Discover the basic elements of a quiet time with God.
Discover the basic elements of a quiet time with God. (Unsplash/Ben White)

"The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenty, but of everyone who is hasty only to want" (Prov. 21:5).

Having a quiet time is like many other activities you might do in life—in at least one respect. To be successful, it helps to have a plan. The Bible says, "The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenty, but of everyone who is hasty only to want" (Prov. 21:5).

If you've never had a quiet time before, you may not have a good, simple plan for doing one. Simplicity is important with any plan you develop. If you make it complicated, you're more likely to get off track. All you really need for an effective quiet time is a Bible, notebook and maybe a hymnal or songbook.

So what does a daily quiet time look like?

1. Be quiet before the Lord. The Bible calls it waiting on God. You start by simply sitting down and shutting up.

2. Pray briefly. Start off with a short opening prayer. Ask God to open your mind and guide you. Ask Him to cleanse your mind.

3. Read a portion of Scripture slowly. This is where your conversation with God begins. He starts speaking to you through His Word, and then you speak back to Him through prayer. Read the Bible slowly. Don't try to read too quickly or too much. The more slowly you read Scripture, the more you're forced to think about what you're reading.

4. Meditate on the Word. Spend some time chewing on what God is saying. Chew on the Word like cows chew on cud. Ponder and wrestle with it in your mind. There are lots of great methods for meditating on the Word. You can find specific ideas on how to meditate on the Bible in my book, Rick Warren's Bible Study Methods.

5. Write down what you discover. When God speaks to you through His Word, care enough about what He is saying to write it down. Writing enables us to remember what God has said to us and record our discoveries.

6. Pray again. Be quiet. Ask God to show you His Word. Talk to God about what He has said to you. Tell Him what you're thinking about what He is saying. Talk to Him about anything else that's on your mind.

There's not just one way to have a quiet time, but following a plan similar to this can get you started on a rewarding devotional journey.

Talk It Over

  • Have you ever thought about your quiet time as an intimate conversation with God? Why or why not?
  • What distractions do you need to eliminate in order to "be quiet"?
  • Why is it sometimes hard for you to read the Bible slowly and meditate on what it says?

Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church. His book, The Purpose Driven Church, was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of, a global internet community for pastors.

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