Maybe your quiet time with God is exactly as you like (yay!), but if you could use a little boost before this new year rolls out, this post is for you.
To be clear, God and His Word never need a boost. The fact that we’re invited to meet with the same God who created man from dust, split open the Red Sea, and wrote words on a tablet with His finger out of love for His people, still stuns me to this day.
Many of us, however, sometimes require a boost. Human nature, changes in the schedule, health issues, and other circumstances can discourage and deflate us. And if we’re not careful, this discouragement can lead to avoidance thanks to the nagging whisper that says if you can’t do your quiet time “right” today, wait until you can. The first idea for boosting our quiet time below is fine-tuned for those kinds of days. After all, the word “boost” means to push upward and to encourage. So, onward and upward we go!
1. Focus on pivoting, not planning.
This general but oh-so-timely advice to focus on learning to pivot instead of planning came from Kendra Adachi, The Lazy Genius. It was a game-changer for this planner at heart. After all, lists are my love language. Most nights I plan out my next day…down to the hour. (Vertical calendar to the rescue!) It’s weird, I know, but structure is my friend. Having said that, my plans rarely all fall into place but doing so helps me use my time as wisely as possible. Even that, though, can be a trap if I’m not careful. And it’s probably why Kendra’s advice stopped me in my tracks.
Adopting the pivoting mindset is Biblical (holding everything loosely and remaining alert and willing to help others at a moment’s notice). It also boosts my quiet time with God by reminding me, especially on those mornings when we don’t meet, that all is not lost. Our time, instead, pivots because God is not limited by time or space, or anything else. Embracing this truth frees us from the self-inflicted guilt that can leave us spiritually paralyzed.
2. Take Meditation for a Walk
A quiet time with God is our life source because of two main components: prayer and reading God’s living and active Word (Hebrews 4:12). Adding time for meditating on the Word provides time for the Word to settle deeply in the soul like the snow that slowly absorbs into the ground. This can be done in a number of ways and one of those is to take a walk after our quiet time.
While reading scripture, pay attention to a word, verse, or verses you sense God is “highlighting” and jot it down on an index card or small piece of paper. Tuck it in your jacket, put on your walking shoes, and head outdoors (or if you’re like me, your indoor treadmill). There’s no right or wrong way, but here’s something I’ve tried:
Begin by acknowledging who God is — His characteristics, thanking Him for what comes to mind.
Read the word, verse, or verses you wrote down aloud.
Ask God what He wants to teach you through them as you continue walking, while also observing your surroundings.
Consider each word written down, one at a time, for a period of time.
Read the word, verse, or verses aloud again, asking God how to apply His truth.
Finish the walk thanking God for His Word and whatever else the Holy Spirit leads you to pray.
Keep the piece of paper with you throughout the day, speaking, reading, and praying over God’s words, blanketing the beauty of God’s Word over your soul.
If singing isn’t currently a part of your quiet time with God, it’s worth a try. Maybe it’s an entire song, or perhaps only a line or two. Whatever bubbles up from your soul before, during, and/or after, is a beautiful sacrifice to the One who sings over us. Zechariah 3:17 says, “The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.”
If a song doesn’t come to mind, make a quiet time playlist to sing along with, or lend your own melody to a psalm.
Changing up the scenery of our quiet time with God from time to time is good for the soul.
What about a local cafe? If yours isn’t quiet, pack the earbuds and read the Word on your phone. A nice addition is reading the daily devotion from the Dawn app. Throw in something to take notes, confident God has something to say during your time together.
Pack a picnic and head to a park where you feel safe to sit alone. It can be as simple as packing a canteen, fruit, and crackers. Follow the same steps as mentioned in the walk.
In your car. Pour a cup of coffee and head to a favorite spot in town. Maybe it’s a beautiful mountain range, or the perfect setting to see the sun climb or set.
In a garden. Depending on where you live, it might be difficult to find anything in bloom but even a sleeping garden can remind us of the life that brims just below the surface.
Hear me out on this one. A graveyard. My article on Christianity.com, “What Does the Bible Say about Visiting Graveyards” continues to hit top lists and was recently included in the “All-Time Questions Christians Asked in 2022” for a reason.
5. Invite a Friend to Join You
This is something I plan to try this year. Inviting another sister in Christ to join in a quiet time with God can’t help but give us both a spiritual boost. Hebrews 10:24 says, “Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds…”, and we all know and love the familiar verse in Matthew 18:20 where Jesus says that where two or more are gathered in His name, He is there with them.
