Studying God’s word and praying to Him are priorities for me now, but that wasn’t always the case. When I first became a Christian, I struggled with how to study and what to study. Then when we started having children, with a different schedule every day, it got more difficult. I decided the only choice I had was to get up early for my quiet time, but, invariably, that would be the day one of the kids would get up earlier than usual.
Encouragement to Be Intentional
When I look back at those years of raising children, I wish I’d been more intentional in many areas, but one of them was in daily personal study and prayer. Even 10 minutes would have been better than 0 minutes, and if I’d planned ahead what I was going to study and pray about, those 10 minutes would have been very effective and valuable. If I had spent every day listening to God in His word and talking to Him in prayer, I would have been better prepared for the daily stresses as well as the storms of life. As it was, I squandered those days, just drifting along, and missed the accumulative affect of that daily time.
Isaiah 55:10-11 gives an illustration of how powerful and effective God’s word is in our lives.
“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there without watering the earth, and making it bear and sprout, and furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; so shall My word be which goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.” (NASB)
We know how rain and snow effects the earth, because we see it happening before our very eyes. It doesn’t fall to the earth in vain. We see trees budding and leafing out, vines producing fruit, and grain heading and producing a crop. Isaiah reminds us of something we all know – rain and snow come and make the earth beautiful and fertile, then it returns to heaven (the marvelous water cycle that God put in place).
God’s Word Accomplishes It’s Purpose
God’s word is just as effective on people’s hearts as the rain and snow are on the earth. The evidence is seen in people whose lives are being transformed: from selfishness to serving, from “looking out for #1” to investing in others’ lives, from cursing and telling dirty jokes to speaking with kindness and gentleness, from outbursts of anger to self-control, from hardheartedness to being compassionate, from anxiety and worry to peace, from drifting aimlessly to a life full of purpose. With this transformed life, God’s word is doing its work; it returns to God having accomplished its purpose.
If you aren’t intentional about your study time, it won’t happen. You’ll be drifting along (and we never drift in a good direction). Set aside time to spend with God. It will never be wasted, He promises us that. Even if you feel like you aren’t getting much out of it, the day-to-day habit will make a difference, and one day you will wake up eager for your quiet time.