Intro: Appointment with the King



         One day a distraught man named John Salas nervously opened the door to my office,  “I’ve tried everything,” he blurted out. “I’ve been addicted to alcohol and drugs, and I’ve even tried a couple of religions. Now my wife wants to leave me. What can you do for me?”

Rarely had I witnessed such desperation in all my years of counseling. As one of the pastors at the El Batán Church in Quito , Ecuador , I had counseled many needy people, but John  was different. He was clearly at the end of his rope. “I know that you’ve been sincerely seeking for answers,” I said, “but only Jesus Christ can fill the void in your heart.” As I led him in prayer to receive Jesus Christ, the urgency in John ’s voice finally ended in relief.

            God took control of John  that day, and he became a new creation. A radiance and joy flooded his life. Before he departed, I counseled John  to spend time with God daily. 

At the new believers’ class the next evening, John  related to me how he had awoken early in the morning and spent time with his new friend, Jesus. John  began a pattern of spending daily time alone with God that revolutionized his life and transformed him into a dynamic Christian. Over the years, as I watched John  grow, I noticed the power of God in his ministry, in the renewal of his marriage and in the prosperity of his work.

John  still had his share of difficulties. Past marriage problems plagued him, and moving his restaurant to a new location required a heavy financial commitment. Yet God’s blessing followed him wherever he went. God was enlarging John’s territory, and others noticed it.

I realized that the heavenly Father was rewarding John  for spending time alone with Him. The words of Christ were coming true before my eyes:  But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you” (Matthew 6:6).

Years later, I had the opportunity to prove the relationship between quiet time and God’s blessing. To earn my Ph.D. degree, I polled 700 small group lay leaders in 8 countries around the world. I wanted to determine why certain small group leaders were more successful than others in growing and multiplying their groups. I was surprised to discover that a leader’s success had nothing to do with personality, social status, education or spiritual gifting; it had everything to do with time spent with God. Time spent in the quiet time consistently appeared as the most important factor in my study.

I wasn’t expecting this correlation. I thought I’d discover more natural, human reasons for success in ministry.  Yet, the correlation is a logical one. During quiet time alone with the living God, we hear God’s voice and receive His wisdom. It stands to reason, then, that Spirit-filled lay leaders, moving under God’s guidance, will have an untouchable sense of direction and leadership. God grants them success.

        Although you might never lead a small group, this same personal guidance is available for you. God desires to reward you and make you more effective in your job, with your family, in your studies and in your interpersonal relationships. The Father, who sees us in our daily quiet time, will reward you openly.

        Of course, the best reward of all is fellowship with the living God and getting to know Him better. This should be our most important target and chief goal. The more time we spend with God, the more we become like Him.  

I’ve Tried, But . . .  

For many, quiet time is not an exiting adventure of knowing the living God; rather, it’s a lot like eating liver, attending a required board meeting, or taking out the trash. “I’ll do it by the sheer force of my will—nothing more.” A friend of mine once said:

What has been my problem in the past is dryness ... no heartfelt time with the Lord, but instead just going through the motions. I fulfilled my quiet time out of duty ... because I thought it was the right thing to do. I wanted to get something from God. Now I want to be with him, communicating with him, “touching” my Father.


        At one time or another we have all felt dryness when spending time with God. If you are struggling with spending regular time with God, you don’t need guilt heaped upon you. What you do need is concrete solutions to making your quiet time fresh.

Perhaps someone has tried to tell you that you’re not really a Christian unless you have a quiet time. If so, rather than being a delight, spending time with God became a burden.

Or maybe you’re just not convinced that a daily quiet time is truly importantit’s a nice thought, and perhaps a good thing, but not indispensable. When job, family and outside activities compete for attention, quiet time tends to take a backseat. 

Many see quiet time as too routine. I often hear the phrase, “When I have an urge to seek the Lord, I will, but making it a regular practice seems too ritualistic, not spontaneous enough.” Jim, a close friend of mine, said to me, “I know I should have a regular quiet time, but I’ve been waiting for it to feel right to get started.” Those who feel this way fail to see quiet time as a Christian discipline that forms into a habit.

        Or maybe you’re a brand-new Christian who has never heard of a daily quiet time. When Chad received Jesus in his life several months ago, he wanted a deeper walk with God but didn’t know how. While he read God’s Word sporadically and prayed, he lacked the daily power to live a victorious Christian life. Chad recognized that his victory in Christ depended on spending daily quiet time with God.  

My Experience  

I’m not a passive writer on the topic of quiet time. I have discovered a direct relationship between my own success and failure and my quiet time with God. I have often said to God, “I’m too busy today. I have too much to accomplish. I’ll check in later.”

At the end of the day, after never having found the time, I realize what a frustrating, unfruitful and conflictive day I experienced. Without my time with God, I flounder through my day without the Spirit’s control to face life’s difficulties. 

I went through one of those periods in 1996 while living in Pasadena, California, and attending Fuller Theological Seminary. “You know how pressed I am for time to turn in my course work,” I argued with God. “I just don’t have time for a daily quiet time.”

Soon after, I somehow managed to complete a major paper on church history and turn it in on time. When I received it back, however, it was covered with red ink from the professor. I had to completely redo it.

 At this point, God clearly spoke to me. “Joel,” He said, “I’m the one who will give you wisdom. Even when you’re extremely busy, seek me first and I’ll give you success.”

“Okay, God,” I said. “I’ll obey you. I’ll spend regular time in the midst of my busyness. Just remember that I even have less time to complete this next paper.”

I was about to discover that tithing my time to spend with God would help me make better use of the time I had. God was faithful. I found new, better ways of writing. My papers began to come back to me with encouraging comments, even though I had not spent as much time on them.

Your experience might have nothing to do with writing papers, yet the principle remains the same: As you commit yourself to spend time with God, He will bless your life and help you make better use of your time.

I have come to believe that the most important spiritual discipline in the Christian life is maintaining a regular quiet timea time to talk to God and allow God to speak to you; a time to read the Word and receive food for your soul.

My quiet time provides me with a chance for a daily checkup, a time to express my cares and concerns. It is where I receive plans for the future and joy that strengthens my soul. It is my opportunity to talk directly with the One who loves me, who chose me before the creation of the universe and who is as close as the air I breathe.  

What You Can Expect from This Book  

    This book will teach you how to spend quality time with God each day, refreshing your soul and preparing you for the day ahead.

    This book is not a classical devotional book (a day-by-day guide for having devotions); rather, it’s a guide to help you develop and maintain your own dynamic quiet time. Each chapter will provide practical suggestions on how to experience God more fully in your quiet time. My goal is to help you understand the whys and hows of spending time with God.

     My hope is that you’ll be encouraged and excited to spend daily quiet time with the living God. It might take time for you to make it a habit, but you will soon notice God’s blessing in your life. Be faithful, and God Himself will remove the shackles of dryness and rain down a fresh anointing over your soul. Your quiet time will soon become a delight, the best moment of your day.