5 Tips for an Uninterrupted Quiet Time

I juggle two professions. I work as a freelance writer and editor and as a dental hygienist. Both jobs are hard on my neck, shoulders, and back. Twenty-eight years of bending forward and peering into people’s mouths have caused degenerative changes in my spine, and spending hours hunched over a keyboard does little to improve the condition. 

About a year ago I consulted a physical therapist, who designed an exercise routine to strengthen my muscles. This regimen, using my big blue exercise ball, and twice-daily traction time, does much to keep me comfortable and pain free. If I get busy and skip my exercises, I suffer for it.

Today I intended to get my exercises done early. As I stretched out on the floor and started crunching, the phone rang. A friend was returning an important phone call from the previous evening, so I jumped up to answer it. 

Winston, photo by K. Hatcher
Ten minutes later, I was back at the ball. This time a neighbor’s knock at the door interrupted my pushups. After swapping an empty cup for a pint of milk, I was back at it again. When Winston ran into the room and heaved on the carpet, I gave up. 

My exercise routine is a lot like my quiet time some days. I know it’s important. It’s good for me. I feel better and stronger when I take the time to exercise my spiritual muscles through Bible reading and prayer, but invariably, life works very hard to interrupt it.

Over the years I’ve discovered a few tips that help minimize interruptions:

1.  Commit the first minutes of each day to reading God’s word. When my children were young, this meant I had to set my alarm so I’d awaken earlier than they did. And that was pretty early. Prayer expert Becky Tirabassi’s words challenged me, “It’s better to be sleep deprived than God deprived.” To compensate for less sleep, I'd try to get to bed 30 minutes earlier.

2.  Use a prayer journal to help focus your thoughts. If I have a written list of people and situations for which I am praying, my mind is less likely to drift.

3.  Keep a notepad nearby. If a thought comes to mind that tempts me to do something “right now, so I won’t forget,” I jot it down on my pad and go right back to my prayer time without fear of forgetting.

4.  Train your children not to interrupt if they see Mommy reading her Bible. When my daughters were little, I’d allow them to climb up on my bed with their Bible storybooks as long as they were quiet and didn’t talk. It took some training, but it was very sweet to have our quiet times together.

5.  If you’re unable to awaken earlier than your children, commit the first part of your child’s naptime to Bible reading and prayer. Resist the urge to jump into “more productive” activities. Time spent in God’s Word will give you direction and strength to better accomplish the tasks of your day.

Do you struggle with life interrupting your quiet times? What suggestions do you have for making time with God a priority? Leave a comment in the box below and join the conversation. If you're reading by email, click here to leave a comment

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  1. Love this! You made me smile and you made some valid and practical points!

    1. Glad to share a smile, Dawn. Thanks for stopping by. :)

  2. I love the parallel between interupted exercise and quiet time, both of which can be frustrating. Isn't it funny how so often quiet time interruptions are caused by our own mind? Great tips - they've served me well!

    1. Yup, Lisa, most times I'm my own worse enemy. Forget Satan tempting me, I do that quite well myself!

  3. Great, practical post!! I like the idea of using nap time as a 2nd alternative. I always liked to have my quiet time before the kids were up, but often a baby or toddler keeping me up at night made that hard, OR inevitably no matter how early I got up, one of the kids were wake up early too. The idea of them having their Bible time quietly by you, is a good idea.

    1. Kathie,

      At one point in my daughter's life, I was convinced she could hear my EYELIDS opening. That was the time when I would be sure to have my quiet time before I even got out of bed, knowing that she'd be awake as soon as my foot hit the floor. Oh my!

  4. Ha! Ha! You're quiet time sounds a bit like mine...which is why I'm making one of the now empty bedrooms into my office! ;) Thanks for linking up!

    1. I did that too, Mindy, and it helps to have a dedicated space with all my favorite Bibles and Bible study books & my journal nearby. You'll love your new space. Thanks for stopping by :)

  5. Anonymous10:24 PM

    This comment is from Chris, via email -- her technical challenges wouldn't allow her to post it, so I'm tag teaming for her here --
    Just have a comment about today's devotion.
    For years I tried to have quiet time without too much sacrifice.
    I would set aside time to be still but the distractions would
    incessantly prevent me from uninterrupted time. Finally,
    I decided that the only time that would work for me and
    my lifestyle was early morning, while my husband was still
    asleep. so I would have to be quiet and could not be temped
    to run a load of wash, or be interupted by a phone call, etc.
    I now set the alarm for 6am everyday day (except weekends)
    My husband likes for me to be there in bed when he wakes up
    so I crawl back in bed at 7:30am for some cuddle time. We're
    both happy about how well this arrangement has worked for
    us! I no longer battle for the time to spend with the Lord.