One idea is to take turns reading verses in a particular scripture passage. Another might be to write out a prayer to God and read it aloud to each other, or bring a list of people you’re praying for and exchange it. There’s something powerful about hearing another Christ-follower praying over those who matter most to us.
I’m convinced that my thoughts sleep during the day so they’ll have abundant energy to run laps at night.
Not so long ago, I went to bed at 9, or at least the body went down for the count. My mind, however, buzzed. I usually stay in the bed, hoping to fall asleep, but this time, I got up and pulled out a journal. It was midnight. After a brain dump, it became apparent that all the thoughts pointed back to one subject, which started to unfold with the first line:
Lord, I feel like I’m walking on a tightrope in so many ways these days.
Following the first line:
specific ways I felt tension between the thoughts I am thinking and those I want to think.
recent disappointments that weighed heavier than I realized.
lies I knew were from the enemy (nothing crushes Satan’s lies like being exposed to light!).
Psalm 139:23, 34 (Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.) I often start my Psalm 46:10 time with God using this verse. Only He knows what true motives lurk behind good intentions, often unbeknownst to me. I trust Him to reveal what thoughts need repentance and forgiveness.
After writing out the Psalm 139 verses, I jotted down questions for God, revealing places in my heart where I’d sought validation in someone other than Jesus.
I ended the entry after 1 a.m., asking Him to help me be who I can’t be without Him, to refresh my mind and soul, and to breathe life into the empty places. I returned to bed and fell right asleep.
But more importantly, the revelation of misguided validations began a sweet conversation with the Lord that still continues today. The Holy Spirit alerts my spirit when I start to lean in the wrong places, gently nudging me back into His arms.
Sometimes what keeps us awake points us back to one thing.
Other times, multiple thoughts twist as tightly as a tornado.
Whatever the reason for our restless thoughts, finding ways to tuck them in for the night is sure to help us move the needle in the right direction.
Lately, I’ve started spending 5-10 minutes just before bedtime, jotting down every thought swirling around in my brain. It doesn’t matter if it makes sense. Thoughts like what I need to do the next day, the one thing left off the grocery list, or wondering if what I said to someone earlier that day came out as intended.
Some other ways that help put the mind to rest at bedtime include:
Know my caffeine cut-off time.
Turn off social media an hour or two before bedtime.
Try to resolve any lingering issues with others before bedtime. Even if it’s a quick text to a friend saying you’d like to catch up with her tomorrow. That one simple step helps to topple the pressure off the heaviest of hearts.
Pray aloud. Hearing the words we speak to God, along with Holy Spirit silence sandwiched in between, adds a layer of peace even the warmest of blankets can’t provide.
Read a scripture verse out loud and pray it back to the Lord. For instance, Proverbs 3:24 says, When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.” There’s no right or wrong way to pray the verse back, but one way might be, Lord, thank You that I don’t need to be afraid when I lie down tonight. Your faithfulness and love hold me fast and my sleep will be sweet tonight. I praise You and thank You.
Keep a “jot-it-down” journal by your bed, along with a pen, to add anything to your list that resists the command to flee! (If you subscribe to the Creative Pauses from The Tiny House on the Hill monthly letters, prepare for a blessed inbox today. You’ll find a monthly calendar of bedtime scripture verses and a bedtime “giveaway”.)
If the thoughts that keep you awake center around a particular issue, consider reaching out to a trusted friend or Christian counselor for prayer and a listening ear.
Do you also struggle to put your mind to rest at bedtime? What are some thoughts that keep you up at night? I welcome the opportunity to pray for you, as I pray for myself, at bedtime. If you’d like, please share your name in the comments.
Do you know someone else who struggles to put their mind at rest at bedtime? Feel free to share this post with others!
Maybe you spotted our current gift for new subscribers, What to Pray for Room-by-Room? Together, we’ll walk through the rooms of your home as I share ideas on ways to pray for you, your family, guests, and even strangers. You’ll find the new subscriber box at the top of the sidebar. Of course, you can unsubscribe at any time, but we hope you’ll feel right at home here in The Tiny House on the Hill.
What do a cup of tea and redeeming our time have in common? (Not a tea drinker? Stick with me.)
Years ago, in a charming old home on a corner lot, I invited small groups of women over for tea, conversation, and a focus on a particular book of the Bible or Scripture verse. There was also an annual Christmas tea and other types too. It was a sweet chapter in my life. (The subject of tea continues to pop up in the oddest of places these days, so who knows what God might be up to?)
