Are you in a season where you feel dry and thirsty?
Jesus promised that Living Water that wells up and spills out, satisfying and quenching our own thirst and running over to those around us. But what about when you’re in a season where the wheels have fallen off the wagon and you’re in a rut that you just don’t know how to climb out of?
Last year when I had a newborn, my soul felt so dry and thirsty during that hectic season. When it seemed that I needed the help and encouragement of the Scriptures the most, I struggled to consistently find quiet time to spend with the Lord in prayer and in His word.
James 4:8 says, “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.”
With my life feeling so upside-down, my usual routines for spending time with the Lord were not falling into place, and I didn’t know what to do to find that space in my days or the want-to in my heart to drink at the Fountain. I asked the Lord to help me to draw near to Him, and He provided for me two main ways to seek Him during those challenging months.
1. iPhone Prayers
I set alarms on my phone to remind me to pray throughout the day. I was very specific with my phone reminders! I didn’t have a lot of extra brain cells functioning at full capacity during this season!, so keeping my phone reminders simple and specific worked well for me.
At 7 a.m., pray Psalm 139:23-24.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!”
At 9 a.m., pray Psalm 25:4-5.
“Make me to know your ways, O LORD; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long.”
At 11 a.m., in prayer obey 1 Peter 5:7.
“Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”
At 1 p.m., pray Philippians 4:6-7.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
At 3 p.m., pray Psalm 19:12-14.
“…Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me! Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression. Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.”
In a feeble, imperfect way, I was drawing near to my Heavenly Father. Through these small moments of connection with the Lord, I was discovering joy in Him again, and the joy of the Lord was proving to be my strength.
2. Hard Stops and Trigger Events
I tried to find one or two “hard stops” in my day. For example, when baby’s afternoon naptime came around, naptime was a “trigger event” every day that signaled a “hard stop.”
As soon as naptime began, I sent my preschooler to play by himself in his room for a while, I turned off my phone, abandoned the dirty dishes, pushed the toys to one side of the couch, and spent a few moments alone with the Lord and read my Bible. I never knew what time naptime would be during those early weeks, so I didn’t worry about sticking to a schedule — I counted on the baby napping at SOME point before suppertime, and that would be my few minutes to sit down to be alone with God. I guarded those moments fiercely!
Every day when I scrambled eggs (whether it was 7 a.m. or 10 a.m.!), breakfast preparation was my “trigger event” for listening to God’s word. My little boy learned that he had to be quiet for 10 minutes so that I could listen to Scripture (I use the audio tool on this Bible app or listen to an episode of the Ask Pastor John podcast.
Nursing the baby was another “trigger event.” I really struggled with the temptation to plop down and just scroll through Facebook or read the news on my phone while I fed her, but I asked the Lord over and over again to make me diligent to take even five minutes at the beginning of each nursing session to work on Scripture memory through an app (I use these two apps: Verses and ScriptureTyper) or to read a Scripture devotion (like those on the She Reads Truth app).
If you feel like I did, that finding a quiet few minutes seems impossible during certain seasons, don’t give up drawing near to God! Rather than waiting for adequate sleep, good health, or perfect routine, let’s do whatever we can to draw near to Him and savor Him in the midst of our frailty and mess. One of the sweetest things about using these techniques during that busy season was that the Lord used all those little “nibbles” at God’s word to whet my spiritual appetite for more of Him.
Now that God has moved me into a season of (usually!) more sleep and a little more routine, He has also moved my heart to again rise early to spend time with Him before the kids get up. But even for those of us who are able to rise early, we can seek to continue moment by moment and day by day “abiding in Christ” and “drawing near to God.” Whether by using apps or iPhone alarms, a sticky note scribbled with a verse, or singing hymns of truth to God while we wash up the supper dishes, may we draw near to the throne of grace to receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Amanda Criss is a wife, stay-at-home mom, and blogger at Bless Your Heart and Home. She writes to encourage the hearts of women through the good news of Jesus Christ. She and her husband, Jody, have two children and live in their home state of Mississippi.