In my early twenties and fresh out of college, I was blessed to stumble upon a treasure of a book, Disciplines of the Beautiful Woman by Anne Ortlund. Anne became my mentor. I have longed for years since then to find a woman I knew to mentor me, but what the Lord finally showed me was that this woman, her writings, were the guide God put in my hands along with His word and a few other books, to grow me up. I’ve re-read the book several times. I find the key concepts of Anne’s writing are so fundamental to my beliefs that I frequently teach them as I mentor young women today.
So, if you are like I was and can’t seem to find that flesh-and-blood mentor to have a cup of coffee and chat with, then grab a cup right now – I’ll take Green Mountain breakfast blend with one Truvia pack and 2 teaspoons of peppermint creamer – and join me for our first mentoring session!
While there are many areas of the spiritual life that need our attention, the 4 main ones we will focus on and their importance are clearly shown in The Wheel Illustration.
This illustration shows us the fundamentals of a well-rounded Christian life: Prayer & The Word – the ways we interact with God, and Witnessing & Fellowship – the ways we interact with people. If any one of these spokes is not being tended to or if Christ is not at the center of everything we do, we risk living an out of balance, wobbly life as we roll through our days here on earth; traveling with a flat tire so to speak.
The prime spiritual discipline that is the air our spirit breathes is a personal Quiet Time with God each day (built on Prayer and The Word). No matter your age, your spiritual growth and health is dependent upon this discipline. Your spiritual life will suffocate without daily time alone with your Father.
The Set Up.
- Have a set place. (Mine is a cushy love seat in our living room.)
- Have a set time. (30+/- minutes before you normally have to get up works well.)
- Have the materials you need. (Listed in next paragraph)
- Be consistent. (Commit to do this every day for a month and your time will be firmly established and easier to stick with.)
So how do you go about it? Simple. Grab your Bible, a pen, and a notebook. That’s all you need! God has promised to give His Spirit as your teacher (John 14:26).
Resting in the fact that a member of the Holy Trinity will be teaching you, this is
- Pray. Pray praising God, thanking Him, confessing sins, asking forgiveness, and interceding for others. Most importantly Pray for God to open the eyes of your heart to understand what He is teaching you through His written Word. (Phil.4:6-7)
- Read a portion of scripture.
- Get yourself on a Bible reading plan. Look over the options in the link. If you’re new to this, one or two verses a day may seem to be all you can take in without being overwhelmed. So you might want to start slowly cruising through the book of John or Philippians a few verses at a time.
- Read with purpose. Don’t just read the words to check this off your list. Read trying to absorb what the scripture is saying. Ask yourself the 5 W’s and an H – Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How. Leave your reading time with the attitude that you want to be able to tell a friend about it later that afternoon.
- Meditate on it listening for the truth God is teaching you. This may involve praying over portions. It may mean you read back through the passage very slowly, stopping every time you are curious and contemplating what the deeper meaning is. It may mean repeating a single verse of the passage over and over to begin to memorize it. Or you may personalize the scripture by putting your own name in it or turning it into a prayer. You may want to read the Word emphasizing different words to see a deeper meaning. Or read it looking for Biblical concepts or patterns and repetitions in the passage.
- Journal your thoughts and prayers. Even if your time is limited as you scurry off to work, take your notebook and take a moment to journal one take away from the scripture. Maybe it’s a promise in scripture you want to cling to in the issues you are facing. Maybe it’s a command you realize you need to obey to please God. Whatever it is, jot it down. Then follow up with a written prayer to end your quiet time. It can be brief. But personally, I have found these prayers to be very revealing and healing. As I pray writing it out seeking God’s heart I often write truth I’d never realized before, blessings the Lord speaks into my heart, wisdom that crystalizes into a clear thought, or even tender loving words or words of reproof to myself. When we open a conversation with Him in prayer, God speaks back if we will just listen!
- One process of Bible study is called Inductive Bible study. (Check out the link. More on this in another post.) Inductive reasoning is reasoning that derives general principles from specific observations. So inductive Bible Study hinges on deriving general life principles through diligently observing His Word, praying, and listening to what God quietly speaks to your spirit.
Thanks for the coffee! I loved our first mentoring session. So now that you know how to have an effective quiet time, I guess I’ll end with the Nike slogan “Just do it.” Blessings!