Recently, while making a cup of tea, I realized there were moments in the tea-making process that matched some of my prayers from the morning. So I grabbed a piece of paper, jotted down the big ideas, and asked God to keep filling in the spaces. And this is what I’m sharing below (or here, if you don’t have time to read it now).
It’s a way to redeem a handful of minutes used for an ordinary morning act⏤an act that often flies by without notice.
Be very careful, then, how you live⏤not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:15,16
Here’s the beautiful part: The redeeming tea process can be applied to many things we do throughout our day. More on that later.
For now, let’s start where any good cup of tea begins, with fresh cold water.
A Kettle and Cold Water
My soul thirsts for you, God you are the living God. Psalm 42:2
Physical dehydration is tricky⏤it can sneak up on us. Before we know it, our lips are parched and we’re lightheaded. Similarly, we can also find ourselves spiritually parched. One day, without notice, we realize our joy is lacking, we’re not making the wisest of decisions, and something is just off.
So, as the water comes to a boil, it’s the perfect time to pause and pray:
Lord, please reveal any signs of spiritual dehydration in my soul. Awaken me to Your glorious truths. You are the One True Living God and I want my soul to thirst for you with the same fervor as King David did all those years ago. Amen.
Prepare the mug
One cube or two? Ha! My mug contains stevia, and a Paris Tea teabag (thank you, Harney & Sons). Sometimes, depending on the day, I might scoop loose leaves into little disposable “pockets” instead. How do you prepare your mug?
So, then, prepare your heart and mind for action. Stay alert and fix your hope firmly on the marvelous grace that is coming to you. 1 Peter 1:13, The Passion Translation
“Stay alert” speaks to spiritual alertness. When I think of these two words, I think of memorizing Scripture, meeting with friends during the week so I can be alert to new guests in church Sunday morning, and asking God to put a guard on my mouth. What about you?
When we stay prepared for action, remain spiritually alert, and fix our hope firmly on the marvelous grace of God, lives change. Ours, and others too. We never know how our faith, no matter how small, can affect another person’s life.
So, as we insert the tea bag, squeeze the honey, and tear the packets, it’s the perfect time to pause and pray:
Lord, prepare my heart and mind for You and Your ways today. Help me to stay alert and spiritually engaged to see where I can join in what You’re doing around me. Amen.
Pour the Boiling Water
Feed the hungry and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon. The LORD will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an overflowing spring. Isaiah 58:10,11
Let’s be honest. There are times when we feel slap out of pouring ability. Other’s needs pop up when everything has gone wrong with our day, or we’re scraping by financially, or we’re mentally exhausted. In fact, we ourselves would welcome a little pouring into. I hear you.
And yet, it’s in those very moments when we feel depleted, but still offer someone else an oasis, that God’s power is put on display. In fact, Isaiah tells us that when we give at the most inconvenient times, God gives us refreshment and restoration. As we give, He continues to replenish.
Quick side note: Obviously, this doesn’t mean we’re supposed to say yes to everything we’re asked to do. Jesus didn’t help or heal everyone who had needs. It goes back to remaining spiritually alert, acting when God taps us on the shoulder or calls our name. There’s an old saying that goes we can’t help everyone, but we can help someone.
So, as we pour the boiling water into the mug, it’s the perfect time to pray:
Lord, show me where You would have me pour into someone, no matter how small an act, and give me peace when You have someone else in mind to help. Like a well-watered garden, help me to be an oasis, providing Your truth, love, and peace, as You lead. Amen.
Steep the Tea
Be still in the presence of the LORD and wait patiently for him to act. Psalm 37:7
Tea steeps anywhere between one minute to ten, depending on the type. So what if we took this time to simply sit or stand in the presence of the LORD? Maybe we’re currently waiting on the Lord for something specific:
Salvation for a loved one
A wayward child to return
A marriage to heal
Consider holding your hands out and palms up, as a posture of trust in God. We trust and we’re open to the Lord’s sovereignty.
As we wait for the tea to steep, it’s the perfect time to pray:
Lord, help me to wait patiently on You for ___________. Even when circumstances try to shake my trust in You, I will stand firm in Your presence. You are a good Father and Your timing is always perfect for my good and Your glory. Amen.
Holding the Mug
As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds his people both now and forevermore. Psalm 125:2
As we surround the mug with our hands, may we be reminded that the One True Living God surrounds us. He is unchanging (nothing we do or don’t do will make Him love us more or less) and faithful (He has been faithful and He will be again). And because we are surrounded, we move through our day with fresh mercy, peace, joy, goodness, and every spiritual blessing pertaining to Christ. We lack nothing!
