If there’s anything I’ve heard nearly unanimously among Christian moms, it’s that our daily quiet time — a.k.a devotions, prayer time, Bible reading, time with Jesus, etc. — is a challenge with little ones. And most of us would probably say it’s never as long or as “quiet” as we’d like it to be.
We might even admit that many days, it doesn’t happen at all.
But Momma, can I say something blunt but truthful? You cannot afford to cut it out of your daily routine. Being a mom, especially a Christian mom, requires God’s help every single day. We cannot do it on our own. And that kind of regular infusion of strength and wisdom comes from seeking Him on a regular basis. We cannot draw from a well that has not been filled.
That doesn’t mean it’s easy. Oh, heavens. It’s not easy at all! In fact, it feels almost impossible some days.
But just because it’s hard doesn’t mean we have an excuse not to do it. It means we must be even more diligent about guarding it. After all, it’s the most valuable things in life that we work the hardest to protect.
GOD KNOWS… AND HE ASKS FOR IT ANYWAY
Motherhood isn’t a surprise to God. The demands, the work, the interruptions… He sees them all, and He understands them all. In every season, He knows what you’re going through and the challenges you face.
But He also knows that you can’t do it in your own strength. He knows that you need Him. And He desires regular communion with you.
Jesus says in John 15:5, “I am the vine and you are the branches. The one who remains in Me, and I in him, will bear much fruit. For apart from Me you can do nothing.”
Do you honestly believe He would call you to a role, and place you in a season, that made it impossible to carry out His commands? Would He ask you to do something, even something as sacred as raising children, that would hinder your relationship with Him?
I happen to believe He wouldn’t.
And if I believe He wouldn’t, then I have to believe that being a mom doesn’t give me an “out” for regular time in His Word and in prayer.
Having small children can’t be my excuse to neglect it. And therefore, I must make it a great priority to protect it.
Let me be clear — I don’t say any of this to incite guilt or condemn anyone. I know how hard it can be with little ones. I’ve been tempted many days to skip my morning devotions because I don’t think I have the time or because something comes up.
But I also know how quickly one morning can turn into two, which can turn into three. And before you know it, weeks have passed. And that severed communion directly and significantly hinders our ability to be the mom God has called us to be.
So, I say all this not to make you feel bad but rather to motivate you and inspire you. And now that (hopefully) I’ve convinced you that it needs to be a priority, here are my top tips for making daily time in Scripture and prayer a reality.
5 Tips for a Consistent Quiet Time With Small Kids
1. Choose a Time That Works For You
Just because many people talk about “morning devotions” doesn’t mean you have to do it in the morning. I prefer to do it in the morning because it sets me up for the day and it’s 99% more likely to happen if I do it first thing.
But if mornings don’t work for you, then try another time of the day! Maybe your kids’ nap times work better for you, or evenings. Try it out for a week and see if you can consistently commit to it. If not, then you may need to try one of the next tips.
2. Put it in Your Schedule
Once you’ve picked a time of the day, put it in your schedule. Build your morning routine around it, write it in your planner (here’s my favorite!), or find some other way to prioritize it in your daily routine. Treat it like an important appointment that you don’t want to miss. Because it is.
There are days I feel like I should be doing something else. Housework, blog work, exercising, whatever. Sometimes stuff comes up or my morning is a little crazier than expected, and I’m tempted to cut my Bible reading. I feel guilty for what looks like just sitting on the couch reading.
But when I treat it like a non-negotiable appointment with myself and with God, I am much less likely to skip it. And I never regret it later.
3. Create a “Quiet Time” Station
Something that helps me is having a “quiet time” station with everything I need in a basket right next to the seat I sit in every morning. This prevents me from spending any precious minutes hunting down my Bible or book or pen. As soon as I get up in the morning (after a bathroom visit, of course), I grab my cup of coffee and sit, ready to dive in.
4. Have Realistic Expectations
None of what I’m saying means that your quiet time is going to look perfect. It may not look like what you see on Instagram or on your favorite Christian blogs. It may not look like you thought it would or like you wish it would. It certainly won’t look like it did before you had kids.
In my perfect world, I would be up by myself an hour before anyone else. I would study Scriptures in depth and have long, undistracted talks with God.
But that’s just not my reality. I do get up early… but so does my four-year-old son. I can’t out-wake him. Believe me, I’ve tried.
So, I’ve had to learn how to read my Bible, journal, pray, and read other edifying books with him at my side. And sometimes I have to get his younger brother up in the middle of it. I’ve also nursed a baby while doing it. It’s never as “quiet” as I’d like it to be, but it strengthens me, nonetheless.
Which brings me to my last tip…
5. Train Your Kids to Respect the Time
Some people may not like this, but I’m going to say it anyway. I have a very consistent morning quiet time because I refuse to be deterred by every interruption from my kids. I am training them to recognize that when Mommy is reading her Bible, that means they shouldn’t interrupt. And I do not feel one ounce of guilt about that.
Of course, with little ones, there are true needs that need to be addressed. And this doesn’t mean I ignore them. My two-year-old usually sleeps long enough that he’s not an issue, but when he wakes up early, of course I get him up. But I quickly get him settled with some breakfast and pick up where I left off.
And whenever I have an infant, their needs are obviously addressed right away. (Many mornings, I have read my Bible while nursing a baby or pumping a bottle before work!)
But for my 4-year-old, I have no problems asking him to respect my Bible reading time. I get him started with breakfast, and after he’s finished eating, he knows he is to play on his own while I read my Bible and pray. And when he does interrupt (which still happens daily at this point), I simply tell him I will be happy to listen to him or read to him or play with him or whatever it is he wants after I’m finished, but right now I’m reading my Bible, and that’s important.
Sometimes an inner voice tells me I’m being a bad mom for putting my needs before his wants. (It sounds a lot like the voice of our society that constantly tells us our lives should revolve around our kids.)
But I reject that voice for two reasons:
- As I’ve said, time with God is valuable and essential to me both as a mom and as a woman of God. It doesn’t make me a bad mom — I need it to be a good one.
2. I know Aidan is seeing firsthand the prominence of Scripture in my life. I am teaching him this spiritual discipline both in words and example. Sometimes he even grabs his Beginner’s Bible and sits next to me on the couch to read with me. Those are the days that assure me I’m doing something right.
I’ve heard it said that when Susanna Wesley, mother of John and Charles Wesley (plus eight other children), needed time to pray, she pulled her apron over her head as a sign to the children to give her the space to do so.
I recall that story quite often and, while I don’t usually wear a physical apron, it gives me the courage to wield a metaphorical one. Not only is it necessary for my own sanity, but it sets an example for my kids of our daily need for the Lord’s strength.
So, don’t feel guilty about asking your children to wait while you fill your soul with Scripture. I promise it won’t hurt them, and they will actually learn a valuable lesson in the importance of daily time in the Word.
Daily time in God’s Word is a struggle as moms, especially as moms of little ones. There are so many needs to be met and demands for our attention.
But it is an essential part of our day that connects us to the wisdom, the heart, and the strength of God. So, while it may not be easy, it is, therefore, something that needs to be prioritized and protected. And I hope that these five tips will help you do just that.
Scripture Reading Resources I Love:
- Life Application Study Bible
- She Reads Truth Bible
- Mom’s Devotional Bible
- The Books of the Bible
- One Year Chronological Bible
- Wayfinding Bible
This piece originally appeared at themerrymomma.com, published with permission.