Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Kick-Start Your Quiet Time

I’ll never forget the day. I was a new Christian and sat down for what I knew would be barely a five-minute quiet time. Convicted, I confessed to God, “I know something has been standing in the way. I wake up and rush to work and barely spend a few minutes with You. I’m sorry, Lord.”

Later that night, I heard someone on TV talking about fasting. I’m not sure why, but right then and there, I decided I should fast – but from what? And for how long? The very next morning, after fixing my coffee, I sat down to pray and asked God, “From what should I fast, Lord?” The answer was as unexpected as it was unappetizing,

“Your coffee.”

“Oh no, Lord. Not that! I don’t think I heard you right.”

“You look forward to your morning coffee more than you look forward to Me.”

Ouch. But I knew He was right. I poured my coffee down the drain and spent the entire day with a fierce headache. Whenever it demanded my full attention, instead of reaching for a cup of coffee or taking an aspirin, I prayed. I thanked God for my job, prayed for my co-workers, the progress of my book, or whatever else came to mind – anything to get my mind off my headache. At about 4:30 pm, I couldn’t stand it any longer. I was at a client’s office, in between meetings with 20 minutes to spare. I grabbed my cell phone, stepped outside, and called my best friend, whining about my headache and the 30-day fast I had started.

“Did God actually ask you to fast for 30 days, or was that your idea?” she asked.

“Um…I didn’t ask about the time. I just assumed a fast was supposed to be 30 or 40 days.”

“Well, then why are you wasting time talking to me? You should talk to God and ask Him what He really wants.”

With still 15 minutes before my next meeting, I walked over to my car and slumped into the passenger seat. I pulled out the pocket-sized Bible I kept in the glove box and began flipping through the pages. My eyes fell on Psalm 94:3, “How long, Oh Lord?” Taking the verse entirely out of context, I looked up at the roof of my car, and pitifully cried out, “How long, Lord?”

“As long as it takes.”

“To do what?”

“To put me first…You see, my child, the headache you have is just a picture. This is how you suffer spiritually when you deprive yourself of time with Me in the morning.”

It was quite an “ah-ha” moment. It was not that God wanted to see me suffer or to deprive me of my morning cup of coffee, something I really enjoyed. He simply wanted it moved out of first place. First place is reserved for God. That’s why the length of the fast was never clear: it’s not about time, it’s about position.

When we choose to give God first place each morning, we invite Him to pour out His Spirit into our soul. And as we drink in His reviving goodness each morning, we will be filled with the strength, confidence, and spiritual vigor to face whatever may come our way.

“In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.” Psalm 5:3 (NIV)

Copyright © July 2017 by Shadia Hrichi, used with permission.

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