Is it a state of mind?
Solitude in quiet, peaceful places may be hard to find. It may be impossible for some.
- Mothers with young children.
- People with long, daily commutes.
- Care givers with little time for themselves.
- People with widely different schedules each week.
- Anyone with a lot of people in their home.
In Our Minds?
Can we find it in our minds? Having a mind of solitude and silence can be as challenging as the real thing; it’s why the desert fathers went into the desert. Consider these:
- Our brain doesn’t come with an off/on switch.
- Our ears pick up sound even when we don’t want them to.
- The distractions of discomfort, sound, sight, and touch are inevitable.
Regardless of the location, quiet or busy, crowded or deserted, we can learn to listen for the voice of God. But we must approach it with determination.
Let me offer some steps that may be useful. I’ve learned these from my experience and from the mentoring of others.
The Basic Quiet Time Devotional
- If possible sit comfortably, and close your eyes. Focus on your breathing: in and out, in and out, letting go of what’s happening around you. (One minute)
- Offer a prayer asking God to bless you with his Spirit. (One minute)
- Open your eyes and read a few verses of scripture. You can read though books of the bible or randomly. It doesn’t require much, but read until you find one thought, phrase, or word that jumps off the page. (Three or four minutes)
- Contemplate on the one. Why did it appeal to you? What is its value? How is it beneficial. Now, go back and read it again, read it four or five times. Appreciate its beauty and truth to your life, appreciate God. (Ten minutes)
- Now, close your eyes and relax your shoulders and arms. Sit quietly. Allow your mind to be receptive to the leading of the Spirit. Resist the need to take control by creating structured thought. This sounds crazy, but try to un-focus your mind. (Five minutes)
- Finally, say a prayer of thanksgiving for the benefits you’ve received. After the prayer, sit quietly for another minute or two and enjoy the peace. (Three minutes)
The times can adjust as you like. The suggested times only provide a sense of what can happen in 20 minutes, it’s up to you.
Don’t think of this as a formula or a structured template. It’s only a guideline.
If you are just starting, then try a couple of times a week. If it grows from there then fine. It’s not about a rigid schedule or being able to say, “I’ve had a devotional every day this week!”
More to come, to be continued