How to Carry Your Quiet Time into the Rest of Your Day
By Joanna Kimbrel
Do you ever finish your quiet time and completely forget about what you read the rest of the day? It’s easy to check “Bible study” off your to-do list and quickly move on to the next item. Before you know it, it’s time for another day and another quiet time, and you haven’t even thought about God’s Word since yesterday’s quiet time.
But quiet time was never meant to be just another box to check. The Bible has the power to transform every part of our lives, and our desire for time with the Lord is that we would grow—grow in our love for him, grow in faith, and grow in Christlikeness. Scripture should impact our response to every challenge we face and shape every interaction we have. So where’s the disconnect? How can we carry our quiet time into the rest of our day?
Puritan Thomas Watson once said, “The reason we come away so cold from reading the word is, because we do not warm ourselves at the fires of meditation.” I believe with Watson that many of us miss out on some of the sweetest benefits of God’s Word because we overlook one simple practice: meditation. God calls us to do it, so let’s explore how we can enhance our quiet time with biblical meditation.
What is Biblical Meditation?
It doesn’t take long scrolling social media or walking through a bookstore before you encounter promises that meditation will give you better sleep, help you overcome anxiety, or even allow you to realize your biggest goals. You may associate meditation with emptying your mind or self-focused affirmation. But biblical meditation is entirely different from popular meditation. Biblical meditation is thinking deeply about God’s Word. It’s not emptying our minds, it’s filling them with the truth of Scripture. Biblical meditation is not self-focused but focuses our hearts and minds on knowing and loving God.
Biblical meditation was God’s idea. Frequently in the Bible, he exhorts us to meditate on his law and word. Consider these words from Psalm 1:
“Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.”
-Psalm 1:1-2 (ESV)
What characterizes the person who delights in the Lord and meditates on his word? Blessedness! Happiness! A life of joy that comes from walking in the good ways God has set before us in the Bible. The goal of meditating on God’s Word is to apply it to our lives and experience spiritual growth. Jesus calls us to be not only hearers of the word, but doers (James 1:22), and meditation is a God-given means to that end. In Joshua 1:8 God called Joshua and the Israelites to meditate on God’s Word day and night, but he also gave them a very specific reason why—“so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it.”
Choosing Scripture for Meditation
Biblical meditation is a gift from God to experience the life-changing power of his word, so it’s well worth our time. But how do we choose what to meditate on?
First, go small. It’s best to choose a single verse or even a word, concept, or attribute of God. Meditation allows us to give extra attention to something we might otherwise gloss over. It allows us to focus and think about its real-life implications. So go deep, not wide.
Second, meditate on something you’re already reading in your quiet time. Meditation helps us apply what God is teaching us in his word, so when we meditate on something we are already reading, we can carry our quiet time into the rest of our day. Furthermore, this practice safeguards against taking a verse or a word out of context. Let’s say you're studying Romans 8. You may choose to meditate on all of Romans 8:1, which says “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Or maybe you meditate on the phrase “heirs of God” from verse 17. You may also choose to meditate on an attribute of God evident in this chapter, such as his love, sovereignty, or power.
Since all Scripture is God breathed and profitable (2 Timothy 3:16), all of it will bear fruit. Consider meditating on something that was particularly encouraging or helpful to you. Did the Holy Spirit convict you of sin in your life? Perhaps you should meditate on the verse that prompted it. Did you notice any attributes of God or fruits of the Spirit evident in the passage? Those are great options too!
How to Meditate on Scripture
Meditation is a wonderful addition to your daily quiet time. After you read a passage of Scripture and choose the subject of your meditation, spend some time meditating on it before going on with your day. The simplest way to meditate on Scripture is to read it slowly several times. You can also journal about what God is teaching you through the verse, and spend time praying for God to help you love his character and respond appropriately to his word. In his book, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, Donald Whitney suggests meditating on a verse word-by-word. Read the verse over and over, each time focusing on the significance of one word or phrase before moving on to the next. Are you artistic (or want-to-be artistic like me)? Paint a picture or write a song inspired by the verse, or even hand-letter it.
Don’t let meditation stay in your quiet time, but continue the practice throughout your day. Write down your verse and place it where you will see it often, like the window above your sink or your bathroom mirror. Read it every time you see it, and spend a moment to thank God for who he is and ask him to change your heart in light of the verse. Are you experiencing challenging circumstances or emotions? Stop and read the verse again. Ask yourself, “how does what is true about God give me hope in this situation?” If you’re worried you’ll forget, try pairing meditation time with repeated activities, like eating, using the bathroom, or walking upstairs. Consider setting several alarms throughout the day to remind yourself to spend a moment meditating on God’s Word.
A Life-changing Practice
The practice of biblical mediation has been incredibly fruitful in my own life. God has used this discipline to sanctify my heart, lead me in love, and increase my delight in him. I pray the same will be true for you.
Joanna Kimbrel is a Bible teacher and writer with a passion for sharing the beauty of God’s Word with others. She is the author of The Greatest Hero: the Book of Romans. Joanna serves as a content coordinator for the Gospel Coalition and is pursuing her Masters of Arts in Theological Studies from Westminster Theological Seminary. She and her husband, Chad, live in Georgia with their two girls. You can follow her on Instagram.