We have seen thus far the importance of giving the early hours of our day to the Lord in prayer and meditation in His Word. We have also seen biblical examples that are worthy of emulation especially that of our Lord Jesus Christ when He was here on earth.
In the Gospel according to Saint Luke Chapter 6, it was recorded that Jesus spent all night in prayer and during the day he chose the twelve apostles. It is instructive to note that what you do first thing in the morning or late at night influences the decisions and choices you make during the day.
The Psalmist said “. O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches” (Ps 63:1,6)
Waking up early in the morning to pray and staying up late at night to meditate on the Word are so important to our spiritual walk to the extent that we cannot quantify the benefits they bring with words.
We ought to know that times and seasons are within our control and it is wise when we order them right. “Redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Eph. 4:16). A clearer translation says “Making good use of the time, for the days are evil”
Let me share with you practical tips on how to observe personal quiet time or what in some quarters is known as morning devotion
Go to bed early… Now I realize that there are some of us who are night crawlers. I have always been a night person, maybe my career also contributed to this kind of lifestyle. I don’t go to bed early, so I wake up late a times. So what do I do? I do my quiet time much much early. As a matter of fact, “a.m.” begins at 12 midnight. There are no hard and fast rules to this. If you are not like me, who sleeps sometimes at 4 am, you must be disciplined to sleep early so you can wake up early. Don’t spend your nights watching movies. Discipline is required in fellowshipping with the Father.
Get out of your bed. Sometimes you may want to brush your teeth or have a shower to stay awake. Get out of your room to your living room. if you stay in a room apartment, walk around the room. Take a posture that is not conducive for dozing off… Just make sure you stay awake!
Give your thoughts to spiritual things: Quiet time begins with a quiet mind. Sometimes, if you have mastered the art of quiet time, you may even remain on the bed pondering on the Word before you open your mouth to say anything. Meditation is really the focus of morning devotion and this automatically flows into prayer and the reading of the Word.
Grow in the time you spend: Quiet time is not punishment time. Family altar is not a plot to put your family under untoward pressure and stress. It should be done gradually. A time spent praying or meditating should be enjoyed and not endured. Yes, discipline is necessary but it must be applied graciously. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you miss a day or two or wake up late. What I do when that happens is that I make up for it during the day or the following morning. The Psalmist instructed us to serve the Lord with gladness and not sadness. You can start with 15 minutes or 20 minutes. At other times, you will not observe the time.
Gratitude is the attitude of Quiet time: This ought to be the pattern. Your thoughts, words and actions must be full of gratitude. Be grateful for the gift of Christ which is the gift of eternal life. Be grateful for the blessing of a brand new day. Things may not be working right in the physical but never allow it affect your attitude of gratitude. Your experience should not reflect in your expressions. Be full of thanksgiving. “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (Phil 4:6). “Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1 Thess 5:16-18).
In conclusion, you may choose to use a daily devotional for your Quiet time. It gives you some scriptural thoughts to meditate on and bible passages to study. We are working on one as a church which you can use all year round. We trust God that by next year, it will be ready. Family devotions can follow this pattern too. 15 to 30 minutes duration is okay. Prayer, songs of praise and bible reading. A book of the bible can be read or studied systematically. Simple explanations with succinct illustrations and applications will go a long way to deepen understanding of the family members including the children.