Quiet Time And Effective Prayer: A Summary
1. Quiet Time
Today, we want to touch on a very important but mostly neglected area of Christian lifestyle: the quiet time. Also referred to as personal altar, personal devotion, closet and, quality time with the Lord.
Quiet time is the time set aside by a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ to meet with God, to communicate with the Father through the written word with the assistance of the Holy Spirit and also to bring his requests to God in prayer. Through quiet time we cultivate a relationship with our God.
a. Our quiet time is important for many reasons among which are that:
- Through quiet time believers pattern their lives after that of Jesus Christ (Mat 14:23; Mk 1:35, 6:46; 1Pet 2:21)
- We learn the mind of God and apply the word to our lives.
- In applying the word we:
- Modify our personal lifestyle to conform to the teachings of the Bible i.e. living by the word through obedience (John 1:12-14; Mat 4:4; Phil 2:1; 1Pet 2:2; Jas 1:21-25)
- Access the power of God for daily living (1Kg 19:7; John 15:5; Isaiah 40:31; Pro 3:5-6)
- We learn and apply the right attitude to trials and temptations of daily life (1Pet 1:3-7; Heb. 12:10-11; Jas 1:2-4)
- We get to know our Lord more as we continuously progress and mature in our Christian journey through life by constantly being in the word (Ps 1:1-3).
b. Few things are required for the quiet time including:
- Determination to have a regular quiet time
- A quiet place for an uninterrupted period of the quiet time
- The Holy Bible
- A notebook and pen
- A list of people, situations and things to pray for
Stay with one version of the bible as your constant bible for quiet time. Have one or two other bible versions. Having one good reference or study bible and a bible dictionary may be useful.
Initially, a good daily devotional e.g. Everyday with Jesus, Daily bread, and the like may be useful and could be used. But you should aim to wean yourself off this as soon as practicable. You should be able to have a fruitful quiet time with just your chosen bible without the aid of a daily devotional as you grow in the Lord.
Please remember that quiet time is very different from bible study. So do not encumber yourself with too many study aids that would make your quiet time unwieldy and unfruitful.
Timing and frequency: Determine an acceptable and convenient time for you though early morning is preferred by many (Mk 1:35; Pro. 8:17; Ps 5:3; Gen 19:27) and you should have your quiet time at least once a day.
Good planning and execution makes for progress: You should plan the time, frequency and duration of your quiet time properly taking due cognisance of your other activities. Good planning will minimise the frequency of interruptions and postponements. Having planned, ensure you carry out your plan diligently.
d. What to actually do during your quiet time:
- Start with a brief prayer
- Sing some songs
- Read a predefined passage of Scripture slowly.
- Meditate [think about] upon what you have read (Ps 1:1-3, 119:18, 105).
- Ask questions and answer them. Examples of questions to ask yourself:
- Who is speaking?
- Who or what is being spoken about?
- Who is being spoken to?
- What is the main subject of this passage?
- Any sin for me to confess and forsake?
- Any habit or character [not necessarily sinful] to unlearn [do away with]?
- Any habit or character to develop?
- Write down any area the word of God touches you: sins, promises, commandments to be obeyed, promises, etc.
- Jot down any word or phrase you do not understand so you can look them up later.
- NOTE: Resist the urge to write extensive notes. This is not bible study neither is it sermon preparation! Just jot down a few relevant things.
- Memorise bible passages e.g. you may start with one verse per week
- Pray: all prayer and supplication (Eph. 6:18)
- thanksgiving, adoration, intercession (Phil 4:6; 1Tim 2:1-3)
- Have a moment of quiet.
A word of caution: Be very careful and do not be too quick to ascribe everything that comes to you as coming from the Lord. Remember, there are many voices out there and it could be a while before you begin to recognise the voice of the Holy Spirit. One thing: Whatever is from the Lord will never contradict His written word.
e. Some of the benefits of the quiet time are that:
- It provides the believer with an opportunity to linger in the presence of God laying the innermost being before him.
