7 Ways to have a quiet time when you don’t have quiet or time

quiet time

“You dropped your head.”

That’s what he tells me as we leave church.  He points to a spot on the floor with this twinkle in his eye, just waiting for me to fall for the joke he’s played on me many times before.

He gets us all the time.  “Your shoe is untied,” when you’re wearing ballet flats without laces.  “You dropped your head” and people look to see if their head actually is rolling around on the floor, abandoned.

But I don’t even move my eyes. I just lean right over to him, pat him on the arm, and say, “You know what, I probably did.  I probably did drop my head.”

Some days, you know?

Some days maybe you feel like you’ve been running around without any command center on top of your shoulders to help you hold it all together.

You feel a little famished, starving for time in the Word.

You feel a little parched, desperate for the Living Water of His presence.

You feel maybe like you really are missing that head of yours.

One missed quiet time turns into a week and then a month and more if we’re not careful.  Sometimes we think if we can’t pray for a solid hour on our knees in a prayer closet, or if we can’t finish a whole Beth Moore lesson in one uninterrupted sitting, or we miss a day or two in our devotional or our Bible reading plan, then maybe we just need to wait until we can get it perfect.

If you can’t do it right, why do it at all?

Why?   Because we’ll drop our heads, that’s why.  We have to be women of the Word and women of prayer even if it means we need to adapt and adjust for the busiest seasons of life.

Maybe it means we just hold on for dear life to the hem of Jesus’ robe until life finally brings us to a place where we can sit uninterrupted at His feet again.

Sometimes faith has to be on-the-go…..and the good news is that God’s presence can invade the minivan.

Here are 7 ways to have a quiet time when you don’t have quiet or time:

1. Make a Bible To-Go Bag:  Keep a bag in your car with anything you might need for an impromptu quiet time while you wait in the minivan to pick up your kids: a devotional you only use for those times, paper, pens, and an extra Bible or maybe just a Bible app on your smartphone.

2. Find Great Bible Apps:  Load your phone with apps that will let you read the Bible, listen to the audio Bible, tune into podcasts, read devotionals, memorize Scripture, and keep a prayer log.  I’ve listed my favorites below.  Here are some of my favorites:

  • Bible (by LifeChurch.tv)
  • BibleGateway
  • BibleMinded
  • PrayerNotes
  • Scripture Typer

3. Use Prayer Prompts:  Pray while cooking dinner, doing dishes, folding laundry, driving home from work.  Pick specific places or activities that will remind you to pray every time you do them.

4. Break it up:  I don’t have time to read a devotional, read the Bible, do a Bible study, write in my journal and pray all at once.  I need to do these things all day long, a little here, a little there, grabbing time when I can.  Try breaking up your quiet time into 10-minute activities you can spread throughout your day.

5. Do it with your kids:  If your kids have memory verses for their church activities, memorize the verses with them.  Read the book of Matthew together and choose a devotional to read as a family.

6. Exercise your faith:  People often jog to their favorite work-out music or hop on the exercise bike and watch TV.  Try replacing that with God-time.  If you’re on the exercise bike, you can read your Bible or devotionals or listen to podcasts of sermons.  If you’re walking or jogging, you can be listening to worship music, sermon podcasts, an audio Bible, or just praying.

7. Study online: I help to lead online Bible studies at The Womens Bible Cafe.  I love that I can spend one hour in accountability, fellowship and encouragement and I can do it while my baby is napping in the next room.  You can also check out online studies with Proverbs31 Ministries and Love God Greatly.

Most importantly, give yourself grace:  If you expect the perfect quiet time to happen, then you’ll likely give up completely and never take time for God.  And you’ll probably drop your head.  Take every opportunity to spend time with Jesus even if it’s short, messy, interrupted, and on-the-go.  If you fall behind, don’t get overwhelmed. Just start fresh where you are supposed to be and keep going.  And when the day is done, rest well and start fresh with new mercies for a new day.

How do you make time for God when you don’t have quiet or time?

To read more about this 12-month journey of pursuing the presence of Christ, you can follow the links below!  Won’t you join me this month as I ‘Find the Sacred in the Ordinary’?

