One issue that I commonly talk about with other moms is how hard it is to have consistent, meaningful daily quiet times—otherwise known as time spent reading the Bible and in prayer.
I remember during the breastfeeding days when it was everything I could do to stay awake. I would try to read my Bible on my phone or pray, but my brain was in such a fog that I couldn’t focus. And I felt guilty. Prior to kids, I was very consistent about digging and learning everything I could about God in my daily quiet times—sometimes up to an hour a day!
And then…you know the story. Even past the baby stage, it can be tough to get any stretch of time during which I’m not distracted with noise and my to-do list.
There are a lot of reasons this habit tends to slip. Not only are we busy and exhausted, but we lose motivation. And the Bible isn’t exactly “easy reading.” I can’t tell you how many people I know have tried starting from Genesis…and gave up entirely around the time they hit Leviticus.
But sometimes the issue isn’t time; it’s that we’re in a spiritual rut and are having a hard time getting inspired.
Daily Quiet Times: How Busy, Tired Moms Can Get Motivated
Are Daily Quiet Times Even Necessary?
Many of us assume that daily quiet times are something we just have to do. But guess what? There isn’t a must-follow commandment in the Bible about this. We live in a unique time and place in history where most of us 1. can read, and 2. have easy access to a Bible. This wasn’t always the case.
I imagine many generations of mamas past who couldn’t read. Perhaps they only knew a few select passages of scripture that they picked up with a baby on their hip at Sunday morning meetings (which was hardly like church as we know it today). In fact, the earliest Christians didn’t have the New Testament as we know it at all! The apostles’ letters got circulated to some extent, and what we now call the Old Testament was widely spread; but an actual book that you could hold and write in and read aloud to your children? Such a thing would have only been a dream. People relied heavily on a few letters, personal testimony and oral traditions.
Having said that, isn’t the accessibility we have an incredible blessing? English-speakers in particular today have multiple translations they can choose from, study guides, highly educated scholars they can consult online, and much more.
But going back to the question: are daily quiet times really necessary to know God?
Let’s Talk About Relationship
My position: no, they aren’t necessary. And yes, I’ve skipped a few of my daily quiet times over the past 15 years as a Christian. But, while the aren’t required per se, I still contend that getting in the Word and praying daily is very highly encouraged and recommended. Because if you know God the way I do, a personal, dynamic relationship is with him is at the core of your faith.
Another perspective in response to this issue: I remember someone once saying, “No…but your question concerns me.”
If you’re over-the-moon for someone as amazingly awesome as Jesus, wouldn’t you want to connect with him every day? Even briefly? Furthermore, the Bible sets an example of daily relationship for God and his people. David talks about the way he prays: “In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly” (Psalm 5:3). And Jesus himself followed this model: “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed” (Mark 1:35). Many of us say we want something like this, but we continue to struggle.
Recently I was talking to a friend who triumphantly told me that, for the first time in her ten-year Christian walk, she was able and excited to read the Bible daily. Over the past few months she had gone through grief recovery counseling about a childhood trauma, and it felt like a burden had been lifted. When asked what finally helped her, she said, “I had just never fully trusted God before. It wasn’t until I processed that pain that I could give my whole heart to him.”
What’s your story? If there’s anything holding you back, I’d encourage you to do some soul-searching and seek healing. Perhaps that will require counseling; or perhaps it will just take some serious self-reflection. Personally, I find that more often than not, connecting in a meaningful way with God is not just about finding more time. It’s about digging deep and working through why you’re holding back your whole heart.
If you’re not sure how to pursue this kind of healing, prayer is always a good place to start. I also have a free worksheet in my resource collection for Christian moms that can help you get started (sign up at the bottom of this post).
Think Outside the Box
What do you think a daily quiet time should look like? Perhaps you have a rigid idea in your head: you should read so many chapters, so many minutes per day, take copious notes and pray a very specific set of prayers. While some people take a lot of comfort in set rituals (and there’s nothing wrong with them if they help you), many of us feel like there’s something wrong with us when we can’t make this a practical reality.
That was the hurdle I encountered. I simply couldn’t have daily quiet times as a new mom the same way that I had them as a college student.
Let me tell you something right now, mama friend, in case you’re unaware: you’re okay. Nothing is wrong with you. This struggle is real and completely normal.
The most consistent advice I’ve heard is this: do what you can. For you, maybe that means one verse a day for a time. As I explained in my last post about Bible verses for overwhelmed moms, I had a season when I wrote my favorite verses on notecards and pulled them out whenever I felt like I was going to lose it. These verses have laid the foundation for my mama verses series, which you can also get access to if you sign up for my free resource collection.
Next week I’ll post some practical suggestions and ideas for daily quiet times if you just don’t know where to start. I had originally set out to write about those, but I ended up having a full-length post just talking about the heart and motivation, which is important to explore first. I’d encourage you to do that soul-searching I talked about above so you can get your heart in the right place for connecting with God. I’ve got a free worksheet with prompts if you need help exploring your personal motivation, which you can download by signing up for my free resource collection below.
Do you struggle with daily quiet times? What do you think will help you get back on track?