Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

By Gordan Runyan
Religion columnist 

Use your quiet time wisely


July 19, 2017

The daily quiet time is a staple of Bible-believing Christianity. It’s so prevalent that we don’t give much critical thought to it. It is preached from our pulpits. Books are cranked out, urging us to more consistency in our quiet times.

However, as we look at the landscape of evangelical Christianity in America; and the common state of our churches, wallowing in irrelevance and ineffectiveness, maybe we ought to take the time to re-examine things we’ve simply accepted in the past.

Is it possible that your quiet time is making you weak in relation to the world, and is not what God really wants from you?

What do I mean by “quiet time?” I mean the practice of evangelicals to devote a certain, short amount of time each day (commonly, first thing in the morning) to Bible reading and prayer, or other disciplines like journaling and Scripture memorization.

Don’t hear me saying what I’m not saying. I’m not saying any of this is undesirable for the Christian. In fact, I would probably urge more than what you are currently doing.

For instance, my recommendation for people of average ability is that there is no excuse why you shouldn’t be reading at least 10 chapters of the Bible each day, plus other theological reading. “I don’t have that kind of time,” says the man who spends an hour on Facebook every day.

The disciplines we try to employ during our quiet times are good. Yes and amen. Let’s do more of them, myself included.

However, Jesus never instituted the quiet time: Neither did the apostles and prophets. What did they do? They devoted themselves to prayer and to study of the Word of God.

Imagine a man who smokes and drinks and is mostly sedentary. But every morning, he pops the top on a bottle of vitamins and downs one. He walks away congratulating himself on his health-consciousness.

He is neither healthy nor smart.

What, pastor? Are you saying he shouldn’t be taking vitamins? No, I’m not saying that. I’m saying that one pill in the morning doesn’t cover the remaining day’s worth of unthinking, bad choices.

Jesus Christ did not say, “If you love me, you will be sure not to miss your 20 minute quiet time, even if your day’s schedule is super-busy.”

What did he say? “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (John 14:15)

There is a danger that we will see our coffee time with Jesus as the focus of our daily worship. The Bible speaks differently. It speaks of presenting our bodies to God as living sacrifices (Romans 12:1). It speaks of the long-term training of our senses to discern good and evil (Hebrews 5:14) and the spirituality that is exemplified in rightly judging all things (1 Corinthians 2:15.)

It talks about cross-bearing (Matthew 10:28) and counting others more significant than ourselves (Philippians 2:3.)

My point is that none of this happens, or can happen, in 20-minute doses taken daily.

God hates the idea that there are religious activities we can perform that will make him happy with us, even when we disobey him at every other time (see Isaiah 1).

If a quiet time gets your mind right for the day, and then inspires you to obey God in every other area of your life, fantastic.

But if your “nod to God” allows you to feel like you’ve done the bare minimum and all is well betwixt heaven and thee, then your quiet time is destroying you.

Gordan Runyan is the pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Tucumcari. Contact him at:



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