    Blesssing & Love

  6. Another great post and great tips. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Thank you for the great post :) found it on Teach Me Tuesday's. Tara.

  8. Good tips! I keep my phone by my bed and read my Bible app study when I first wake up. But I love keeping a study/prayer journal...little harder to get the time everyday!

  9. As a mom of young children, I appreciate this post. I make every effort to get up earlier than my girls, read my Bible first thing, and then pray. I love the idea of having a prayer journal to keep focused because I'm always wracking my brain to come up with stuff to pray about. That would help! Thanks for the tip and encouraging post!

    One question: how do you train your children to sit there QUIETLY with their Bibles while you read? I have tried this repeatedly but my 2 year old will not stay quiet long at all.

    Thanks and God bless!

    1. Keri, you've nailed it when you used the words, "tried repeatedly." Training is so daily! At first, and as young as your child is, I wouldn't expect much more than 5 minutes of quiet at first. I always made sure mine had several Bible picture books to leaf through, with gentle "shhh, we're having our quiet time," reminders. I'd use rewards, too, if one actually accomplished a period of quiet (even if it was just a minute or two at first, then I'd stretch the duration before a reward). Mine loved to be read to, so after we finished our quiet times, I'd snuggle them up to read to them from a children's Bible and pray a short prayer with them. I'd encourage them to pray aloud at that time, too. During those days when they were very young, I didn't accomplish much quality quiet time for myself, and would reserve my serious reading and prayer for a time when they weren't around, but it was a training time for them, and for them to see Mommy actually reading her Bible and praying. I realized if I always did everything while they were asleep, they wouldn't see these important activities modeled. Hope this helps. Thanks so much for your question! You're a great mommy :)

  10. Stopping by from Far Above Rubies. What a wonderful post. I really like this. This is a struggle area for me with two toddlers, but I am resolved to do better this year than last! Blessings from Croatia. Rosilind from A Little R & R.

    1. Press on, Rosilind, God will reward you for your perseverance and commitment to spending time in his Word. Thanks for stopping by!

  11. This was great - I love the "better to be sleep deprived than God deprived" - so needed to hear that!

  12. This is definitely something I struggle with & am working on! thanks for sharing your struggle. Glad I'm not alone, and your tips are great! I need to become more disciplined and be more consistent.


  13. I love the fourth one, I need to get ready to train my daughter to do this. She is a little young now, but when she is old enough, this is a quality tool to use to keep my time in the Word a priority! Thank you for sharing and linking up today!

  14. Wonderful and much needed tips! I've been getting up early as I agree that I would rather be sleep deprived than God deprived. Thanks for linking up with Thrive @ Home!

  15. This is really good, Lori. Lots of sound advice...and fun to hear about your interruptions this one typical when we commit to quiet time.

  16. Great post! I've tried to teach my girls and even my husband that if they see me doing my Bible Study to please not interrupt me unless it is an emergency and it usually never is!


  17. made me smile as this has been my day!! I find that my quiet time is better when it is still dark outside. When I am running late and have my time with the Lord later in the day, my time doesn't seem as sweet because my mind is in gear, rushing on to the 'next thing'.

    This was such a good post. Thanks so much for linking up with me at WholeHearted Home. What you share is always a blessing to my blog.

  18. I really loved this! :) My days are go SO much smoother when I am able to spend time with God first thing in the morning! It's not always possible (I have a 13m old.)...but I definitely use morning nap time for some God time!

    Thank you for sharing! :)

  19. Thanks, this is what I needed to hear! I've been struggling with quiet times lately.

  20. Amen sister! My rascals know if mommy's door is closed "She's meeting with Jesus!" DO NOT DISTURB :O) Great post! Visiting from Blessings Beyond the Barnyard

  21. These are great, practical tips! Thank you for sharing them at Grace at Home. I featured you this week!

  22. Great tips Lori! I especially like the comparison to physical therapy. I've found that the sweetest time of the day with Jesus is over my first cup of coffee while the house is still quiet. If I put it off I rarely make it up later in the day. It is a sacrifice, but the greater sacrifice is becoming "anemic" and even ill spiritually.

    I found you over at Imparting Grace and I'm so thankful that I did!

    Blessings to you,

  23. I appreciate your thinking but I want to suggest you some instructions which are good according to your health. You should approach correct posturing and include some physical workouts in your routine of life.
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