- It enables the believer to enter into a reverent, affectionate and fruitful ongoing conversation with God: an atmosphere where God speaks to him and he speaks back to him.
- It helps the believer to develop a working knowledge of the bible that is healthy and fruitful (Ps 119:9, 11, 105; Eph. 3:16; 2Tim 2:15; Ps 19:8; Hosea 4:6).
- It helps the believer to desire to know God and to do His will more and more.
- It helps the believer to develop a fruitful prayer life (Pro 28:9; 15:8, 29)
All of these will culminate in an enviable Christian character as the believer in Jesus Christ continues the journey towards spiritual maturity (Mat 5:16; 1Pe 3:2, 15-16; Phil 3:20).
2. Effective Prayer
Prayer should be like normal breathing to the believer in Jesus Christ: something natural to him. He should develop in praying and persist until a constant and consistent attitude of prayer becomes as natural to him as normal breathing. He should be in the attitude of prayer always.
Effective prayer is the prayer that obtains the desired result from God according to His will
a. The believer in Jesus Christ must accept that:
- God is sovereign over all His creation and His will is paramount in all that the believer does and expects.
- You have the Holy Spirit always available, ready and willing to help you pray effectively. You must allow Him to help you.
- You have Christ’s delegated authority on earth as his disciple, as you use it for His purpose, heaven will back you up
b. You must be a born again child of God in fellowship with Him:
- This is the establishment of your relationship with Jesus Christ (John 3:3, 5).
- It is this relationship that grants you access to God as your father (John 1:12, 14:6).
- If you are out of fellowship, quickly do whatever you need to do to get back into fellowship with Him (1John 1:9)
c. Your prayer must be divinely guided (1Kgs 18:36)
d. Your Prayer must be in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ (1John 5:14). There is power in:
- His name for He is our advocate (Heb. 7:25)
- In His will, only His will must be done (1John 5:14-15)
- In His righteousness as opposed to our own. We come in His righteousness (Rom 5:1-2; Heb. 4:16)
- To His glory, He alone is to be glorified by the result (John 14:13)
e. The Prayer must be done in Faith (1John 5:14-15; James 1:6-8, 5:15; Heb. 11:6)
- Be sure you are divinely guided (1John 5:14-15)
- We obtain faith by
- Getting into the word (Rom 10:17; 1Pet 2:2)
- Allowing the word to get into us (Rom 12:1-2; Col 3:16)
- Meditating on it (Ps 1:2-3, Joshua 1:8)
- Putting the word into practice (Jam 1:25)
f. You must be bold in your praying
- Being bold is confident declaration of what we desire of the Lord as we see in the examples of Hannah, Elijah, the blind man, Our Lord Jesus Christ, the disciples and Apostle Paul in 7) below.
- Note: Being bold doesn’t mean to shout at or command God! He is to be approached with reference at all times. You are not invading or storming heaven. You are entering into the throne room of grace, you are seeking help (Heb. 4:16). This must be done with utmost reference to our Holy Father.
g. You must be as specific as possible in prayer:
- Hannah asked for a male child that will be lent to the Lord (1Sam 1:6-23)
- Elijah asked for the oil not to finish but to be more than enough, he asked for fire from heaven, also rain (1Kgs 17-18),
- The blind man said that I may see (Mark 10:51),
- The Lord Jesus Christ told peter – open the mouth of the fish for a coin to pay the required tax for them (Mat 17:27), He asked God to keep believers from the evil one (John 17:15),
- The disciples ask for boldness to declare the word of God (Acts 4:29).
- Apostle Paul asked that Elymas become blind (Acts 13:6-12)
h. You must pray effectually and earnestly (Jam 5:16-18)
i. You must pray with persistence: as did the woman of Canaan (Mat 15:21-28), and also as in (1Kgs 17:19-21, 18:41-44)
j. You must pray with expectation [expect God to answer] and anticipation (1Kgs 18:41-45): do things that show you are expecting an answer.
k. You must be in righteous standing with God: for without holiness, no one can see the Lord (1Tim 2:8; Heb. 12:14).