Here are nine additional responses to our question: How do you spend time with God? (We had so many good responses we just didn’t have room for all of them in the magazine!)
Again, to all who wrote we say thank you. You encourage all of us to take more seriously our time with God.
I do not have a set time but I do have a place for my devotions: a table in my quiet room. I use several different Bibles and my church’s birthday calendar. I send a card to each adult name on the list every month. I include a Bible verse that I have selected and I offer a silent prayer. This is my way of trying to remember the names that go with the faces that I see each Sunday.
—Marilyn S. Crouch
I do my daily prayer and Bible reading in the morning, shortly after getting up, typically before breakfast and shower.
For Bible reading, my favorite plan is the four-passage-per-day plan published in The Lookout each year. I typically read two readings per day, so I probably only end up averaging once through the Bible every two years or so. I have a copy synced to my Palm PDA that I use when I travel.
I almost always have a laptop available with Internet access, so I typically use the BibleGateway.com Web site (bible.gospelcom.net/passage/) for my daily reading, with English Standard Version, Holman Christian Standard Bible, and New King James Version side-by-side for ready comparison of selected passages between versions.
If I run into a thorny passage that I have trouble understanding, I start up a copy of the excellent downloadable freeware e-Sword Bible study software (www.e-sword.net/) and read one or more of the available commentaries on this passage.
I read the One Year Bible online. There are several places to access it on the Internet, but I go to www.gnpcb.org/esv/devotions/one.year.bible/.
This site happens to be in the English Standard Version. I get to work before anyone else and read the daily portion. Then I write a little devotional based upon that day’s reading and e-mail it to my 18-year-old daughter, Katie, and copy some of her friends.
I have a five-subject notebook in which I record my prayers:
(1) Thanks and praise.
(2) Confession of sins for the past 24 hours.
(3) Ministries. Using a world map from www.ehc.org, I pray for eight or nine nations and their leaders. In one month I have prayed for every nation on earth.
(4) Long-term requests. Part of this is praying for my husband using the topics in The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian.
(5) Urgent, timely requests. I pray for each family in my church on a rotating basis—about 11 families per day.
—Name withheld by request
I try to read from the Scriptures every day. I usually follow a reading plan that I designed myself. My reading plan is based on five days of reading a week, which allows for two days to make up for days missed or to reread passages from the week. I find it less frustrating.
I read my Bible with a notebook next to me. In the notebook I jot down any interesting insights. These insights don’t have to be earth-shattering. I will write thoughts, copy verses, or jot down questions.
I use the prayer that Jesus taught his disciples as a model for my times of prayer.
1. Praise (“Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be your name”)
2. Inviting God’s kingdom to come (“Your kingdom come”)
3. Submission (“Your will be done”)
4. Daily requests (“Give us today our daily bread”)
5. Forgiveness (“Forgive us our debts as we have also forgiven our debtors”)
6. Guidance (“Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from the evil one”).
I have my time with the Lord early every morning with few exceptions.
I have used the Bible Pathways monthly booklets for a number of years. It allows me to read through the Old Testament once and the New Testament twice in a year. The commentary is excellent. Daily listed prayers are for a different country which lists the percentages of the major religions in that country. The president, vice president, Congress members, governors, and Supreme Court members are listed on their birthdays for prayer. I also read a daily devotional with space to do journaling. Most often I use the ACTS acrostic for prayer time. A-adoration, C-confession, T-thanksgiving, S-supplication, and add an additional S for surrender.
Eastpointe Christian Church senior minister Brian Leonard has begun a program called “The Pro 71 Club.” It references Proverbs 7:1, which says, “My son, keep my words and store up my commands within you.”
The challenge is this: for 71 days, a person in the “club” is asked to:
—make this one commitment
—find one partner (a group of three is also acceptable)
—read one chapter of the Bible
—write down one thought (or question)
—write out one verse (to aid memory)
—pray for one thing
—make one contact per day (via e-mail or phone).
Every day, each pair/trio reads the same chapter of the Bible, writes down one thought or question about the reading, writes out one verse from the reading, and writes down one prayer thought (request or praise). Then they e-mail (or call) each other with this information. It helps to keep each other accountable, and it takes only about five minutes a day. We’ve been doing this for several weeks now, and those involved have really enjoyed it. For many, it may continue beyond 71 days . . . we started with that number simply so people wouldn’t feel like it was too big of a commitment.
I try to read through the Bible in a different way every year. This year I have been reading The Daily Bible NIV with commentary by F. LaGard Smith (Harvest House Publishers). This Bible presents the Scriptures in chronological order. Last year, I kept a notebook and summarized major points as I read. I go back to that from time to time. I believe reading different versions or taking a different approach is very rewarding and refreshing.
Corpus Christi, Texas
My daily quiet times are in early mornings or late evening, depending on my teaching schedule. I like to follow the “Three R’s”—retreat to get quiet before the Lord and invite him to join me; read for Bible reading, Scripture memorization, and following a daily devotional guide such as Henry Blackaby’s, Anne Graham Lotz’s, or Oswald Chambers’s; then reflect through prayer and journaling. I try to follow the ACTS formula for praying at this time. I color-code the dates in my journal, using black or blue for the date written and red for the date answered. (I have had to go back as far as 10 years to write in a red date!) I find this a graphic and encouraging record of God’s faithfulness! I like to finish my quiet time with a hymn or praise chorus. I often find it stays with me throughout the day.