14. Mastering A Plan for Formal Time Together—Quiet Time
IA. A Bible Study on the Quiet Time
1B. The Needs of Man
1C. Pre-Fall: Man’s Need to Hear from God and Fellowship with Him
1D. Genesis 1:28-30
1:28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply! Fill the earth and subdue it! Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and every creature that moves on the ground. 1:29 Then God said, “I now give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the entire earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. 1:30 And to all the animals of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to all the creatures that move on the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food. It was so.
2D. Genesis 2:8-9, 15-17
2:8 The Lord God planted an orchard in the east, in Eden; and there he placed the man he had formed. 2:9 The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow from the soil, every tree that was pleasing to look at and good for food. (Now the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil were in the middle of the orchard.)…2:15 The Lord God took the man and placed him in the orchard in Eden to care for and maintain it. 2:16 Then the Lord God commanded the man, “You may freely eat fruit from every tree of the orchard, 2:17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will surely die.”
3D. Questions for Thought
1. Why do you think it was necessary for God to speak to Adam and Eve before the Fall? Weren’t they holy at that time?
2. To what areas of life does God speak in Genesis 1:28-30? How does that relate to today?
3. God’s word in Genesis 1:28-30 is a pronouncement of blessing and the issuing of certain commands. What new element is added to God’s word of command in Genesis 2:17? What does this teach you about hearing and listening to God’s word?
4. The words of God in Genesis presuppose that man has a relationship with God and can respond in that context. Why is a regular Quiet Time important in that light?
2C. Post-Fall: Man’s Need to Hear from God and Fellowship with Him
1D. Genesis 3:8
3:8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God moving about in the orchard at the breezy time of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the orchard.
2D. Verbal Revelation, Events, Theophanies, Visions, Jesus Christ
God has revealed himself in a diversity of ways according to (and in) Scripture. Hebrews 1:3 says that God spoke in times past in “many ways and in diverse manners.” He spoke directly with Adam and Eve, with Noah and with Abraham, for example. He also manifested himself through many different events, the primary one being the exodus of his people from Egypt (Exodus 12-15). Further, there were times throughout the OT that he revealed himself through theophanies, i.e., visible and audible manifestations (e.g., Genesis 18:1-2; Exodus 3:1-3), dreams (Genesis 28:10-17; 37:5-11; Daniel 2) and visions (Gen 15:1; 1 Chron 17:15; Acts 10). Supremely he has revealed himself in the incarnation (John 1:1, 14-18).
3D. Questions for Thought
1. What does Genesis 3:8 teach you about God’s desire to be with his people?
2. How do Adam and Eve respond to God’s presence after they’ve sinned, i.e., knowingly broke a commandment of God? What does it mean to try and hide from an omniscient and omnipresent God (cf. Jer 23:24)? How do we typically respond to God’s word and presence when we experience guilt for sin (cf. Jonah 1:1-3)? What do we need to do in this case (1 John 1:9)? How can a regular Quiet Time help with this (John 13:9-10)?
3. God has revealed himself in a great number of ways in the past. What does this teach you about Him? How has he finally and decisively revealed himself and what record do we have of that? How is the record itself (i.e., the Bible) a revelation from God (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21)? How does this last truth relate to a Quiet Time and hearing God’s voice?
2B. Examples of Godly Men
1C. Moses (Exodus 33:7-11)
33:7 Moses took the tent and pitched it outside the camp, at a good distance from the camp; and he called it the tent of meeting. And anyone seeking the Lord would go out to the tent of meeting that was outside the camp. 33:8 And when Moses went out to the tent, all the people would get up and stand at the entrance to their tents, and they would watch Moses until he entered the tent. 33:9 And whenever Moses entered the tent, the pillar of cloud would descend and stand at the entrance of the tent, and the Lord would speak with Moses. 33:10 When all the people would see the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance of the tent, all the people, each one at the entrance of his tent, would rise and worship. 33:11 And the Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. And then Moses would return to the camp; but his servant, Joshua son of Nun, a young man, did not leave the tent.
2C. David (Psalm 63:6)
63:6 whenever I remember you on my bed, and think about you during the nighttime hours.
3C. Daniel (Daniel 6:10)
6:10 When Daniel realized that a written decree had been issued, he entered his home, where the windows in his upper room opened toward Jerusalem. Three times daily he was kneeling and offering prayers and thanks to his God just as he had been accustomed to do previously.
4C. The Early Church (Acts 2:42)
2:42 They were devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
5C. Peter (Acts 3:1; 10:9)
3:1 Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time for prayer, at three o’clock in the afternoon.
10:9 About noon the next day, while they were on their way and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray.
6C. Paul (Acts 16:16)
16:16 Now as we were going to the place of prayer, a slave girl met us who had a spirit that enabled her to foretell the future by supernatural means. She brought her owners a great profit by fortune-telling.
