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My Time to Dig – Key Ingredients

July 12, 2010

On my recent post, How Much Time Is Enough, I mentioned some advice I had received in the early days of my Christian walk. A sweet man of God told me, “Stephanie, there’s a difference between reading God’s Word and studying it…and you need to try to do both every day.” That advice has been my quiet time filter for over 20 years.

With the exception of a few things, my quiet time hasn’t really changed much. Some of the seasons of my life have caused me to juggle my schedule and change my routine, but the key ingredients have virtually remained the same. I may have juggled the order in which they fall-I may have grown along the way, but there are five elements that have remained a constant in my quiet time over  the years.

STUDY – This is my “must do” of the day. I’m a “word” girl, so I love to study the original meaning of things and expand my understanding of God’s Word. That probably explains why I love the Amplified version and why I love study books. I study words, topics, books of the Bible and characters. Most of the time I just get out my Bible, my Bible study books (some of my favorites are on an older post entitled, “Finding What I’m Looking For”) and just dig in, but other times I use a workbook. Right now, I’m going through “A Woman After God’s Own Heart” by Elizabeth George.

My study time also goes hand in hand with what I’m speaking on or writing about, so while I’m going through “A Woman After God’s Own Heart” – I’m also studying the New Testament church, character studies of moms of the Bible and the book of Philippians.

READ – I like to read through the Bible every year. I confess that I’ve never purchased a One Year Bible before, but that’s a personal preference. When I read through the Bible, I want to be able to make notes of how God speaks to me or write a prayer beside a promise and date it. I want to leave a trail in my Bible of where I’ve been and where God has led me.

I also confess that when life gets complicated and I’m on overload that the “Reading” time is the one that gets set aside for a season. Don’t get me wrong, I continue to spend time studying the Word, but when I can’t fit it all in, I set aside my reading until my life gets back on an even keel.

JOURNAL – Although I’m not really into “diary-style” journaling, I love to journal my journey through the Word. This helps me be attentive when I’m in the Word…looking for nuggets of truth and listening for His still small voice.

Each page of my journal normally contains two titles. THE WORD. PRAYER.

The Word – is where I write down insights in His Word, places where He has spoken to me, promises I’m claiming, wisdom I’m seeking, direction I’m in need of, correction I’m also in need of and moments where He has clearly made Himself known to me.

Prayer – is where I write those things that I was prompted to pray for as I was reading. Where I pray in reference to something I had just read in Scripture. Where I list a promise I’m clinging to or a praise for speaking to my heart.

PRAYER – I like to maintain a list for daily prayer. I’ve changed this up over the years as to the way I keep track of it, but I have to have a list or things fall through the crack of things “I meant to pray.” I make a list with headings like, Family, Friends, Church, Nation, Costa Rica & Panama, Pastors, Missionaries & the Persecuted Church.

DEVOTIONAL – I love to read short, challenging and encouraging devotionals. My all time favorite is My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers. I also like Streams in the Desert, The Daily Bread and many blogs that I subscribe to for daily devotionals. Ann Graham Lotz has a great one, as well.

Something new I’ve learned to do over the past year is to “settle” in with the Lord. I learned about it when I went through a book called Saturdays With Stella and it changed my concept of being still before God. It’s more about getting to a place where you just enjoy His presence. Nothing has to be said, nothing has to be done. Like when you sit in the room with a loved one and enjoy the sweetness of being together – silently saying “I love you.”

And when you think about it, isn’t that what our time with the Lord is all about. Through spending time in God’s Word and in prayer – we are telling Him, “I love you” and hearing Him say the same back to us.

Tell us about your quiet time with the Lord. Do you struggle with some things more than others?

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13 Comments leave one →
  1. July 12, 2010 10:40 am

    What a great post, Stephanie! Thank you for sharing …. and I still have “Saturdays with Stella” on my list of books to read.

    Oh and don’t you just love Elizabeth George? She’s one of my favorites.

    • stephanieshott permalink
      July 12, 2010 11:08 am

      Thanks Teri Lynne,
      I’m so thankful to be on this dig together! You are a blessing my sister!

  2. July 12, 2010 11:17 am

    Wow! How did I not know you were part of another site? This is awesome! Blessings to you and the others!