So, as we surround our mug with our hands, it’s the perfect time to pray:
Lord, may this tangible reminder of Your presence help me to lean into You, Your strength, and Your power, today. Amen.
If you’re not a tea drinker, what’s something you do on a regular basis that could be broken down into redeemable steps? Do you garden, or enjoy baking? Whatever it is, this same process can help awaken those tiny redeemable moments we have every day!
Did one of the above steps, in particular, speak to you? Share in the comments below and you’ll be entered into a random Starbucks gift card giveaway for a favorite cup of tea, coffee, or whatever else you enjoy at Starbucks. Enjoy!
Daring to step outside our comfort zones to talk with God reminds us how the faith walk is an adventure that was never intended to be squirreled away for safekeeping. It is flowing, never static. A verb, not a noun. In him, we live, and move, and have our being. (Acts 17:28)
In a recent Instagram post, Stephanie Smith (@stephduncansmith), shared this:
“Martin L. Smith, an Anglican monk, wrote a wonderful book on prayer The Word is Very Near You. In his chapter entitled “God is a Conversation,” he observes that we do not imitate prayer. Instead, we are invited to join a conversation that is already underway between God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.”
So where can we join in the conversation this Spring?
A local coffee shop.
If the aroma and promise of “happy juice” (as my husband refers to coffee around here) aren’t enough to draw you in, step through the doors and let prayer be your guide. Ask the Holy Spirit to prompt you on how to pray for those seated around you, for the Baristas, for the woman seated in the corner, staring outside the window. With your intentional heart of prayer engaged, something much sweeter than foam swirled in a fancy design will waft through the air. (Here’s a post I shared a while back about my own coffee shop experience.)
Take a hike!
In most areas, spring is a perfect time to hit the trails. It’s not too hot or too cold and if we’re lucky, snakes are still hidden away wherever it is they go. Before the first shoe track smacks dirt, let’s jot down five things on the trail to find. And when we do, we can pause for a moment to thank God. Some things to look for on our hike might include a tiny critter, a particular wildflower or butterfly, moss, or a tree leaf.
Let’s face it, summer is just around the corner. As you walk on the treadmill, lift the weights, or row, row, row your boat, pause to take in your surroundings. Choose three people to pray for silently, trusting He knows their deepest needs. Or blanket the room in prayer as you remember 1 Timothy 4:8 ESV: For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.
Bundle up, tuck a blanket beneath your arm (or enjoy the leisure of a comfy outdoor chair), and look up! As you do, consider reading the scripture verses below:
He who made the Pleiades and Orion, who turns midnight into dawn and darkens day into night, who calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out over the face of the land— the LORD is his name. Amos 5:8
Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing. Isaiah 40:26
He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name. Psalm 147:4
Gazing into the dark sky, let’s pay attention to how God might be leading us to pray for ourselves and for others. Maybe it’s to remember God’s sovereignty, His creative work, or to be reminded that since He knows the number of stars and calls them by name that He surely knows (and cares about) every detail of our lives.
Tis’ the season here in the south when we load up the kids, head to a nearby strawberry patch, and hand out cartons to hold the sweet red triangular fruit. The Bible talks about teaching our children as we go and this can happen in a strawberry patch, an apple orchard, a vegetable garden, or anywhere else when we talk about Psalm 34:8, Taste and see that the LORD is good. What personal story of God’s goodness can we share with others and offer prayers of thankfulness as we go?
Do any of the above ideas spark your interest? We’d love to know! Or is there another place, in particular, you enjoy praying during this glorious season? Share below and you’ll be entered in a giveaway for a cup of Starbucks coffee (in case you want to try the first idea.)
There’s something about seeking out specific items within a certain time limit that puts a pep in our step! Granted, most hunts are minutes long but this one is more about slowing our pace, encouraging us to pause and to see simple objects in the light of God’s Word.
We started creating scavenger hunts in the Creative Pauses Facebook Group last year and we’ve never looked back.
So here’s the scoop!
It begins today and ends Saturday, April 2nd, at noon EST 6PM EST
Finish all five hunts by Saturday and you’ll be entered into a $25.00 Amazon gift card giveaway.
When you finish all five, come back to this blog post and leave a comment saying you’re finished. (We’d also love to hear what you enjoyed most about the hunt.)
If you like, snap photos of the items as you go and post them in the daily 1 PM “Share your pictures here” posts in the Facebook Group. Everyone enjoys seeing the various pictures but they’re not required to win. Have fun!
Hunting for objects + pause + reading the living and active Word + pause + meditating on His Word = a much-needed oasis for the heart, soul, and mind.
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