How we prepare for time with Jesus can affect the quality of that time. It’s important to be organized ahead of our quiet time, otherwise we will more easily be distracted. I know that implementing the tips below has helped me immensely with how easily I can be distracted.
Our pre-Bible study preparation matters, both in posturing our hearts and preparing a place and plan. In this article, I share about the practical side of organizing our daily devotional time.
The tips below require us to plan ahead. The night before is best because waiting until moments before we sit down with our Bibles leaves us more vulnerable to distraction.
1. Choose the time and place.
Where is the best place for you to get alone with God?
Choose a spot where you will be as without distraction as possible. In some circumstances, I know of folks who chose their vehicle as their prayer place!
When is the best time?
Pick a time when you are most alert and quiet is available if possible. This may change season to season. When the time and place stops working for you, take time to reassess and adjust as necessary.
2. Prepare needed items.
Have your Bible and journal ready in your prayer spot, along with writing utensils and highlighters. Prepare these items the evening before–for instance–if you spend time with God in the morning. Phylicia Masonheimer has a good tip for this: Utilize a basket for keeping your study materials in case your “quiet” time needs to be moved to other locations in the house while raising young children or keep it in your car for use during your lunch break from work.
Also, set your alarm to give ample time to wake up and prepare your coffee or tea ahead of time. At the least, it’s best to have water within reach, and maybe tissues too!
Extra Tips for Journal Prep
3. Know what to do with distractions.
How will you handle with distractions?
Distractions often surface during our devotional time: tasks to accomplish, phone calls to make, concerns we have, ideas to process, etc. I recommend a 3×5″ memo pad (or an app to store tasks/notes if your journal is digital). Have that note pad ready alongside your Bible and journal.
Read this article about dealing with distractions.
4. Have a plan.
Having a plan will ensure you spend more time actually connecting with God. Otherwise, we may succumb to distractions or only graze several surface ideas instead of deepening our friendship with God.
I recommend choosing a Bible reading plan. This is especially helpful for those times when we just go blank as we sit down to be with the Lord. Don’t be legalistic about this if God is leading you elsewhere on a particular day.
A plan could be as simple as working the New Testament or Psalms or as involved as making use of a one-year chronological reading plan.
Regardless, don’t just read through. Take time to study the Scriptures in context, asking questions of the text (who, what, when, where, how?) and what it tells you about God Himself (this is called inductive Bible study).
You can also engage your heart and mind by praying, speaking and singing the Word so it can go deep in you and your heart connects with Christ’s.
“Let the word [spoken by] Christ (the Messiah) have its home [in your hearts and minds] and dwell in you in [all its] richness, as you teach and admonish and train one another in all insight and intelligence and wisdom [in spiritual things, and as you sing] psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, making melody to God with [His] grace in your hearts.”Colossians 3:16 (AMPC)
Prepare ahead and your time with the Lord will be more focused and rewarding. Instead of trying to organize things last minute or staying distracted, you can settle quickly into quality time conversing with God.