Does anyone else ever feel guilty when you don’t “feel” like having quiet time with God?
I know I should spend time with God, and not just because my 4th grade Sunday school teacher said so. Deep down, I know that I need to fill my heart with His Word, and I know it’s important for me to talk to God and listen to Him in prayer. But when my alarm clock is screeching at 5:30 a.m. and my bed is warm and cozy, or when I come home from a crazy day at work and just want to watch Netflix, my first desire is not always to open my Bible and start praying. And that makes me feel bad.
So which is better—to have a quiet time when you’re not feeling it, or skip the quiet time altogether?
I think we should come to God anyway. Even though it might feel awkward, we can be honest with Him and tell Him how we’re feeling. (Spoiler alert—He already knows!) The most beautiful thing is that we can ask God to change our hearts.
Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart” (ESV). Isn’t that amazing? God is willing and able to come into the yucky places of our hearts and clean us out, equipping us to live the best life He’s created for us.
Plus, when we put our feelings in charge of our actions, we are stepping onto a very slippery spiritual slope. If we were to let our feelings control other parts of our lives, we’d be in trouble. What if each day, you decided whether or not to go to work based on if you “felt” like it? Or what if you ate whatever foods you “felt” like eating, even if that turned out to be pizza five times a week? This way of living would not be sustainable for long.
And here’s the thing—even if we don’t feel like prioritizing time with God over other areas of our life, doing so is an act of obedience that shows God we’re serious about seeking Him.
Jeremiah 29:13 says, “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart” (ESV). When we sacrifice time, activities or other pleasures to intentionally seek God, He will not leave us hanging. He will meet you where you are, and you will not walk away hungry or unsatisfied.
If you are going through a dry spell in your quiet time, think about different ways you can interact with God’s Word and worship Him in prayer. Here are a few ideas that might spark your spiritual creativity:
1. Go Somewhere Different
You’d be surprised how a change of scenery can give you a new, refreshing perspective. Try going to a coffee shop for the sole purpose of reading your Bible, or take a walk in your neighborhood and dedicate that time to prayer. Have fun with it and personalize your experience as much as you’d like! You may not be able to “go somewhere” for every quiet time, but even moving to different spots around your house can help you refocus and engage with God’s Word.
2. Worship Through Art
Whether you paint like Picasso or barely get by with stick-figures (like me), incorporating art into your personal Bible study can be an exciting way to digest God’s truth. Try writing writing out Bible verses in different fonts, or make a drawing that illustrates a story in the Bible. Journaling Bibles are popular right now, and these leave extended room in sidebars for you to write, draw and express creativity.
3. Pray Aloud
When no one else is listening? Yes! I’ll admit that it might feel strange at first, but praying aloud helps remind me that, yes, I am actually talking to God. He’s real, and He can hear me. It also helps my mind not get distracted so easily.
4. Play an Instrument
I play the guitar, and I love to choose a Psalm and strum along until I find a tune that fits the Scripture. I’m not trying to write a chart-topping hit, or even something to share it with others. This is just time with me and God, and singing Scripture helps me understand the His Word in a new, meaningful way.
5. Listen to the Bible
If you’re not a big reader, try listening to an audio version of the Bible. There are many free apps (like Bible.is) that allow you to easily navigate the entire Bible so that you can pick chapters to listen to. It’s also a great way to review a passage you read earlier or prepare for a certain study!
Whatever you do, don’t neglect spending time with God through Scripture and prayer. Everyone’s spiritual walk has different seasons, but God will always meet us when we humbly come before Him, seeking to know Him more.