A Framework for Having a Daily, Consistent Quiet Time
When it comes to making disciples, or being discipled yourself, one of the first questions that usually comes up is the question of a daily quiet time with God. What does it look like to pray every day? How can I begin to get into Scripture every day? This is a new discipline for many, so what’s a simple way to get started?
When I disciple someone, I usually start with a framework called “PLUMPO.” Yes, it has a funny name, but it’s simple enough to remember easily. New disciples especially need simple tools to be able to remember so that they aren’t discouraged right out of the gate.
So let’s walk through PLUMPO together.
As you begin, you’re going to want to pray a simple prayer. It might look something like this…
“Father, speak to me through Your Word. Show me any impure motives that are in me. Help me to hear from You clearly today in Scripture.”
If you’re further down the discipleship path, you may have your own way of doing this opening prayer and that’s great. But as you disciple someone else, it’s best to start simple.
This is where we spend time in Scripture. I encourage you to read one chapter a day as you begin. I think it helps give you a better flow of Scripture and a broader understanding of the context as opposed to reading a “verse of the day” from somewhere. Maybe you will use a tool (for example, Discovery Bible Studies) to walk through a chapter or two of the Bible each day. As you read, listen for what God is saying to you through Scripture.
As you read and God begins showing you different things, you will want to underline them with a pen or highlight a verse or two. If you’re new to being a follower of Jesus, yes, it is okay to write in your Bible. You’ll want the underlines or highlights as you walk through your quiet time. They will come in handy in a minute.
Which verse or characteristic of God is really jumping out at you? Spend some time meditating on that word or phrase. Another word I like to use is “marinate.” Let God’s work marinate you. Let it soak into your heart and soul. Allow it to transform every fiber of your being. Spend some time silently meditating on God’s Word.
Then work toward memorizing. Take that verse that is really standing out to you, and write it down on a 3X5 notecard and place it somewhere prominent. Maybe your car’s dashboard, a bathroom mirror, or next to the chair you sit in most often. Read it daily, practice putting that verse away in your heart and soul so that it becomes a part of your long-term memory. Memorizing is a great way to combat temptation and spiritual warfare.
Now go back to God in prayer. Thank God for revealing Himself through His Word. Thank Him for showing you more of His character and what He has for you. Ask God for clarity on specific next steps. Based on what you’ve read, meditated on, and are memorizing, what is God asking you to do specifically?
- Read the Bible daily?
- Be kinder to your spouse?
- Be more honest at work?
No matter what God is clearly calling you to do, pray and thank Him for revealing it. Then ask Him to give you the power to follow through in obedience.
Transformation comes only through obedience. Just reading Scripture daily as a checkbox doesn’t transform us in the long run. When you discern that God is calling you to a specific next step, let someone know. Maybe for you it’s someone who is discipling you. Let them know that God is asking you to do something specific. Ask them to help keep you accountable or take next steps to accomplish that goal.
If you are further along in your walk, you still have steps of obedience to take. Ask God to reveal your next step to you and then share with someone who can help hold you accountable. All in all, PLUMPO should take you about 15 minutes each day. If you really dig into it, you can probably get 30 minutes out of it. That’s a great start, especially for a new disciple.
Set a goal for yourself to give PLUMPO a try. Maybe three, five, or even seven days a week. As you get more comfortable with the tool yourself, you will be more likely and able to share with someone you are leading.
(For more from Stan, check out www.fourgen.org.)