, and plans for application.
Teach others – it is good to share what you have learned from God’s word with others. This encourages them to get in the word and it reinforces the truth in your heart.
Meditate on the truth you have learned throughout the day.