I am a planner and a list-maker. I function better with a plan. Without a plan, I tend to wander around in circles and get exactly nothing done. And who doesn’t love the thrill of crossing off an item on their to-do list?!?!? (And am I the only one who has written something down that I already completed just so I could check it off?)
Today (and all of this next week), I am prepping for the new year and I set up my quiet time planner. I posted a picture on social media and someone asked me to share more about it, so I thought a quick post would be helpful.
DISCLAIMER: This is what works for me. A stay-at-home mom with grown kids out of the house and one teenager at home. I don’t have a job outside the home and I am not committed to any activities outside of church stuff. But, in 3 weeks, I will start watching my granddaughter 3 days a week and all of the parts will not happen every day! God knows the season you are in and He will meet you where you are and give you wisdom and clarity and direction. God’s heart is to spend time with you, not to go over a checklist of to-dos to see how many chapters you’ve read, or which verses you have memorized, or how many minutes you spent praying.
My relationship with God is my number one priority. Taking time to learn more about Him and His Word, talking with Him about life, and listening to what He has to say to me is a key component of my life. Our relationship is not limited to Sunday mornings or even to a designated “Quiet Time”. It’s an ever-evolving, ever-growing, pursuit of intimacy with my Savior, my King, and Lord. The relationship is the priority; the planner is the tool that helps me focus and gives me a place to journal that relationship.
I have been a planner-girl since I was in my teens. I am a writer – (as in, constantly writing notes, not becoming the great American novelist or anything!) So all of this comes naturally to me and is fun for me. I know not everyone is nerdy like I am, so don’t beat yourself up if this seems impossible or you don’t have the “want-to”, but I do encourage you to start by keeping a simple journal.
My current planner is a Happy Planner. For 2019, they released the Faith Warrior planner and it is designed specifically for faith-based planning. The weekly page will be a place to summarize my quiet time, and I will be adding (LOTS OF) extra paper for the different sections that I use. I will share a little about each section below. You can pick up a Faith Warrior planner on their website or at Michaels, Hobby Lobby, or Joann. (Make sure you get a coupon!)
But don’t let the planner stop you – any simple notebook will do!
I love Bibles. I have too many. Way too many. I am currently loving my CSB She Reads Truth Bible. I love the readability (is that a word?) of the CSB version. My favorite thing about the She Reads Truth Bible is the wide margins. There is plenty of space to make notes and I do so with my colored pens. I don’t use color-coding per se, but if I make a note in the margin, I underline the word, phrase, or verse in the same color to easily tie them together.
READ THE WORD
For 2019 I have chosen to focus on Old Testament history. Last year I failed spectacularly in the One Year Bible reading plan and never made it past Numbers. I love to hang out in the New Testament but I realized I have been neglecting the Old Testament.
I will be reading one chapter a day beginning with Joshua and going through Esther. This is 249 chapters. At 5 chapters a week, it will take me 49.8 weeks to complete. (In Jesus’ name.) My plan is to listen to it in the YouVersion app while following along in my print Bible. Now here’s the thing: if I actually stuck to that, I would probably keel over in shock. I have to have a plan, though, or I’ll never get started! 🙂
This portion of quiet time is not a deep-dive into the Word. It’s usually a pretty quick read. Occasionally something will jump out at me and I will spend a little extra time there, but for the most part, I just read through and move on to whatever I am studying.
I created a printout so I can check off each chapter as I read it. (Thank you, Google Spreadsheets!)
STUDY THE WORD
I have tried in the past to study the same passage that I’m reading, but I would never get anywhere in the reading department! I like to break down verses and passages and I can spend days or weeks in just a few verses.
For 2019, I am studying through some of Paul’s writings. I don’t know how far I will actually get so I made a list to get me started. I am flexible knowing that I may get “distracted” by a specific topic that I want to study further.
I have already started Ephesians and will continue studying it in the new year. I am NOT a Bible scholar and I probably miss out on so, so much, but I have found that using my Bible, an online concordance, and the Webster’s 1828 dictionary gives me a great start in understanding and applying the Word.
I created a printout for my planner so I can check off each chapter as I study. (Again, thank you Google Spreadsheets!)
PRAY THE WORD
If I have limited time, reading the Word and praying the Word are my go-tos. I love keeping a prayer journal and looking back to see all the things God has done. Sometimes I pray out loud. Other times I write out my prayers.
