Let’s be honest, there is really no right way to spend time with the Lord, but the key is just doing it! I would like to share what has worked for me and maybe it could be helpful as you navigate through your walk with the Lord. First, let’s take a look at this awesome scripture in John 10:3-5 as Jesus shares in this parable, “The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”
In my opinion, this scripture is the cornerstone in hearing from the Lord. Many new believers have had the question, “Am I hearing from the Holy Spirit? Or is that just me? Or is that really God’s Voice?” The questions roll as they try to differentiate from the voices in their head. But God’s goal, and our goal should be to HEAR the Voice of our Shepherd, the Holy Spirit. In verse 4 and 5 it says that the sheep KNOW his voice, and continues to say the voice of a stranger they will NEVER follow! In fact, they will RUN from him! The sheep know the gatekeeper/shepherds voice because of the immense amount of time they have spent with him. They’ve heard that voice day and night. That same voice has fed them, bandaged their wounds, protected them, maybe even playfully bantered with them as they pounced around in the sun of the day. The Shepherd, the gatekeeper was trusted because of the time they had spent with him. God wants the same for us, that because of the time we spend with Him consistently, we would easily recognize His voice. We should get to the point where, just as we recognize mom’s voice on the phone and don’t have to ask, “Who is this?”, we should arrive at the same place in listening to the Holy Spirit.
How did I learn to hear the Voice of the Holy Spirit?
I was a new teacher of Spanish and Bible. I spent my prep period in the library, in the beginning stages of navigating through how to have a Quiet Time. I had read a book entitled, Good Morning Holy Spirit, and this book put that craving and desire, like the author, to truly HEAR from the Holy Spirit. I desired and craved a relationship with my Father. I wanted the Bible to be more than just a book, I wanted it to come alive. I. Was. Hungry.
After spending a few minutes journaling my thoughts, my next goal was to hear from the Holy Spirit. My methods, possibly unconventional, but ultimately they worked. I was easily distracted, so to combat this, I closed my eyes and plugged my ears in my attempts to hear this Voice. As I sat, I squinted my eyes tightly shut, I pictured a cement wall starting at the top of my brain and slowly coming down while simultaneously pushing all the thoughts out. As a blank slate, I then said, “Good Morning Father,” and waited to hear a response back. Sure it was not an audible, booming sound in the library, but I would hear that still small Voice respond, “Good Morning Amy.” From that point, I would write down whatever I felt like the Holy Spirit was impressing upon me or telling me.
I wasn’t sure if I was doing this “quiet time” thing right? No one had ever taught me “how” to spend time with the Lord. I was in new territory. As I would open up my Bible to read the Word, I distinctly remember the FIRST time where the Word confirmed what I had heard from the Holy Spirit only minutes before. I was led to a certain area of scripture, and it had been almost exactly what the Holy Spirit had impressed on me while journaling minutes before. WHOOOOO HOOOOOOO! I was gaining ground! It was working! I was REALLY hearing from the Holy Spirit! I was REALLY hearing!!! I was ECSTATIC!
And that’s how it all began. Sure, today, I don’t have to squint my eyes tightly shut and plug my ears in order to hear. But the years of spending that daily time has compounded on my ability to hear the Voice of the Helper, the Comforter, the Guide, the Holy Spirit. Some days His Voice has come to comfort. Some days He has been a Guide. Other days, He has simply been a Friend. But, I can tell you this much, like it says in John 10:5, the voice of a stranger, they will not follow, in fact they will run! This is true. When I hear three different voices: my own thoughts in my head, the enemy (satan) and the Holy Spirit, I can differentiate who is who. Why? Because of the consistent TIME that I have spent in the Word, reading the Word, purposefully sitting and listening to the Holy Spirit.
Recap – The 4 Things I do:
- I journal
- I listen to the Holy Spirit
- I write down what I feel like He has said.
- I read the Bible
A couple of things I implement:
- No social media before I have my quiet time. – When I wake up in the morning, I am refreshed. I had started to notice, that when I looked at Facebook, Instagram, Twitter… and now SnapChat BEFORE having my Quiet Time, it brought chaos into my fresh and peaceful brain. I felt led to NOT look at any of this until AFTER I spent time in the Word and listening to the Holy Spirit.
- Kids — We have 4. Their ages are 6, 4, 2 and almost 1. When they bound into our room wanting breakfast and I’m not done having my quiet time, I simply ask them, “Have you read your Bible yet?” Now, granted, my kindergartener is just learning how to read, and my 4 year old knows her letters…. but “reading the Bible” to them is more the emphasis of letting them know that THIS IS IMPORTANT. This is a PRIORITY in our LIVES. In our house, we are going to LIVE by the Word of God, and spending time with Him takes precedent over our kids. Don’t get me wrong, they eventually get their breakfast, maybe just not when they “snap their fingers” for me to get up! 🙂 Our goal is to instill in them, even at this young age that reading our Bible and spending time with the Lord is important.
Some tools that might help: Devotionals are a great starter when you are unsure of where to read, or you just want some help in building a foundation. Though I no longer use a devotional for my own quiet time, I’m a big fan of them! I do still read a lot of spiritual books and listen to great audio’s and podcasts. Here are a few different ideas you may want to implement in helping with a Quiet Time.
- Faith to Faith – One of my very FAVORITE devotionals. I’ve had several years where I just read it and then started it over the next year, then started it again the next year. 365 different devotions of great, solid teaching! This can be found at www.kcm.org
- Everyday Promises – We became a monthly partner with Joyce Meyer and she sent us this free 365 day Devotional entitled Everyday Promises (or something like that).
- A Proverb per day. – There are 31 Proverbs and typically 31 days in a month. On March 16th, read Proverbs 16. On April 26, read Proverbs 26. Reading these Proverbs each month, even over and over, help learn a LOT and makes for an easy reading plan! 🙂
- YouVersion – Get a Bible Reading plan on YouVersion.com, or download their app to your phone. – On busy mornings, you can also pull up this app and it will READ OUT-LOUD to you! Tyler does this in the mornings when he has to leave early and doesn’t have time to sit down long.
- Meditate on 1 scripture or section of scriptures. – This can be really eye-opening. You may take one verse, read it over and over on the same morning. Quietly, then out-loud, maybe also write it down. You can also look up that same verse in several different versions of the Bible to get a different insight into it. Some of my other favorite places to do this are: www.BibleGateway.com, www.blueletterBible.com, www.biblehub.com – When reading the same story over and over, ie: like the story of Joseph, you can gain different insight over time, like a LIGHTBULB just goes off in your head!
I hope these few ideas can be helpful! ONE Word from the Lord can help you to STAND as you are working to accomplish your dreams and goals. Not giving up is half the battle, and when you know you have GOD on your side, you already know you have WON!
Be blessed my friend! I’d love to hear from you… how do YOU have your quiet time? What have you found to be helpful?