I am still progressing my goal to read more theological and devotional books, and the latest of these has been perhaps one of the best in a long while: A Place of Quiet Rest, by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. This book is essentially a “road map” for cultivating a consistent devotional life, for transforming your devotional time from mere duty to delight. It explains how we were made to have intimacy with our Creator, and delves into some of the common hindrances to that intimacy.
A Place of Quiet Rest begins with a look into Christ’s time on earth, how He spent much consistent time with His Father despite the multitudes clamoring to meet Him and the weariness that must have enveloped His body. It continues with the examples of people throughout Scripture who enjoyed intimacy with God (Adam & Eve, Abraham, David, Mary & Martha). It then delves into some purposes for cultivating that intimacy, such as restoration and instruction, direction and transformation. The next section gives a pattern for establishing a consistent devotional life, based on Christ’s practices during His time on earth (consistency, in the morning, in solitude). Following these purposes and principles for establishing a daily time of intimacy with God, DeMoss focuses on overcoming difficulties we all face every day (fatigue, distraction, busyness, dry spells, etc), emphasizing that time alone with God must be our highest priority and receive our greatest focus. The second half of the book contains Biblical suggestions for cultivating such a daily practice through receiving the Word with mind and heart, and responding to the Word with prayer and praise. Some practical suggestions are included, such as:
– preparing the heart and mind to meet with God
– reading prayerfully and thoughtfully
– how and why to read the Bible systematically
– writing out whole portions of Scripture
– recording insights into Scripture (observations, applications)
– how to respond to His revelation (worship and praise)
– reasons and ways to praise God in response to His Word
– how to respond to God in prayer
Each chapter of A Place of Quiet Rest also includes a “Making it Personal” section with thought-provoking questions, and a note “From the Heart of” various godly women who show by their examples what it means to walk daily with God.
This book has been by far one of the most influential for guiding me to a deeper, more meaningful time of devotion with God. I would highly recommend A Place of Quiet Rest to men and women alike, for though it was written by a woman it contains much that is applicable to all believers. Many if not all of us struggle to maintain consistency and depth in our time with God. Our focus wavers, our time grows hurried, our hearts and minds grow distracted. Personally, I have tasted victory over these areas as I’ve come to a deeper understanding of what it means to walk intimately with God. I have gained practical understanding of how to overcome daily complications to my time and energies. I have been able to pinpoint specific problems I face and habits I must break in order to further cultivate my relationship with Him. I have learned how to more fully understand the Word, by such simple suggestions as writing it out by hand, and praying it back to its original Author. I have made the promise, as a result of God’s working in me through this book, to not let one day pass by without spending time alone with God and His Word. Please, friends, consider reading this book. No matter where you are in your practice of “doing devotions,” I daresay every one us can stand to improve, and this book very practically lays out suggestions for doing so.