Anybody who has walked closely with the Lord for a long period of time will tell you that one of the key ingredients to their relationship with God has been regular, consistent devotional time. Christians often call this “having a quiet time.” The Puritans called it the “morning watch.” Either way, it’s someting that most Christians battle to have as a regular time built into their daily routines.
As I was studying Acts this morning with some of our Missional Community leaders we were struck by the early churches commitment to prayer, as seen in Acts 1:14 — “All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer.” This was obviously a time of extended, corporate, prevailing prayer. I wondered why so few ministries, churches, and individuals seem to be marked by this kind of prayer.
Then it hit me. In the first century, few people had access to a personal copy of the Scripture. Most people’s only access to God’s written word was through their synagogue. As a result, what would a first-century quiet time look like? It would consist of mostly (totally?) prayer.
In contrast, I have multiple Bibles of my own and I love the word of God. So, my “quiet time” is usually made up primarily of Bible reading and study with a little bit of prayer. I think this is the experience of most of the believers I know. I think the result is that we know a lot about God but our intimacy with him is weak. We depend much more on what we know than on the Spirit’s guiding.
This is NOT a call to abandon Bible study as part of my devotional time with God, but a call to remember that prayer needs to be a crucial and growing part of my devotional life. Probaby yours too.