Thursday, October 11, 2007

How I spend time with God - setting the stage

In my ideal world, I’d have a Starbucks’ frappachino every morning. But that requires that I go to the coffee shop and shell out $4 to buy one. That doesn’t happen often. Sometimes I buy those Starbucks drinks in the small glass bottles from the grocery store and pull one of those from the fridge. Not the same, but still yummy. More often than not, however, I’m drinking tea with God.

I’m weird about drinking hot drinks in the morning – I only like them at night unless I am freezing cold. On the coldest mornings I’ll have hot tea or hot cocoa with God. However, mostly I drink iced green tea or Diet Coke. We usually meet with friends or family over coffee, tea or food, so I figure why not with God!

Besides my liquid of choice, I like to have a scented candle lit to set the stage. It makes me settle down and feel all warm and fuzzy. Something about that flame says to me: this is special time. The lighting and later the blowing out of the candle marks the official beginning and ending of my "quiet time." Of course, I’m never really apart from God:

“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height or depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” – Romans 8:38-39

I’m a scented candle kind of gal. That’s an understatement since from where I sit at the moment I can see 11 different candles across two rooms! But I try to use the same candle during my time with God. That way I have a visual reminder of how often I’m spending time with Him. As the wax level drains I know my spirit is filling up. If I get to the end of a week and that candle jar looks just as full as it did on Sunday, I know I’ve not been making time to connect with Him. Some people might like to check it off a to-do list, or mark an X on the calendar day to indicate they’ve spent some time with Him, but I like watching the scented candle wax disappear into the heavens like a fragrant offering.

A final way that I set the stage for spending some time with God is with music. If I’m trying to read the Bible I usually avoid playing anything with lyrics so I can concentrate. I have several instrumental Christian CDs - try hymns set to a Celtic beat for something different. I also have ambient music CDs like a running stream or birds chirping at dawn.

Occasionally, however, I just feel like "gettin' my praise on" as my worship leader girlfriend Gwen says. So I'll put on an up-beat contemporary praise and worship CD and crank it up loud. I’ve been known to dance and sing. I've also been known to lie on the floor with my eyes closed ... lost in the music and the One it is for ... letting the tears that sometimes come push their way out between my closed lids.

Music can usher us to God’s throne room! If you're trying to connect with God or the Bible and can’t seem to “get into it,” try playing some worship music, closing your eyes and contemplating the lyrics as you listen for awhile.

Other times I enjoy the weight of the silence in the room. Sometimes silence is just what the soul needs. Now, if you’re a mom with little ones I KNOW this feels like a tall order. I have two kids, and once they reached school-age I began home schooling them (in an open floor-plan home no less). So alone time and silence were very hard to come by most days. Hard to come by, but not impossible: I could get up before them, or stay up after them. Or I could adapt to the fact that other things were going on around me, and make the effort to press into God anyway. My friend Marybeth who was also home schooling her brood used to tell me she did her praying in the shower because that was the only place she could find some peace and solitude!

Tea, candles, music - none of this is necessary but it helps me transtion into a place of connection with the Lord. So set the stage in whatever ways you can to help you to come to and connect with God. Don’t set yourself up for failure, however, with expectations about how a quiet time “should” be (or used to be) that your current circumstances can’t match. Just make it a priority and press in, letting God take care of all the rest.

Have you decided yet when you’ll sit down with God tomorrow? Remember it doesn’t need to be long; it just needs to be done!

stay tuned for more to come on this topic


  1. Rachel, thank you so much for your P31 message on Wed. Oct.10. It really showed me that one can not "find time" but needs to "make time". I struggle with time discipline...I usually have too much to do around me and gets me overwhelmed where I'm exhausted just looking at what needs to be done! Then I have the spiritual conviction of not praying or reading the word daily and I know with out that, all else fails! Thank you for sharing tips on how to get started to have the alone time with God. I love the candle analogy you made total sense to me. I too would rather have the candle melting down the jar and me rising in the Lord than me being the one who's melting in my stuff to do. Thanks again for the inspiring message...God's Blessings on you,
    Veronica from San Antonio, TX

  2. Thank you, Rachel. This is very helpful to me. I am seeking the Lord early and trying to make it a daily habit. It is a struggle and I don't even have your busy lifestyle. But it is an encouragement to me to read about your experience and what you do. The candle, music, tea are all things that I will try, too. I appreciate the thought in the devotional that prayer takes energy. Lord, don't let me be too lazy to talk to you.

  3. Hi Rachel, I found your blog through the Encouragement for today e-mail. I loved your article "making the effort". It so hit home for me. I will definitely keep coming back to read more.

  4. Thanks for the article. The way I find time with God is when I walk our dogs in the morning. It is very beautiful to see the sun rise and the peace of quiet in the mornings are the best. I'm able to talk to God about things that are going on in my life, pray and visit with him. I feel ready to face the day and know that he is with me through out the day.
    God Bless!

  5. DEar Rachel,
    I like tea..can you tell in my I am having that...but I loved your candle idea and I am going to get one this weekend and use it as part of my time with God. The last few days as I have visited here I have felt refreshed

    blessings on you and your family

  6. thank you for sharing your blog. it has always been a struggle for me to establish a quiet time, what with four growing kids. for the past days i've set my alarm to 5 am and find myself in the bathroom with a bible on my lap and snoozing at the same time. tomorrow will be another attempt and i know i can't do this alone without HIS help. thanks for sharing your tips, the candle thing is a brilliant idea!

    i thank GOD for sending you to share this message to us. may we all continue to live our lives for HIS Glory!

    ella, Philippines

  7. Thank you for taking away the guilt of not being able to spend an hour in prayer/Bible study every day. I have 2 small children (5 & 1) & some days I'm simply not physically able to get up before everyone else. On those wonderful mornings that it does happen, I usually get up around 5:30. I keep my Bible, prayer journal, devotional, pen & note cards in a small chest beside the sofa. It's cherished time because it's still dark, everyone's asleep & the house is quiet!!! Thanks for being real.

  8. Rachel,
    Thank you for sharing your way of spending time with the Lord, especially using the candle to bring conviction. I'm planning to implement that too. You have a very relatable style of writing... I like reading every word. Thank you for sharing your heart and your love of God with all who take the time to read your articles. May our precious Jesus continue to bless you.


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