Having a daily quiet time can be one of the biggest struggles for busy moms (and others!). Whether you’ve been doing it for 20+ years or you’re trying to start a brand new habit, it can be really tough digging into the Bible and praying when you’ve got kid boogers all over your shirt, bags under your eyes, and barely more than two uninterrupted seconds on any given day.
Sometimes we get into a rut not just because we lack the time, but because we lack the focus and motivation to get started.
Related: Daily Quiet Times: How Busy, Tired Moms Can Get Motivated
Even when we’re motivated, however, it can still feel a bit overwhelming or uninspiring: where to even begin?
That’s why I thought it would be fun to compile a bucket list of ways you can connect with God in your personal quiet times. I see lots of posts about date ideas with your spouse; why not have some date ideas with God?
Personally, I need to mix things up sometimes. When you have your whole life to get to know someone, whether he be your earthly husband or Jesus, the same thing day after day after day can get a little dull. While there’s certainly value in routine, my husband and I enjoy taking little adventures together. I want to be that way with God.
Too often I hear people speaking with guilt about how they just can’t into this “read the Bible and pray” routine they think they should be following. If it’s not working for you, try something else; mix it up. A dynamic relationship with God does not have to fit into any particular box.
This list is for you whether you don’t know where to start or you need to rekindle your passion for God. It’s not a must-do list; these are simply ideas to help you get inspired.
Quiet Time Bucket List: 20 Ways to Build Intimacy with God
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Studying the Bible
Have you ever tried reading the Bible from the beginning and then get stuck somewhere around Leviticus? You wouldn’t be the first! Here are some ways you can read the Bible during your quiet times that are more than just…reading the Bible.
Write the Word: It’s pretty simple. Instead of reading, why not try copying passages of scripture as you work through them? This is a good way to read the Bible and pray at the same time (gasp!). I made a little video about how I’ve been using this method in my own life:
The R.E.S.T. Method: Read. Engage. Savor. Take charge. Kaylene Yoder has a ten-day challenge to help you work through it.
Verse Mapping: If you’re scatterbrained and need things to be visual, check out this tip from Arabah Joy. You take one passage and discover new insights by drawing it out. This is a great option for we non-artistic types because it doesn’t have to be pretty!
The Color Method: Color code verses as your read them to help you visualize the message. Check out this guide to help you get started, or invent your own system.
Study Guides: Personally I think there’s a big difference between a fluffy devotional that has sprinklings of biblical teachings and an in-depth guide that helps you dig much deeper. She Reads Truth has some excellent, engaging studies.
Reading Plans: I’m a simple kind of reader, and a simple plan is helpful for me. I’ve gone through several annual Bible reading plans, which only takes a few minutes a day. I recommend trying different translations and methods. You can go straight through or use a plan the mixes it up so you’re not camped out in the, uh, less interesting parts for weeks and weeks. I’ve used The Bible App.
Study Buddy or Buddies: One of the most influential experiences in my personal faith was getting together once a week with two other women who knew the Bible better than me so they could teach me what it was all about. Maybe you don’t have someone like that in your life right now, but I’d encourage you to pray about it and just ask someone! I doubt they would say no. If you can’t meet in person, talk over the phone or even email each other!
Take a Class: It’s a pretty simple concept really; if you want to learn about something, sign up for a class, silly! Arabah Joy offers 7 Days in 7 Ways in an online course that will really help you take your Bible study to the next level with some fresh strategies. I was pleasantly surprised with how much I learned!
Memorize Verses: When Deuteronomy 6 says to write the commands on your heart, I think this is what it means. Take some notecards and write down your favorite verses and flip through them regularly. You’ll have them down before you know it…and you might just start quoting them! Check out some of the mama verses in my free resource collection if you need ideas for what verses to use.
Digging Deeper in Prayer
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I suck at praying. Well, at least I thought I did. But I’ve discovered that the cool thing about prayer is that there’s really no wrong way to do it! Here are a couple of tips to help you stay focused:
Fasting: I recently heard a sermon on the power of fasting and Oh. My. Goodness. I was challenged but inspired. You can fast as a way to humble yourself before God, to repent, to seek guidance, to ask for help, and—this is the kicker—to help you focus on God. There are a lot of ways to do it, but traditionally it makes sense to take at least a day to deprive your body of something it wants (like food, certain drinks, etc.). Try it! And try it again!
Prayer Journal: I’m obviously a big fan of this since I wrote the Teach Me To Pray guide. Prompting can help a lot. The Write the Word Journals from Lara Casey are also great resources when they’re available.
Prayer Buddy: strength in numbers, right? I learn so much when I hear the prayers of other people. Find someone you can pray with weekly—over the phone if needed!
Nature: Sometimes when I’m in a funk, I just need to drive outside of town and clear my head. Mountaintops are ideal, but if you live somewhere flat like I do, I’m sure you can nonetheless find inspiration in the beauty of creation.
Meditation: Not to go all woo-woo on you, but personally I find a lot of value in simply being quiet and listening for the Holy Spirit’s promptings. You can meditate on verses, or take in silence.
Keep a List: I like to write down all the prayer requests from my friends and family as well as the biggest items on my heart. Some places you can write it down include your planner, journal or even on a list on your phone. Bonus: since I have been in the habit, I can actually follow up with the people I’ve been praying for and ask them how it’s going!
Prayer App: Echo is pretty cool.
“War Room”: First, if you haven’t seen the movie it’s definitely worth a watch. The idea is that you have a designated area of your house where you pray. In the movie they put up their favorite scriptures and prayers up around the inside of a closet. Personally, I like somewhere with a little more natural light…but do what works for you.
Related: Things To Pray for When You’re Distracted, Overwhelmed & Don’t Know What To Say
Embracing Your Creativity
Are you a creative type? Then use your passions and talents to connect with God! Think outside the box when it comes to your quiet times.
Sing: Even if you’re not signing a record deal, this is a simple yet powerful way to worship. Grab a hymnal, listen to your favorite artist, start a choir…do what inspires you.
Compose: I know a couple of people with this skill and I’m super jealous. Whether you write poetry, lyrics, play an instrument, sing, or all of the above, can you think of some ways to use your talent that will encourage you and others?
Bible Journaling: I have been very inspired by this newer trend called Bible journaling, which basically requires a Bible with wide margins and some artistic ability. My friend Jill has an amazing Instagram page if you need ideas! She often uses Illustrated Faith devotionals for materials and prompts.
Guided Devotional Art: If you need more guidance or something a little simpler than Bible journaling, there are a bunch of artistic devotionals available. The Scripture Doodle six-week devotional is a great way to get started.
Kids’ Resources: Seriously, there is some phenomenal kids’ material out there that I think is helpful for adults too, especially if you want to get back to basics. In our house we are obsessed with the What’s in the Bible? series, which we stream on JellyTelly. I also highly recommend the Jesus Storybook Bible, which ties together the whole Bible narrative in an engaging and simple way.
I know there are more ideas out there so now I turn it over to you: how do you connect with God? And what’s on your quiet time bucket list?