Jani Ortlund: Hello, everyone. Thanks for tuning in again. I hope your discipleship groups are going well. Mine is. I’m really enjoying getting to know the women in my group and sharing prayer requests.
Note to Leaders
Leaders, I would like you to stop the podcast right now if you haven’t already done this, and go to our website at herestoresmysoul.org and print off the paper called “Hints for an Extended Quiet Time with the Lord”. You’re going to need that for your time together tonight.
Why don’t you begin your group tonight with accountability. Ask your disciples to pass in the paper on which they recorded the dates and passages of their five quiet times. Did everyone get it done? If not, let’s offer forgiveness and understanding to each other and encouragement for this coming week. Also ask, did everyone get a chance to choose a verse or a portion of a verse to meditate on? Why don’t you turn off the podcast and take time to share what that verse is. If someone has not been able to yet, that’s okay. Ask them to find one over this next week. Or perhaps you as the leader can help them find one. Maybe there’s been one that has been particularly helpful for you that you could share.
Sharing & Prayer
After your time of accountability, go into a time of sharing and prayer together. Share your prayer requests and catch up with each other on how the Lord is answering previous prayer requests. And then spend time praying for each other.
Now by this time, after accountability and sharing in prayer, you might need time for a break and that’s totally fine. Just go ahead and take five minutes and catch your breath, get a drink, something to eat, whatever you need, then come back together and we’re going to do two things as we come back together.
Discuss Your Book
First of all, discuss the portion of the book your reading. I wonder if you’re still reading yours. We are in my group. If you’re finished with your book, that’s fine. But if you need to discuss it, turn off the podcast and find out where your ladies are in it. Are they finding it helpful? What has been helpful to them? Do they have any questions about it? Would they recommend this book to someone else? Why or why not?
Teaching Time: Extended Quiet times
Finally, we’re going to come to the teaching time. Leaders pass out the “Hints for an Extended Quiet Time with the Lord” handout that you copied off from our website. Four times a year often, I try to make it once each season, I like to find a quiet place where I can get away with the Lord for two or more hours, a place outside my home away from my computer, different from my usual place of quiet with the Lord. This provides me time to let my heart commune more deeply with God. The Lord uses this time to anchor my soul in his truth, to remind me of his love for me, and to prepare me for the months ahead.
As a group, I’d love for each one of you to try and have three extended quiet times over this coming year together. Now, if you’re listening individually, I still want to encourage you to do this. I want you to have an extended quiet time between now and the end of this year, December 31. Then I’d like you to have one in the winter months, January, February, March. And then finally, I’d like you to have one in April, May and June.
Ideas To Help With Extended Quiet Times
Places You Could Go
Here are some ideas to help you accomplish this. First of all, as I said, find a quiet place where you will not be distracted by things at home. Sometimes I go to a restaurant and bring extra cash for a big tip and I asked the waitress if I could find a place, a corner and tell her I just have some work that I need to do and it will take me a couple hours, I’ll leave you a big tip. Is it okay if I sit over there and have my meal?
Sometimes I’ll go to a library and just find a quiet table there. Or a coffee shop that has a table outside where they don’t mind if you stay for quite a while. Maybe there’s a place outdoors. We live by a beautiful parkway, the Natchez Trace. And oftentimes there are places along that where I can go and meet with the Lord. I bring a blanket and some water and other things I’ll tell you about. You could go to a hotel lobby. Now that might sound crazy. But when I go there, they love to welcome me and because they like to look busy, they want to look as if, you know, people really like to come there. And this is a busy place of business. So maybe a hotel lobby.
Or even your church. You could call your church office and ask if they would mind if you came and sat in your sanctuary for a couple hours and met with the Lord. Bring your Bible with you, a notebook, your prayer journal or notebook, a pen, and any other aids. I often will bring a hymn book because I love the old hymns as you know, or my study Bible. If possible, this might not be possible for you young moms, but if possible, turn off your cell phone for those few hours and give all of your attention to the Lord God. Your kind king.
Things You Can Do
Now, things you might do during your extended quiet time could include these. Catch up on your Bible reading if you you’re on a Bible reading plan and you’ve gotten a little bit behind you could catch up or enjoy a leisurely time of prayer. Just a long, lengthy time reading from Proverbs 2:1-11 and listing out all the benefits of being in God’s Word. Let your mind stretch all the way up to the heavens, reveling in his magnitude and glory and power and beauty. Take time to praise and adore him. Do a word study from Scripture using your concordance. Perhaps you could work on or reorient your goals and your schedule. Read some of your favorite hymns or poems or prayers. Pray through the ACTS acrostic that we’ve been working on. Now, I need to be clear that’s A-C-T-S, that word ACTS. Write a letter to God. Sometimes I do this I read a letter to God, and I seal it until my next extended quiet time with him. It’s wonderful to see where I was three months ago. Use it for meditating on your verse of scripture, or even memorizing a passage of scripture.
I’m sure you can think of other things if you had two or three hours of uninterrupted time with the Lord. Oh, I encourage you to do this. Brother Lawrence. In his book, “Practice the Presence of God” says this.
“Retire with God to the deepest part of your soul.”Brother Lawrence in “Practice The Presence Of God”
Don’t you love that? Retire with God to the deepest part of your soul? God’s already there. Why not go down and join him there? Talk through things with him. Spend your extended quiet time going deep into the hidden part of you. That vast, unexplored region of your inner world. Commune with God in intimacy and love. In silence, listen to him. What is he speaking to you?
Next Week’s Assignment
Jesus set the example for us. In your discipleship group, read these passages. Matthew 14:13, Matthew 14:23 and Mark 1:35. And then, leaders give this assignment to your group. First of all, I’d like everyone to have five quiet times this coming week, five quiet times. Pray for each other during the week over the requests you’ve shared. Go over the verse you are meditating on at least two times a day. Perhaps three if you’re able. Choose a date when you can have an extended quiet time with the Lord. Look at your calendar between now and December 31 and choose a date, put it on your calendar. If it’s not there, it won’t happen and come back and share that date. And then finally, read the assigned portion in the book your group is sharing.
That’s five assignments, five quiet times, pray for each other, meditate, choose a date when you can have an extended quiet time before December 31, and read the assigned portion in the book your group is sharing. Now leaders close your group by singing your song and asking someone to close in prayer. May the Lord restore your souls as you seek to go deeper with him.