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A “quiet time” update + a lesson from the Psalms

In the morning, before anyone else in my family is awake, or at least before they are out of bed, I open my office window for Albus and then slump into the armchair with a cup of iced coffee. I blink at the sunrise, observe the wildlife in the yard, and record a few lines for the previous day in my five-year, line-a-day journal.1

Then I record three things on my gratitude list on the back of my prayer list for the week. If it’s a Sunday, I start writing that week’s prayer list. I pray and get distracted and move back to prayer. Occasionally I get up to jot something in my planner so that it’s not forgotten and pray over what’s written in that book while I’m at it.

Then I slip open my Bible to my bookmark stuck in Psalms. I have been praying through a psalm a day for a while now.2 I plan to never stop. Much wiser people than I have noted that is the design of the Psalms. They are the prayer book of God’s people. Through them, we learn to bring every single emotion, every single happening, to God. The Psalms are the teacher we all need.

This morning, I noticed some similarities between today’s reading/prayer and yesterday’s. 

Pslam 58 reminds us that evil people (in this case, people with power) practice injustice and weight out violence (v2). In Psalm 59, David is asking for rescue from people who practice sin and from men of bloodshed (v2). V7 tells us that their mouths spew out sharp words and they do not think they will be accountable for their works. V12 chronicles that their words and their actions are aligned in evil. Psalm 52 brings out similar comparisons. 

Marks of displeasing God from these three chapters: 
-practicing sin
-words that reflect death and destruction
-expect no accountability. 

Yet their end is the same: judgment. Psalm 52:5 says that “God will bring you down forever.” 

Reading/praying the Psalms regularly helps me notice themes and wisdom for living. I see attributes of God praised time and again and the writer return to trust. It’s a practice that has yielded a lot of fruit and the ability to evaluate my own heart and actions and words. It reminds me of the type of person I should listen to, learn from, vote for. I’m taught that means do not justify the ends. We do not get to do whatever we want because the results are worth it. That is not an ethic of God.

After I finish praying the Psalms, I turn to Exodus because I am slowly working my way through the Torah. After that, I read a few pages in The Pentateuch as Narrative. I am far behind in that story from where I am actually reading in Scripture and I’m ok with that. I’m planning to stick with these first five books for a while and I’ll have time to keep reading. 

After that, I migrate to my desk to practice Greek and write for a few minutes. If what I’ve written can be worked into a blog post, I do that next. 

Especially now that the boys are home all day, these moments of quiet and study and work are invaluable for setting the tone for the day. I also look forward to this time; it helps pry me out of bed even if my sleep has been interrupted by children. 

1 Have I skipped multiple weeks in it this year? Yes. But I am getting into the habit and will still be grateful when I’m 40 that I did it and didn’t chuck the whole idea because I didn’t execute it perfectly.
2 I am often bad at marking the start of things because I don’t always know that they will be significant for my life.
3 For reference, I walked through my quiet time routine earlier this year in response to a question from Instagram. It seems helpful to note how this is not a static practice but shifts and changes with life.

Discussion about this post

  1. Aurora says:

    I’d love to learn more about your 5 year line-a-day journal. What’s the idea behind it? Is it a journal you bought and are filling out or an idea you created and are pursuing?

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