The idea of a personal quiet time often feels impossible to moms. How can we carve out daily time to be with the Lord when we can’t even go to the bathroom by ourselves?
When I attend conferences or retreats where personal quiet time is emphasized, I conjure visions of myself sitting serenely with my Bible open for hours and make personal resolutions that “I WILL find more time to pray and read my Bible!”
Then . . . life hits. My children wake up hungry or cranky or sick. Kool-Aid gets spilled on my Bible, or I rush through the day without finding time to pray anything more than, “Jesus, help me to survive!”
Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating. There are times when I manage to carve out a niche of time to pray and read the Bible, and I’ve seen what a difference it makes. But it’s just a plain ole’ fact of life that during this season when I am home with small children, personal growth of any kind—including spiritual growth—is tough and requires attention and tenacity on my part.
Carving Out Time Alone
Several month ago, I wrote a post about Susannah Wesley. That girl certainly knew plenty about the demands of motherhood—she had ninteen children! I doubt Susannah had the luxury of personal space or long, lingering quiet times with the Lord. But Susannah knew better than to try to mother in her own strength. When she needed time alone, Susannah was known to pull her apron over her head. It was her clear cue to her children to “leave mom alone.” Susannah wasn’t hiding under her smock for “me time,” she ducked and covered to pray for herself and her family. Those prayers, uttered in desperation under an apron, bore fruit in the lives of her children and multiplied to impact millions.
God’s Word never mandates that we spend an hour every day reading our Bible, praying, and journaling the Psalms. Here’s what the Bible does say:
“Be still and know that I am God” (Ps. 46:10).
But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night” (Ps. 1:2).
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matt. 6:33).
Be still . . .
Meditate on His law . . .
Seek God’s kingdom first . . .
These instructions are critical, even for busy moms. (Perhaps especially for busy moms!) It will take effort, but it’s so important that we find ways to be still and pursue God amidst the chaos of our day.
How to Make Time for God
Here are seven tips to grab quiet moments with the Lord as you mother:
- Read a Proverb a day. There are thirty-one Proverbs and thirty-one days in most months. Every day, read the Proverb that corresponds to the date on the calendar. This exercise should take you less than ten minutes a day.
- Maximize meal times. Bring your Bible to the breakfast table and read out loud or quietly to yourself. Or replace a routine prayer by asking each family member to recite a Bible verse.
- Take a prayer walk. Kiddos love to take walks. Plop them in the stroller or bundle them up and let them walk beside you and use the time when you’re walking to pray for your neighbors and family.
- Create a signal. Come up with a way to show your kids “mommy is praying right now, she will attend to you soon.” You could hang a sign on your bedroom door, pick a prayer spot in your house, or follow Susannah’s example and just throw an apron over your head.
- Delegate. Moms, I know we like to do things ourselves. Yet prayer and Bible study are too essential to skip so you can make sure the dishwasher is loaded correctly. Is there one chore a week you could delegate to your family members? Replace that chore this week with prayer or Bible study.
- Get technical. Technology has its perks. One that I am loving is the ability to load my Bible right onto my smartphone or Kindle for easy reading anywhere. Download a favorite version of the Bible and read up while you are waiting at doctor’s appointments, the carpool line, or outside your child’s classroom. Personally, I love the SheReadsTruth app.
- Make it happen. There will always be things to do. Your children are never going to say, “You go read your Bible, Mom. We can handle things for a while.” But they need you to be connected to the Vine just as much as you do. So put them in a room with some safe toys (or in their crib if they are babies) and say, “Mommy will be back in ten minutes.” Then go spend time with Jesus.
The little years won’t last forever. Which means eventually we will have more time for personal quiet time. In the meantime, we must fit the practices of being still, learning God’s Word, and seeking Him first into the nooks and crannies of our day. It may not look like having an hour-long Bible study while sipping from a steaming cup of coffee. But daily time with the Lord can happen, even if you must duck and cover under your apron.