My prayer section is pretty much like any you might have seen before. In 2019, I am keeping the components of prayer separate. I have a page for WORSHIP – where I write out attributes of God to meditate on and pray through.
The next page is for YAY GODs. Each day I make a list of 3 things (or more) that God has done or is doing.
The next page is CONFESSION. It is blank except for Scriptures that guide me in walking through a time of confession and repentance. (Because, hey – I might lose the planner and I don’t need anybody to see all that!)
Next is the BELIEVING GOD FOR . . . section. I have separate pages for my husband and kids and grandkids. I write out specific things I am believing God for and verses to declare over them. I also have pages for salvations, healings, marriages, government, church (including a list of ministries and leaders), my small group, and anything else that I want to pray for regularly.
WRITE THE WORD
I already told you I’m a writer. And I absolutely love writing the Word! I am starting out 2019 with a Scripture writing plan from Sweet Blessings. She has plenty to choose from! I picked one on the Names of God to start out the year.
There is something about writing Scripture. It just . . . I don’t even know. But there is something! Try it for yourself and you’ll see what I mean.
MEMORIZE THE WORD
There is also something about memorizing the Word. The enemy will lie to you and tell you it’s too hard. But the Bible says to hide the Word in your heart and God doesn’t ask us to do something without equipping us to do it. Don’t stress about Scripture memorization!
My plan is to memorize one verse a week. I promise you – you can do it. My method is to print out the passage I’m memorizing (usually a Psalm) and read it out loud repeatedly for just a few minutes a day. Sometimes I open up the YouVersion app and let it read the passage to me and I say it along with the app (sneaking peeks at my printed version!). It is pretty easy to remember one verse a week and each week, I just add a new verse to the previous verses! You. Can. Do. It.
And you will be surprised to find the Holy Spirit bringing verses to your memory at just the right time. Verses you may have memorized months or years ago will pop into your head and you’ll have the word of encouragement for that person you are praying with.
DECLARE THE WORD
The enemy absolutely hates it when the Word is declared. Our soul is strengthened when we declare the Word. Declaring the Word out loud helps renew our minds. Our spirits already know what is what, but our souls (our mind, will, and emotions)? Those souls often need some convincing. Declaring the Word in the face of the enemy is powerful.
In times of spiritual attack, declaring the Word has kept me from giving up. Declaring the Word reminds me who God is and what He thinks about me and the situation. Declaring the Word brings life to dead places. Declaring the Word keeps me focused on the truth rather than the reality.
I could go on and on about this! In my quiet time planner, I have a section to write down the declarations that I am speaking over my life.
Here’s an example: Psalm 37:7 says, “Be still in the presence of the Lord and wait patiently for Him to act.” During a time of intense spiritual attack against our family, God gave me this verse. For months I walked around declaring, “I will be still in the presence of the Lord and wait patiently for Him to act.” In the middle of the night when I couldn’t sleep and didn’t have the words to pray, I would whisper this declaration over and over again. It was all I had. During the day when I would get frustrated and overwhelmed with our situation, I would declare this verse as a reminder to me that God was in control and could handle it way better than me. That declaration kept me from acting a fool, kept me out of God’s way, and allowed Him to provide a miracle.
Keep your eyes open for Scripture that you can declare. You might not need it today, but write it down. You never know when it will become the very truth you need!
LISTEN TO THE WORD
A section that I will be adding to my 2019 planner is “Listen to the Word”. I want to be more intentional about listening to sermons and solid Bible teaching. Yes, my husband is a pastor, and I will get to listen to him every single week, but I like to listen to other messages, too! (He’s still my favorite preacher, though.) I will keep sermon notes that I take and a list of messages I listened to in this section.
LIVE THE WORD
The Bible was meant to be lived, not just read. One of the things I love about the 2019 Faith Warrior Planner is that there is a spot on each day to write down how you plan to apply the Word of God. Again, I keep this simple, but I write down what God has shown me through the Word or spoken to me in prayer. It’s amazing how easily I forget those applications when I don’t write them down! But having them right there on the page is a great reminder.
If you are just starting out with a faith planner / quiet time journal / whatever you want to call it, keep it simple! First, decide on YOUR why. Not my why, not someone else’s why – YOUR why. Then design a planner to help you out. Remember, the planner is just a tool. And there are no rules. Start simply and you can always add to it.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on faith planners!