    • stephanieshott permalink
      July 12, 2010 11:50 am

      Hi Lynn,
      I’m so glad you popped in over here on Scripture Dig. I love being part of this site and sharing the Word with women. You are a blessing to me in ways you don’t even know! Every time you write anything at all, I see a glimpse of your heart!

  3. July 12, 2010 11:55 am

    Great post Stephanie! I do some of the same things with my quiet time. And I LOVE Elizabeth George! 🙂

    • stephanieshott permalink
      July 12, 2010 5:13 pm

      Hi Tara,

      Awesome to spend time with the Living God! Our generation is so blessed to have SO many great Bible teachers and resources out there. Glad we’re here for such a time as this! 🙂

      Thanks for popping in and digging with us!

  4. July 12, 2010 4:43 pm

    Hi Stephanie~
    Quiet time for me has rotated through out the years. I enjoy trying new things or changing it up.
    I always start out with prayer.

    I rotate from year to year between reading through the Bible (Chronologically is my favorite) and doing a devotional book. Right now I am using “Pearls of Great Price” by Joni Eareckson Tada and “Morning and Evening” with Charles Spurgeon.

    Journaling is something I have recently started doing. I usually write down what I have learned from the readings and scriptures and sometimes write a prayer.

    Thanks for your post and the great tips.
    Blessings~
    Marita

    • stephanieshott permalink
      July 12, 2010 5:19 pm

      Marita,

      Thanks for sharing a glimpse of your quiet time journey with us. I do end up switching up sometimes too, but I seem to always have those same key ingredients.

      The journaling has been something that’s really helped me really “see” what God is saying to me in His Word. I have to say I LOVE Spurgeon and, of course, Joni.

      On a side note, I just learned a few weeks ago that she has breast cancer. You can check out her site to find out more. http://www.joniandfriends.org/

      Glad we’re digging together!

  5. Alexis permalink
    July 12, 2010 7:24 pm

    I am loving Scripture Dig!! You girls give great guidance in getting in the Word!

    What I do during my quiet time seems to vary. Sometimes I will read a book of the Bible, I am currently doing Kelly Minter’s bible study on Ruth. I like to read a Psalm and a Proverb. I will read a devotional, Dear Jesus by Sarah Young has been what I am reading or Kay Arthur’s I Give You This Day. In January, I am going to read through the Bible chronologically. Most days, I journal…I will journal a prayer about what God has showed me in his Word or about something that I have read that struck a cord and note Scripture that spoke to me and I would like to memorize.

    • stephanieshott permalink
      July 12, 2010 7:29 pm

      Alexis,
      I’m so glad you’re digging in with us. There’s nothing like spending time with the Living God! Sounds like you change it up sort of the same way I do. The names may change, but the key ingredients remain pretty much the same. 🙂

  6. July 13, 2010 11:15 am

    Stephanie, while I admire the time you are able to commit to study and prayer, I think we need to be careful that we don’t set this up as the standard that everyone must attain for success.

    My concern is that sometimes when I read others blogs and see the depth of their study and prayer I become intimidated and think I can’t possibly do that and then I give up, thinking that is the only way to do it.

    What I have loved about this site is the teaching aspect of “how to get there”. It has taken me far too long to learn that everyone must find their own style of study and comfort zone of their time spent with the Lord.

    Thank you so much for all you are doing with this site. I just love it!

    • stephanieshott permalink
      July 13, 2010 12:13 pm

      Hi Cherie,

      I couldn’t agree with you more! Life certainly happens and we can’t fit it all in all the time. That’s what I wrote about on an earlier post “How Much Time is Enough.”

      Right now, my world is chaotic to say the least. I don’t always fit it all in…in fact, that’s why I was sure to confess that I sometimes have to leave off reading for a season.

      When we share our “My Time to Dig” on Scripture Dig, it’s what we do on a normal basis. But life doesn’t always give us 40 minutes to an hour a day. The goal is to see our time with God as precious. Time to know Him more…time to grow in Him more. To guard it as much as humanly possible, but to also know that God not only sees our circumstances, He also sees our hearts.

      So, thanks for reminding us all that our time comstraints don’t always give us the opportunity to have the optimum quiet time. And thanks for digging with us. You have blessed us more than your know. 🙂

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