InterVarsity’s Quiet Time is a small (thirty page) practical guide on how to improve daily devotionals, and it is part of the reading material for the C.S. Lewis Institute’s Fellowship program. The point of the program is to encourage modern-day Christian’s to live every day for God as a testament to His might and will. This involves rigorous study, closely knit group work, an urban plunge project, and lots and lots of reading.
Quiet Time focuses first on the importance of praising and worshiping God. What does this entail and why we should devote time to God? He is worthy of praise, of worship, and this is something that a Christian should consider when creating a devotional routine.
The authors concentrate first on making time and the addressing the falsity that we “don’t have time.” You make time for what is important, after all. In a side note, I’ve also discovered some clever ways to integrate scripture and devotion while I get ready in the morning, while I shower, while I weed the garden, and even when I take a break from work. Modern technology has helped. I follow Bible podcasts (my personal favorite addiction right now is The Bible in a Year with Father Schmitz.) I’ve found that this approach really helps me to make sure that I touch base with scripture every day.
This gets to the authors’ second point: finding a quiet place, somewhere where it is just you and God and you can give your full focus to Him, His message, and worshiping Him.
Next, Quiet Time talks about incorporating Bible reading into daily devotions. It talks about how we should approach the Bible and how we should read it. Most importantly, it talks about being in “the right attitude of soul” both during our devotional times with God and as we read His word.
Quiet Time most importantly talks about prayer. Many of us have come to think of prayer as mindless repetition, as a list of requests (or sometimes demands) of God, yet we lose sight of the connection, of the dialogue, of the worship. Quiet Time helps us to reorient ourselves away from the rote approach and to really think about God and what a relationship with Him means and how to maintain a healthy relationship instead of an occasional drop-in worship session at church or a list of demands disguised as a prayer. Prayer is about worship, about confession, about realization of how we sin against God, and about adoring Him and offering thanksgiving while requesting intercession.
Overall, I found this short booklet very helpful and thought provoking. The authors pack a lot of content and practical suggestions into just a few pages. This was originally written in 1946, and still holds its value and good sense. This isn’t the type of book that you read once, but instead a narrative that you should keep coming back to, again and again, as a refresher and for more insight. It’s intimidating at first. Doing quiet time right is no easy feat; and at first, I read with dismay. It sounds exhausting, and the selfish part of me thinks of the books I could be reading instead, the naps I could be taking, the online shopping, even the reviews. But gradually, as I read, the uncompromising rightness of everything written here and the call to action is impossible to ignore. I will read this again, hopefully getting a better and better attitude each time I read it through.
– Frances Carden
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