Ref: Deeper Life Ministry, Search The Scripture, Volume 75 , Lesson 973
TEXT: Genesis 19:27-29; 28:18-22; Exodus 34:2-10
MEMORY VERSE: “And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed” (Mark 1:35).
A saved youth is integrated into the family of God at the point of salvation. This brings great joy in heaven; God and the angels rejoice over a converted youth. The Church of God also rejoices over the youth who gives his or her life to Christ, our Saviour and Lord. After being saved, the church is occupied with how to preserve the precious souls in the faith to the end. God has made provisions for the preservation of souls. One of such avenues revealed in the Scripture is having quiet time and family devotion. It is a known fact that a new born babe needs the care of the parents to live. He has need of milk, water and food, in order to grow to maturity. The same is expected of a new convert in Christ. “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby” (1 Peter 2:2).
Quite time is a regular observance of personal fellowship with God. During this time, a saved youth praises and prays to God. He also uses this time to search and study the word of God. Family Devotion is a regular time given to fellowship with God by the entire family. During this period, the family praises God for His goodness and love, brings the requests of members to God and studies His word together. The father who is the spiritual head of the family can assign functions to other members of the family.
1. THE PRIORITY AND PLACE OF QUIET TIME AND FAMILY DEVOTION Genesis 19:27; 28:18-22; Exodus 34:2; Jeremiah 33:3; Exodus 16:21; Psalms 55:17; 88:13; Mark 1:35; Matthew 6:6
“And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed” (Mark 1:35). Quiet time is a Quest for a Unique Intimate and Enduring Teaching which leads to Transformation, Increase in devotion, Maturity in character and Excellence in godliness. The truly converted soul is left with a vacuum in his heart that longs for God. “ As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?” (Psalm 42:1,2). This desire to have an intimate relationship with God will inspire an individual to make quiet time his first priority every day. This simply implies that a saved youth makes quiet time the first thing every day. The same thing applies to family devotion. Either of the two can come first before the other as may be determined by the individual and family concerned. For instance, a youth who wakes up very early can have his quiet time before the family comes together for devotion. The Christian youth should understand that the family devotion is not a substitute for personal quiet time.
A thorough study of the Scriptures shows that the best times are early in the morning and late in the evening before going to bed. This means that we should observe our fellowship with the Lord daily. In Exodus 16:21, manna was gathered morning by morning and our ‘manna’ today is “every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). The revelations of the Scriptures on men who had fellowship with God in their generations attest to this fact. Abraham, the father of faith, went early to the place where God met with him the previous day to view the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:27,28). Jacob worshipped God early in the morning (Genesis 28:18). David, Daniel, and Paul the apostle all sought fellowship with God in the morning and later in the day. Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, rose up early in the morning and went to a solitary place to have fellowship with the Father. If He saw the need to do so, then, we have more need to do the same.
Early morning is a preferred period because it is quiet, devoid of distractions, and the heart is fresh. The many thoughts that fill the heart during the day are not yet there. An individual can concentrate and commit himself and the day’s activities into God’s control. The evening also is proper. Notwithstanding, anyone with genuine reason can fix another convenient time to observe his quiet time.
2. THE PERTINENT ACTIVITIES DURING QUIET TIME AND FAMILY DEVOTION Luke 4:4; Job 23:12; Colossians 3:16 Proverbs 13:13; Daniel 6:10; Psalm 55:17; Matthew 14:23; Mark 6:46; Luke 6:12.
“My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up” (Psalm 5:3).
In the Garden of Eden, God came down to have fellowship with Adam and Eve at the cool of the day. “And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden” (Genesis 3:8). Similarly, God still desires fellowship with His children today. He wants to hear our voices and waits daily to receive our thanks and praises for the things He has done for us. “And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?” (Luke 17:15-17). David prayed thrice daily. “Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice” (Psalm 55:17).
These are some of the activities observed during quiet time and family devotion: (1) Brief session of prayer of thanksgiving. (2) Songs of worship and praise. (3) Intercessory and personal prayers. (4) Reading or studying of the word of God. (5) Admonition from the Word read (family devotion) (6) Meditation on the Word. (7) Prayer for grace to obey His word. (8) Closing prayer. Note that this is just a guide; anyone may determine to do it differently. “Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms” (Psalm 95:2). “Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name” (Psalm 100:4).
In studying the word of God during quiet/family devotion, you can read from chapter to chapter or book to book. The sincere seeker of God wants to know Him intimately and to be like Him. The best book that reveals God is the Bible. Endeavour to read and study it. Although one may decide to use other good Christian materials like the Daily Manna or Higher Everyday, make sure you read the Bible through.
Observing quiet time and family devotion should be done thoroughly. It should not be done as a mere religious activity. The timing depends on the individual and his daily engagement. One should be able to spend more time in the evening since he is retiring to bed for night rest.
3. THE PURPOSE AND PROFITS OF QUIET TIME AND FAMILY DEVOTION Genesis 18:19; Psalm 51:10; Isaiah 40:31; Mark 6:31; Philippians 3:10; 2 Timothy 2:15; 1 Peter 2:2)
The major purpose of quiet time and family devotion is to have fellowship with the Lord. Besides attending church meetings, an individual needs to personally establish a relationship with God. The family needs the same. They need to constantly commune with God, thank, praise and worship Him in the beauty of holiness. This makes them fulfil the essence of their creation; thereby, fulfilling the pleasure of God on earth. “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created” (Revelation 4:11). Quiet time and family devotion afford us the opportunity to acquaint ourselves with Him through His word (Job 22:21). It also fosters our love for God and one another. In addition, quiet time and family devotion observance makes us build our faith in God. As we read and meditate on His word, we discover His promises through which our faith in Him becomes stronger.
Other benefits from quiet time and family devotion are: They enhance our knowledge of God and conformity to His image (Philippians 3:10). Regular quiet time and family devotion bring about our spiritual development and growth (1 Peter 2:2). They also lead to a consistent renewal of our spiritual strength (Isaiah 40:31). Family devotion promotes prayer of agreement with a better result (Matthew 18:19). It affords ministers of the word a time to have spiritual rest and re-fire again (Mark 6:31). Family devotion also gives the head of the home the opportunity to instruct his children in the fear of the Lord (Genesis 18:19). It is a time to study God’s word in order to be able to rightly divide it and show ourselves approved unto God (2 Timothy 2:15).
If you have not been observing your quiet time and participating in family devotion, begin today.
Question 1: What do you understand by quiet time and family devotion?
Question 2: What is the best time to observe quiet time and family devotion?
Question 3: Why is early morning and late evening most preferred periods for quiet time and family devotion?
Question 4: What are the things to do during quiet time and family devotion?
Question 5: What are other benefits derived from quiet time and family devotion?
Question 6: Answer True or False. 1. Since Christian youths go to church regularly, it is no longer necessary to observe quiet time. 2. Listening to the pastor’s message cancels having one’s quiet time. 3. Reading other good Christian literature makes it unnecessary for us to study our Bible during quiet time or family devotion. 4. Apart from family devotion, there is still the need for personal quiet time. 5. It is necessary to have quiet time before going to school daily. 6. We can use Daily Manna and/or Higher Everyday for our family devotion or quiet time .