As an elder, you have spent countless hours listening to and studying the Word in meditation and prayer. Unfortunately, this can render you ineffective in teaching new believers how to have a daily “quiet time.” Your methods and length of study would overwhelm them.
New believers need some guidance in drinking the milk of the Word. Some are natural students and can dive right in without much help. But many are easily discouraged and wrestle with guilt over their failure.
A profitable time with the Lord can be encouraged without it being overly complicated. A simple approach I heard about long ago has been helpful to both new and seasoned believers alike. Here is how I share it with others:
It is a good idea to begin every day with a quiet time spent with the Lord. Just like warming up for a sports activity, we need to warm up each day for life. This may be a new concept, or you may have heard of people who spend thirty to sixty minutes daily doing this, and it scares you away. You think, “I could never do that!”
A helpful way to have a short quiet time and one that can fit into anyone’s schedule is the “PREP” method. PREP stands for preparation, and it only requires five minutes a day:
- P – Pray (one minute). Ask the Lord to settle you down and prepare your heart. Pray that He will help you understand and apply His Word.
- R – Read (one minute). Read a short passage, as much as you can in one minute (no longer). You might read through consecutive selections in the Bible. For example, you may want to work your way through a book of the Bible, like the Gospel of John, reading one minute each day.
- E – Evaluate (two minutes). Ask questions in your mind: What does this passage mean? Who is talking? What does this passage say about God, man, or the relationship between the two? How does this work in my life? Is there a command to follow? Is there something to appreciate?
- P – Pray (one minute). Pray again, asking the Lord to help you apply what you just learned and to help you with your day. You may want to thank or praise Him for something you read or for what He is doing in your life.
Five minutes a day equals thirty minutes a week, which equals 30 hours in a year.
Can you spare five minutes each day? You may find that after a while, five minutes just isn’t enough time. You can double the time to ten minutes by doubling each step. If you find yourself desiring to increase this time beyond this, you can multiply each step.
Start tomorrow morning. Then do it each morning after. The blessings will be yours.
* Special thanks to Dr. Hugh Roger, who first introduced me to this PREP idea many years ago.