Friday, July 22, 2011

Be quiet!

Yesterday I began a blog series about message preparation after a friend asked me this past week for any help I might offer here on the blog.  If you missed my post yesterday about starting with the end in mind, I recommend you go back and read it.  Today I'm going to talk about the second thing I do which I'm not really sure is always second, I guess most times it's first and starting with the end in mind becomes second.  You'll see what I mean in a minute.

While I'm a person of prayer, most of my message topics don't come to me during the moments of passionate intercessory prayer.  Although I'm always open to that happening and I spend time weekly in focused prayer, the subjects or titles for messages, or the main points of messages don't come in those times.  They usually just come as I'm spending quiet time in general.

One thing I have noticed is that anybody who I have ever seen mightily used of the Lord prioritizes quiet time.  You hear them talk about or refer to it often as a priority.   Quiet time for me is not always just sitting there -- it's often when I'm riding my bike alone early in the morning or at sunset, taking a walk by myself, soaking in my big tub, or at times I'll read the Word or a book and then put it down and just sit quietly and think for a while.  Other times things come to me in the moments as I'm laying down right before I take a nap or when I just wake up from one and lay there for a while.  All of these things are priorities to me and without fail my best "God ideas" come in those moments.

I believe every creative idea we ever have is from the Holy Spirit because God is the creator of everything and when He gives me an idea in those moments I see that as the Holy Spirit moving in and through me.

Usually as I am in these quiet moments, God drops a thought into my spirit, sometimes a message title or a subject or a few thoughts that become points for a message and nudges me to begin working on it.  In the case of series that I need to write (I preach weekly in our church, and am the exclusive speaker for Wednesday nights with rare exceptions) the Lord also drops ideas for series' into my mind during quiet times and usually on subsequent quiet times He will flesh that out and start to give me the message titles and thoughts that go with that series. 

After getting that thought during quiet time I then say, "Okay God, how do you want this to end up?" and I first start by getting a vision for the altar time and then begin actually writing the message.

I do not believe there are hard and fast rules for message preparation like some people do.  I believe God works through us all differently.  I will reiterate however that I haven't met anybody who has been really good at message preparation who didn't have quiet time.  That doesn't mean they don't exist, however I just wanted to give you something to really think about since this seems to be an important sticking point for many.

Some of you may be thinking, "Wow, she must have a good amount of quiet time each week because she's preaching every single week and has to prepare."  You're right.  Tomorrow I'm going to do a post specifically for those of you who have an issue with anyone granting you any quiet time.  I can sense some of you may feel defeated already since you don't get a quiet moment to yourself all day.  More to come...

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