Monday, July 14, 2008

Quiet time? Noisy time?

I realised this morning my lack of prayer and time with God for the past week.

Of late it dawned on me that I am beginning to take a different stance in life - I have given up compartmentalising my life bifurcatedly: one spiritual and the other secular per se, as in quiet time, prayer life, church life vs. work, leisure, chores. I have begun to take life as a whole - my all as an act of worship to my God. As such, everything I do, I do it unto Him - which means I have to be extra careful about what I do, say or think.

Is this right?

I mean I no longer purposefully have "quiet time". Every moment of my life is "quiet time". I remember back in the younger days, we tend to be quite dichotomised in our way of life and thinking:-

  • "How's your spiritual life?" - as opposed to "secular life"?
  • "Have you been having your quiet time?" - are the other times "noisy time"?
  • "Have you been witnessing?" - as opposed to the other times not being a witness for God?
  • I don't know - I am still theologising it in my head, mainly because taking the other extreme, as in "even breathing is prayer to God" does not make sense.

    Am I over-analysing it?



    1. I posted about quiet time a few years ago and agree with your thoughts Pearlie.

      I thought that this is quite spectacular:

      "I have begun to take life as a whole - my all as an act of worship to my God."

      I think that QT is very western in nature.. very performance oriented.. do you find it that way in KL?

    2. I have begun to take life as a whole - my all as an act of worship to my God.

      Oh I believe this is exactly how it is to be. "And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men." Colossians 3:23

      I think He should be foremost in our thoughts and minds at all times. Not always something I achieve but something I strive for.

    3. KB,
      Yeah - it is a being rather than doing but I would add on to say that by being, doing becomes a natural, a norm e.g. I live, therefore I think and I breathe and I eat.

      But I remember some Church Father or somebody saying that praying is not a being-in but an active doing thing. Your thoughts?

    4. Susan,
      There you have it :) so true, our whole life lived for God and God alone.

    5. Pearlie, one of my favorite Jesus sayings is..

      Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, 'Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.' -John 7:38 ESV comes from the inside out and not outside in.. as long as our praying is flowing from our heart it will be effective and produce life in us. Now, whether we pray or not is really an issue of how strong our heart is.

    6. Hi Pearlie,
      I'm sorry to be a contrarian, but I don't agree with the notion that if we make all of our life "an act of worship to my God," that we don't need to have a regular quiet time. After all, our Lord's life was a constant act of worship and communion with His Father, yet he took time to get away in order to pray.
      No doubt we can turn a quiet time into a to-do list item to cross off, an activity we feel we have to get out of the way. But we have to be honest with ourselves: we are constantly bombarded with life's demands and the things of the world. God is so easily crowded out. It would be legalistic to say that we sin if we do not intentional plan for regular time alone with God in prayer and in His Word. It is good to "practise the presence of God" as we go about our lives, but that is not the same thing as spending time alone with God.

    7. Hi Les,
      I'm sorry to be a contrarian
      Apologies not needed - we do need each other for check and balance ;)

      You have brought up a very valid argument on my thoughts and also to answer my questions.

      I do agree with you and also with the fact that it must not be turned into something legalistic, or made into something fluffily ingrained into our way of life, with no substance. I think it was Jonathan Edwards who said something about that in his work on prayer.

      I suppose why all these came to me was because after 5-days in Mumbai I realise that when I am home, I spent almost every other time in conversation with God because I have pockets of time to pray and recite some verse or read some. It was in those 5 days that was moving so fast that when I came back I realised what was missing. I suppose then, there are times when we do need to purposefully apportion time to be spent praying.

      Looking from a different perspective however, right from a very young age I struggle and get stressed out to fix a time for quiet time per se. I tend to attribute it now to my unorganised external self. And being an internally organised person, I gravitate more to having God in my thoughts, talking to Him when I speak to myself and when I happen to be alone.

      Any thoughts on this, Les? My check and balance contrarian?

    8. Quiet time can be a blessing or a curse.. a blessing if your heart is engaged and refreshed.. a curse if your motivation is performance and the only thing you engage is your brain.