7C. Questions for Thought
1. According to Exodus 33:7-11 Moses enjoyed great privilege before God and frequent access to his thrilling presence. But through Christ we now live in the holy of holies, through his Spirit (1 Cor 3:16; Eph 2:18; Heb 10:19-25). God will speak to us “face to face” through his word if we draw aside and humbly accept his word to us (James 1:21; 1 Peter 2:1-3). This is great motivation for investing the effort to seek God in a Quiet Time.
2. In Psalm 63:6, when did David think about God? Following his example, what could you do along similar lines?
3. What drove Daniel with passion to be alone with God and seek his face? Was this a one time thing for Daniel? What things in your life is God using to bring you to himself in a meaningful and radical way? What things in your culture cause you to want to go to God and seek his guidance? Are you letting him have his way? Meet with him to discern what’s going on in your life and the lives of those around you. Let the Quiet Time with God be the center of your relationship with him and out of that minister love to those in need in your circle of influence. Think of the Quiet Time as a chance to spend time with someone you love.
4. What four elements were essential in the early church’s meetings? How much better would our local church involvement be if throughout the week we sought God on a daily and regular basis?
5. NOTE: Sometimes God will reveal extremely important things to you as you meditate on his word and pray. Of course, he revealed the “inclusion of the Gentiles into the church” to Peter through a vision (Peter sought him in prayer and God revealed his will). He may do that sort of thing for you, but again his primary method (not the only method, however; for God also uses the people of God and circumstances) for leading and guiding his people is through marrying His inspired word (i.e., Scripture) to our hearts and consciences through his indwelling Spirit.
6. In Acts 16:16 Luke says that Paul and he were going to find a place of prayer. It is clear that Paul and Luke understood that seeking God must be done on a regular basis. It is indeed a habit of holiness. How does this relate to your life and the discipline of Quiet Time?
3B. The Example of Jesus
1C. Mark 1:35
1:35 Then Jesus got up early in the morning when it was still very dark, departed, and went out to a deserted place, and there he spent time in prayer.
2C. Matthew 4:4
4:4 But he answered, “It is written, ‘Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
3C. Matthew 14:23/Mark 6:46
14:23 And after he sent the crowds away, he went up the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone.
4C. Luke 5:15-16
5:15 But the news about him spread even more, and large crowds were gathering together to hear him and to be healed of their illnesses. 5:16 Yet Jesus himself frequently withdrew to the wilderness and prayed.
5C. Luke 6:12
6:12 Now it was during this time that he went out to the mountain to pray, and he spent all night in prayer to God.
6C. Luke 9:18
9:18 Once when Jesus was praying by himself, and his disciples were nearby, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?”
7C. Luke 11:1
11:1 Now Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he stopped, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”
8C. Questions for Thought
1. What does Mark 1:35 teach you about Jesus’ need to be with the Father and his phenomenal commitment to ensure that he was? Read earlier in Mark 1 and describe the context of Mark 1:35. Busy-ness is a part of living in our society, but we must take steps, as best we can, to ensure that his word does not get choked out of our lives.
2. In Joshua 1:8 the Lord told Joshua that success in his obedience and ministry before the Lord was tied to his meditation on the word of God. In Matthew 4:4 what does Jesus say about that Word? What is the context of Jesus’ statement in Matthew 4:1-11? Quiet Time is a good place to practice the presence of God through meditation on his word.
3. What does Matthew 14:23 and especially Luke 5:15-16 and 6:12 say about Jesus and his relationship with God? Why do you think Jesus prayed so much? What does that seem to imply about our relationship with God?
4. What occurred as a result of Jesus praying so often? Read Luke 11:1.
4B. A Practical Suggestion
I suggest not trying to read through the Bible in one year in your Quiet Time. This means reading three of four chapters at a time and most people take quite a long time to do that. Rather, read a psalm or a paragraph in the Gospels or Paul and meditate on that. See if there are Sins to forsake, Promises to claim, Errors to avoid, Examples to follow, something new about God (the Father, Son, or Spirit). Pray before reading the passage and then pray while reading through it. After you have done this, worship and adore the Lord in praise and prayer (using music is helpful). Then pray for your various concerns including job, family, friends, etc.
The entire Quiet Time could take 10 minutes or 30 or more; the goal is to know and honor God and benefit your spiritual life and growth. For further help on studying and understanding the Bible, see my “How To Study A Book of the Bible” at the website: www.bible.org.
IIA. Synthesis, Practical Applications, and Training
1C. Ongoing Applications
1D. To have a Quiet Time each day.
2D. To establish a Bible reading program to use in your Quiet Time.
3D. To practice the habit of writing in a journal.
4D. To be able to help another have a consistent Quiet Time.
5D. To have one Quiet Time a week with your spouse.
2C. Special Applications
1D. To organize a weekend retreat focusing on and practicing Quiet Time.
2D. To read a book devoted to this subject.
3C. Training Objective and Activities
Objective: to help the new believer establish the daily habit of drawing aside to hear from God and fellowship with Him (1 Cor 1:9).