See Woman A? Her quiet time is on point. She’s awake (very awake), she’s perky, accessorized, and ready for her quiet time thanks to a Golden Corral-level breakfast spread. You go, girl!
Or how about Woman B? She’s nailing it, too. What with the perfect amount of sun and cool temperature, not to mention the Tuscan landscape rolling behind her. Yes, these women. These women are quiet time ideals.
Even if you are a morning quiet time person, how close are you to this pie-in-the-sky ideal? Don’t misunderstand me. I would legitimately LOVE to be pulling this off daily, or three times a week…or ever. But for many reasons that aren’t relevant here, that will never be me. And it may never be you. And here’s the headline– It’s okay. Really, really okay.
(Full disclosure: Amazon affiliate links ahead! Using it costs you nothing extra but helps support Jen Lassos Truth.)
There’s no biblical mandate for “quiet time”, so there’s no right way to do it or it doesn’t count. As a discipler in your home, this is important because of what you teach and what you model. Let’s dive right in.
Your Quiet Time vs. Their Quiet Time
If you read no further, read this: It is unlikely that your child’s quiet time will look like yours. And as a rabbi mom, your goal is to help them find their quiet time, not replicate yours.
Kids today are “digital natives,” and most parents aren’t. Granted, some of you millennial parents are a lot closer than parents in any generation before you. But most of us have been taught that quiet time is in the morning, has a certain routine (pray, read your Bible or devotional, journal, and pray, all with your fave hot beverage in your fave mug). That works, for a lot of people. And they should keep doing that. But even if that’s not exactly how you do it, there are probably some similarities.
Your kid’s quiet time probably won’t look like that because they’ve grown up in a very different set of contexts. And none of those differences rule out spending one-on-one time with God. But getting there may be different. Very different.
Broaden your idea of what “quiet time” means.
For example, it could be:
- Bible study
- Devotional (vet these before you hand them over)
- Worship songs
- Bible journaling
- Discussing spiritual things with a friend, or a few friends
- Some combination of these things
Keep the goal in mind. The point is not to check off the boxes on the steps of that routine. You could do that and have no real contact with God. The point is to meet with God in a way that is meaningful for you, in a way that makes you open to hearing from God.
Today’s kids have a lot more options than we had growing up, and that is all kinds of good. It is easier for them to find what works for them, and it is easier for them to flex and change as they grow.
My Field Study
I conducted an exhaustive set of interviews (a handful of people), and here’s what I found. I spoke with a 20-something barista at my favorite coffee shop. For him, his goal is biblical literacy and connection. He said you just start with what you like: “I like mornings, and I like coffee.” So that’s how he sets up his quiet time. Mornings, coffee, a notebook, and a Bible. Sounds like a pretty traditional set-up, doesn’t it? He also does better when there’s some connection with other believers, at least sometimes. It makes him more consistent. He’s met with friends, and he’s now including his fiance (standing ovation). By having so many things he looks forward to, using tools that are natural for him, and knowing that he needs some accountability, he’s there.
I also talked to a mom with two girls who are only a year apart in age, but wildly apart in just about every other area! Both girls have really good study Bibles, and they use them independently (Precept’s Inductive Study Bible, which is what I have; here it is at Amazon, more options at Precept.org). One girl uses the YouVersion Bible app and follows reading plans. Mom gets notifications every time she completes one. In fact, her daughter’s commitment to finishing them
shamed inspired Mom to bring up her own game! The other daughter just reads from her Bible. Both girls have a great foundation in inductive Bible study, so they read, mark, study, do word studies, and so on. They’ve been given the tools, and they use them. Paper and digital.
From brief conversations with other parents, teens, and 20-somethings, I also learned that some kids are more interested in topical studies than book studies. Life moves fast when you’re a kid, tween, or teen, so being able to find relevant wisdom in the Bible is a big deal. Whatever God is using to draw your child into His Word, support it. Remove obstacles like not having the right place to do it, or not having the right materials. Then let your child experience God in that time.
One other thing. Remove all legalism. I mean it. As long as your child is staying biblical in what he’s reading and studying, and thinking, don’t worry about all that other stuff. Which translation, how long, time of day, how often, etc. Grace and prayer. Grace and prayer.
What Your Part Is
Here’s a simple list of things you can do to encourage your child in her quiet time:
- Try not to “police” it.
- The endgame is your child putting herself directly under God’s leading and authority. If necessary, be encouraging at the beginning, but don’t hover or direct. If it becomes another requirement to make you happy, no good.
- Occasionally ask if she needs anything for her quiet time.
- A new study? A new notepad or journal? Colored pens? Post-its?
- Work what you’re all learning into family conversation, naturally.
- This works a lot better when you’re having some kind of quiet time or Bible study of your own. Talk about what you learned, what surprised you, what challenged you, or what didn’t sound right to you. When your child talks about what she’s learning, be a great listener.
- If you “catch” her doing quiet time, back slowly away! Respect that time and space, and don’t interrupt the connection.
The obvious payoff is seeing your child seeking the Lord on his own. My favorite verse is 3 John 4, “I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth.” Kids doing some kind of quiet time? Big win. The payoffs for them are innumerable, and you’ll never even see them all. Which is fine, because it’s not for you. Not really.
That said, while they’re still at home with you, you are going to benefit. You’ll have a deep point of connection with your child. Talking about spiritual things, and talking in a way that is more believer-to-believer than teacher-to-student is really sweet. And it gives you peace.
But my friend with the two daughters has noticed that the more consistent the girls are with their quiet times, the better behaved they are. They are more obedient, wiser, more mature, and more respectful. By staying connected to God, they are walking in the Spirit.
Help A Sister Out!
There are probably hundreds of way kids do quiet time, and I’ve only scratched the surface. If you know of a child, tween, or teen with a quiet time, what are they doing? What does it look like, and has it changed over time? Is your household different when your kids are pursuing that connection? Tell me your story here!