Help! I Want To Have Consistent Quiet Times!

Susan Narjala   |   January 11, 2023 

A year or so ago I decided to give intermittent fasting a trial run. If you’re familiar with the practice, I attempted the 16/8 model where I planned to abstain from food for 16 hours and follow it up with an 8-hour eating window. I know thousands of people across the world have had dazzling success with this diet plan. Let’s just say, I was not one of them. For the time I was awake during the 16-hour fast period, one thing and one thing alone consumed my mind—food. I could think of nothing except for when I could break my fast and wolf down my next meal.

Just as I craved food when I was fasting, do we crave spiritual food when we don’t consume it?

As the new year begins, many of us have the desire to spend more time in the Word. We long to be consistent with our quiet times. We have an appetite for the Bible. But, unlike my experience with intermittent fasting, the less we consume the Word, the weaker our appetite for it seems to become.

If we avoid the Bible long enough, it begins to feel unfamiliar, possibly distasteful. We may have gorged on easier-to-consume, more attractively packaged fare that is approved by the world but may be contrary to the Word.

While I don’t claim to have cracked the code on consistent quiet times, in the last few years, I’ve truly come to love my time in the Word.

How did that happen?

I don’t have a particular “strategy," I'm simply sharing from personal experience. No, Bible reading didn’t come “naturally” to me. For years, my Bible gathered dust and my heart grew cold toward God. But, God drew me back with chords of love. And He does the same for you. Bible reading was a discipline that I needed to build up. But here’s what I discovered: The more time I spent in the Word, the more I craved it.

I would liken it to those who love running outdoors. Perhaps they didn’t start out with a passion for running. But after huffing and puffing their way through one mile and then building to a second or even a third, over time, they can’t do without their daily runs.

Without my time at God’s feet, my soul feels parched. It’s my daily “workout” time with God. It’s a daily feeding and watering of my soul.

I don’t believe there’s a “magic formula” to ensuring that we have daily, meaningful devotional times, but here are five simple thoughts to consider:

1. Perfect conditions don’t usually exist

If you delay your devotion time till the house is quiet, the inbox is empty and the chores are done and dusted, it is unlikely to happen. One of the most liberating ideas that I came across recently is that quiet times don’t have to be quiet at all. You may have to contend with barking dogs, yelling kids, loud neighbours and persistent doorbells. Read the Word even if the kids are using you as their trampoline or if the neighbours are playing Bollywood songs at ear-splitting decibel levels. The important thing is to get that Word in—not as a ritual but because you desperately need God.

2. Go straight to the Word

Supplementary material is exactly that—supplemental. You don’t need a “middleman” between God and you. This idea revolutionised my devotional life. Choose a book of the Bible and simply commit to reading it chapter by chapter. The Holy Spirit will make it come alive to you. He will be your interpreter. I’ve got nothing against devotionals and have written a bunch of them myself. But there is nothing like uncovering beautiful treasures in God’s Word for yourself. By all means, use your concordance, commentary, study notes and devotionals. But first, go to the Word and simply read it for yourself.

3. Become your own devotional writer

Get a journal and start writing down your thoughts on these two simple questions: 1) What does this passage reveal about God? 2) What does this passage reveal about myself or the human condition?

We have a God who speaks to us personally and powerfully. Don’t let the stunning wonder of that pass you by. Let it sink in. Create your own little daily devotional by diving into the Word and writing down how God ministers to your heart and mind.

4. Warm your heart through prayer and worship

Start with prayer. Acknowledge who God is. Worship Him in spirit and in truth. Pray back to Him what He reveals through His Word. Read what God says to you and respond by speaking back to Him. Ponder the Word and then pray the Word.

5. Preach to yourself

God’s Word is not meant to be passive. It is alive and active. It is powerful. But only if we use it. Ponder the Word. Pray the Word. And then preach the Word to yourself. When you go through trials, stand on His promises. When you face temptations, counter the enemy with the truth. When you’re in life’s waiting rooms, let the Word counsel you.

Will there be lighting bolt moments every time you sit down to read the Bible? Very unlikely. But there will be grace droplets that fall on the parched soil of your soul, quenching and satisfying it over the course of time.

Devotional life requires discipline—but it doesn’t have to be a drag and it is never drudgery. It is a vibrant time with your Creator. It’s making a daily deposit in your life. It will hold you through life’s ebbs and flows. It won’t always be easy to spend time in the Word or even to understand it. But it will always be worth it. The God of the universe leans in to speak to you and me. The question is, are we listening?


Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash




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When she's not smuggling chocolate past her kids or drinking gallons of coffee, Susan Narjala can be found writing, baking and (thinking about) working out. She grew up in Chennai, lived in Portland, Oregon, for the last ten years and is now back in India with her family. She finds nuggets of humour in the everyday, and writes about it on on her blog,

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