There are two things I have been frequently asked in the last 5 years: 1. How do you manage to do all you do? and 2. How do you do quiet time?
The most truthful answer to #1 is I DON’T KNOW. I honestly don’t. HOWEVER if there is anything I will attribute my successful time management skills to, it’s PRAYER TIME. It is having that silent, alone time early in the morning to pray and reflect and be still before the day even begins.
If you are a mother you know that our days are always long. We wake up early to make breakfast for our families before they even wake up. We get ready for work too before they get up so that we can personally get them ready especially if you have a girl whose hair needs more time to be prettified and fixed. Then we sit down and hope to enjoy breakfast unrushed; taking time to talk about last night’s dreams and today’s plans. Then we clean up and head to school to drop off our kids. All of that in supposedly just 2 hours maybe?
If lets say you work on a 9-5 job or flexitime, you pick up your kids in school then drive them home, breathe a bit then start to don your apron to make dinner. While dinner is simmering, you squeeze in tutor or checking of notebooks to get memos and see if there are homeworks. Then you savor dinner over prolonged conversation on how everybody’s day went. You proceed to washing the dishes while the kids play a little and then you get them ready for bed. Because kids need to be in bed by 8 (did you know that?). But before sleeping, there’s more and more talking and reading and singing. By the time your kids are asleep, you may probably be falling asleep too! (Most of the time I fall asleep first! Can you relate?) So it’s either it’s time for you to drop to your bed or maybe fix the bills or segregate your laundry or plan the next days meals (the possibilities are endless). Oh, but if you have a husband, when the children are asleep then it’s time to attend to your spouse.
So my question now is: when do you really only have time with yourself, to be yourself? You just being you and not playing any roles? Only in the morning when everyone else is sound asleep. That is the magic time I do my alone time. The only decent time I can sit down, enjoy and finish my coffee hot and read undisturbed and reflect and watch Mr. Sun come up. Not at night when I am already consumed from wearing so many hats and drained from all the expelled energy.
I love waking up at 5am when it’s still dark. I love the silence and stillness of everything. For me, the best time of the day to read the Bible, pray and reflect is in the morning. Before life gets crazy and you log in as a mother (but if you’re not one then before you go to work or fulfil all your responsibilities and obligations). Why you ask? Because your mind is still fresh and empty, ready to be filled by The Word. It is what most would say, the calm before the storm. You prepare YOURSELF before you face your responsibilities to OTHERS. So despite the gazillions of things to do, I manage because I pray to keep my sanity intact. I already have PEACE first thing in the morning. I already have the Armor of God to protect me and help me get through what life will throw at me for the day.
It has been a habit for me for 5 years now, to wake up at 5 and spend my first hour with my #1. To MAKE time for it even though I slept late the night before, I would wake up happy and excited because simply, God woke me up.
So HOW exactly do I do my quiet time? I am unsure if there is any guaranteed formula out there but let me share with you my method in the following steps:
- When I open my eyes I stretch and thank the Lord. It is good to always start your day with an attitude of gratitude. Thank you Lord for waking me up today. Thank you Lord for today. Thank you Lord for another day.
- I get up and heat water for my coffee and head to the bathroom to wash my face.
- I get my Bible and devotional book and ballpen. Make my coffee and sit down at the dining table. I transfer to the balcony after reading when it’s reflection and prayer time.
- Before I open my Bible I ask: Lord what do you want to tell me today? What is Your message for me today? Please speak to me and speak to me clearly.
- Then I read the chapter assigned for the day. My NIV Life Application Bible has a study guide and schedule that pretty much covers the whole Bible. But if you will start on your own, best to start with the Book of John.
- I read the verses and the explanations at the bottom (that’s why I like the life application Bible because it expounds and gives additional information and insights on the verses).
- I pause. What line/s resonated with me? Which lines did I feel God’s conviction? “Saan ako tinamaan?” Then I think… Why did I feel that way upon reading that? Why does it feel like the words jumped out of the Bible and there seems to be a specific message for me in between the lines?
- Then I proceed to read my devotional for the day. Then also ruminate. What is the Lord trying to tell me through my reading for today? You know most of the time, especially on days I miss having alone time and I look back at the devos I missed and recount the events on those days, I realize that I needed those messages for me on that particular day. Something like I would have dealt better with had I read the devo for that day, in the morning before facing that situation.
- After reading, and by that time the sun is about to come out, I go to our balcony, look out the horizon and marvel the sunrise and then talk to God. Like how I would with a friend. Because God is my Father and my Bestfriend whom I can say anything and everything to. After saying my intentions (forgiveness, provision, guidance, wisdom, conviction, blessing, protection etc.) I keep quiet and listen.
- Finally, I invite the Holy Spirit to fill me, to guide me as I walk, as I talk, as I choose. I ask for grace that is sufficient for my needs for the day. I smile and thank God again for a new day.
One valuable thing I learned about prayer from the book “Connected ka ba?” by Rei Crizaldo is that it is a 2-way communication with the Lord. Prayer is not just you saying your intentions. For it to be a complete communication cycle, you must also listen. Let The Person you talked to and who listened to you also communicate and speak to you. Your role then would be to listen.
Take a moment to listen to what God has to say to you. Most of the time we ask for things in prayer, and we do not take the time to listen, we miss out on the answer. I have experienced numerous times that the answers to our prayers and the messages we seek to hear come in the form of a reading and quiet whispers in our hearts. And we can only hear if we are still and quiet. So if you truly want to hear, LISTEN. 🙂
I pray that this guide will help you in developing a more intimate relationship with the Lord. You’d always want to be constantly communicating with him, so that whenever you call, especially at a time of need, He will hear you.
God bless you!