I heard about the concept as a student at Illinois State University back in 1994. My friend Lynn laid out a simple plan for a lifetime of healthy relating with God. Open the Bible. Read it. Journal about what you read. Pray. Repeat every day for the rest of your life. The End.
Since I was a freshman and she was a senior, I didn’t protest – much.
For the rest of my life???
Then she added that mornings were preferable.
Being a people pleaser, I commenced filling an enormous stack of journals with prayers, observations, and powerful thoughts on all spiritual matters – including could my future husband please play the guitar. I considered myself a “Master Quiet Timer.”
All was well until my beautiful daughter was born. Overnight, all the personal fortitude that had allowed me to become that “Master Quiet Timer” dissolved. Fifteen months later our son was born. In my baby-toddler fog, the idea of setting aside a chunk of time to devote to the reading and studying of the Word of God became equivalent to setting aside a chunk of money to spend on massages and facials. It was luxury I would obviously have to do without.
John 14:26 ESV
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.
Thankfully, the Holy Spirit reached through the fog of exhaustion, apathy, and the overwhelming desire to spend every nap time numbly straightening up the chaos that is a house with children.
He wooed me back to the Word, reminding me I would find something there that was good.
I still had some personal protests…
Mornings? There is no way I can wake up EARLIER than this baby, Lord!
Reading? My brain, Lord! I can’t read more than 23 words and have them make any sense.
Prayer? Lord, you know if I start a journal I will fill it with grocery lists, and if I close my eyes I will fall asleep.
What’s a girl to do??
I started having Magnet Moments with God. My MOPS group kept sending me home with cute magnets for the fridge with verses in pretty fonts. In what felt like an act of heroism, I committed to the Lord that I would soothe crying babies in front of that fridge. Overnight, my time in the Word went from 0 minutes/day to 5 hours/day. Just kidding, kinda.
Isaiah 55:10-11 NLT says,
“The rain and snow come down from the heavens
and stay on the ground to water the earth.
They cause the grain to grow,
producing seed for the farmer
and bread for the hungry.
11 It is the same with my word.
I send it out, and it always produces fruit.
It will accomplish all I want it to,
and it will prosper everywhere I send it.”
Very slowly, those Magnet Moments began to produce fruit – a renewed desire to be with God. But, desire to be with God didn’t always translate into actual time with God. For a long time I felt guilty about that, and focused all my efforts on becoming routinized, instead of finding ways of regularly relating with God that fit my wiring. Over the last 5 years, I’ve focused on exploring ways and means of relating with God that provide what I love – variety, change, and learning.
Those have included reading plans, prayer beads, prayer apps, you name it – content that keeps me motivated and moving towards relational consistency with the Lord. I spent last year observing the Liturgy of the Hours, or fixed hours of prayer. This year I’m doing something completely different. The point being, I’ve given myself the freedom to move toward Him in ways that work for me – quirky as they are.
The words of Isaiah and Jesus bring me immense comfort. I’m not alone in this process. The Word and the Holy Spirit are my ever present counselors and teachers. They are working in me to produce the fruit I long for – the shaping of my heart and life for the glory of God.
I don’t have babies and toddlers in my home any longer. The scripture magnets are buried under volleyball and basketball schedules and the piles of journals are tucked away. But, my journey to know God better through His Word continues.
May the Lord bless your own journey for time with the One who loves you deeply. He can use journals, beads and even magnets!