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, is available now!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2014 Heather King

A Message for Monday

My resolution for today:

To breathe in and breathe out, deep taking in of peace and pushing out of contentment.  No catching my breath in anxiety, hyperventilating stress, and rushing to the point of breathless exhaustion.

Just breathe.  Move through the day without giving into the push, push, push of “faster, more, do, accomplish, check off the list, get it done.”  Walk as I vacuum, walk as I put away the clothes.  Make that phone call without simultaneously folding underwear and t-shirts.

And spend time with Jesus for relationship not for task-completion.

The temptation is there, of course.  It’s the curse of Monday.  All of the spillover from last week, the messages to read through and answer after taking a Sabbath from all of that “connection” over the weekend, and the new tasks ahead clamor at me for attention.

What was that email I needed to send?
Wasn’t there someone I needed to call?
What did my kids need for school today?
Was I behind on my reading, my commitments?
Didn’t I need to print this for the week and pack that for tonight and fill out that form and mail back that letter?

It’s a million tiny things nipping at the heels of my Jesus-focused life, yipping and yapping until I turn my attention from Him.matt11

And then when I do sit down to rest at His feet, dear Father, oh my Father, I am so thankful to be in Your presence ….

Still I fail.  Still I pop up every few minutes for the ding of the laundry and the starting of the meal in the Crock-Pot (must give it 6 to 8 hours to cook!), and the reminder of something else needing to be done.

My time with Him becomes stilted, becomes stale, becomes necessary without being the fresh oxygen in my soul I need for very survival and beyond that, the abundant life He promises.  Necessary only because it’s an assignment, like homework for school.

It’s more like: Read the assigned Bible reading.  Check.  Read the passage in the study for this week’s group discussion.  Check.  Complete the other Bible study . . . while interrupted and racing against the clock:


I wonder if He’d prefer if I just skipped it all rather than flop down at this kitchen table half-hearted and thinking about 50 things clearly more important than He is to me in that moment.

This isn’t relationship.  This is business.

In his book, Prayer, Richard J. Foster wrote:

“Today the heart of God is an open wound of love.  He aches over our distance and preoccupation.  He mourns that we do not draw near to him.  He grieves that we have forgotten him.  He weeps over our obsession with muchness and manyness.  He longs for our presence…

We do not need to be shy.  He invites us into the living room of his heart, where we can put on old slippers and share freely.  he invites us into the kitchen of his friendship, where chatter and batter mix in good fun.  He invites us into the dining room of his strength, where we can feast to our heart’s delight….” (p. 1)

Maybe that’s my problem.  I’ve been barely acknowledging His presence at times at my kitchen table.  Perhaps I should take up His invitation to hang out in His kitchen.  To eat in His presence and share in good company and the intimacy of friendship, not on my terms, but at His offering.

In a similar way, Joni Eareckson Tada writes:

 “God always uses such intimate language when He relates to us.  He paints warm images of sheltering us under His wings, holding us in the palm of His hand, or drawing us close to His breast.  He’s so personal with us, why shouldn’t we be with Him?” (Diamonds in the Dust, p. 288).

At the Last Supper, the apostle John leaned against Jesus, drew in close and rested against the Savior, even while realizing that Jesus was about to be betrayed (John 13:25).

Why be more like Peter, who in shame and frustration, perhaps even anger at the destruction of his plans and agenda, certainly in fear…”followed him (Jesus) at a distance” (Matthew 26:58) after Christ’s arrest.

Sure, I’m always following, I’m a faithful kind of girl, trailing after God always.  But sometimes I’m just stepping into the imprint of His footsteps rather than walking by His side, following out of obedience only, mostly out of distracted busyness and duty.

Today I resolve to breathe in and breathe out, to linger here at the table with Jesus and lean into His presence.  No rushing up from the meal to pursue my own agenda.  No skimming through the page of Scripture to get to the end of the assigned reading.

Leaning into Jesus.  Breathing in and breathing out.  Then walking side by side with Him into my day, not tripping along behind: holding His hand and chatting along the journey.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her upcoming book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, was released in November 2013!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2012 Heather King