“You will never be a growing Christian until you develop the disciple-habit of a daily time alone with the Lord through Scripture and prayer.” Scott Corwin
All of us have habits. Some good, and others not so good.
I’m trying to break myself of a bad habit that I developed over a long period of time — drinking LOTS of coffee. It began with a “first pot” I made when I got up each morning for my daily time alone with the Lord. Though my wife would have “a cup” I would usually finish off the pot before she left for work. I would then make another pot of coffee and would finish it off during the work day. Way too much coffee that started affecting my sleep and health.
I had to try to break the bad habit. So, I decided that I would do two things: 1) I would change the way that I drink coffee; I started drinking coffee that wasn’t quite as strong and I would drink it without sugar, and 2) During the day I would drink healthy teas. I admit it was really hard at first, but after a few weeks I established a habit which is the new norm. I broke the old, bad habit, by replacing it with a new, healthier habit.
In a similar way, you can develop the disciple-habit of starting your day with a daily quiet time in Scripture and prayer. First, analyze the way that you normally spend your mornings. Do you wait until the last minute to wake up then throw it into high-gear to get ready to get out of the house to start your work day? Do you stay up too late the night before so that you don’t get the kind of rest you need in order to wake up refreshed? Do you turn on your computer first thing to check email or Facebook? Do you turn on the morning news and/or the radio first thing? Determine your current habits and identify ways that you might rearrange your mornings in order to establish the habit of a quiet time.
Second, make preparations for establishing your new habit. I suggest picking a time and scheduling your quiet time like you would any other important item in your agenda — provided you consider spending time alone with God important! Pick a special place where you will be away from distractions. It might be a special chair in a special room where you can be alone. Make all the necessary arrangements not to be interrupted: turn off your phone, tell your spouse, get away from the computer screen, etc. Gather all of the resources you will need like your Bible, your spiritual notebook, and a pen.
Third, have a specific plan for your quiet time. If you have one of the “Spiritual Journals,” there is a suggested plan on page 6 for a 15 minute time alone with the Lord. If you have attended the “Grow in Maturity” workshop, there is a similar plan on page 22-23. The key is to read a portion from the Bible asking and answering three questions:
1. What are you saying to me, Jesus? (Scripture insight)
2. What do you want to change in me, Jesus? (Attitude? Thought? Action? Character?)
3. What do you want me to do, Jesus? (Application)
Start practicing your new habit and keep after it no mater what. After 3 weeks you will be familiar with the routine, but stay with it. It will take another 3 weeks for that routine to become ingrained in your life as a new habit.
Developing a new habit begins with a choice…a commitment. Remember, Jesus said: “If you remain in my Word, you are really my disciples.” (John 8:31) So, if you are a disciple, make a commitment…right now…to establishing the habit of a daily time alone with God.
Need some help? Attend the next “Grow in Maturity” class. Connect with one of our disciple mentors who can help encourage you and keep you accountable to your daily quiet time. Talk with your friends and small group members about your quiet time. You will help them and they will help you!