The students asked questions either from their quiet times or about quiet time. One question that stood out was how to be consistent. The girls all agreed they struggled with staying consistent. They also shared ideas with each other about how to stay consistent.
We talked about the enemy’s desire to distract us which led to a question about God knowing that Satan would tempt Eve and that they would eat the fruit. I showed the students what I would do to answer a question like that biblically. I would look up an article that had several scripture references. Then I would study those scriptures in order to seek the answer. With deep questions like that one, it takes time to find the answer. I sent to article to the students and encouraged them to read the article with their parents and study scripture.
Some of the students and I made up a word and challenged the students to figure it out by Feb. 4th, just for some fun. You will have to wait until then to find out what it means! 😉
The girls discussed their quiet times and what stood out to them. The girls opened up about how busy life can be and how easy it is to get distracted. We talked about setting an alarm on our phones to help remind us to have our Jesus time. All of the girls liked that idea and set reminders on their phones. We talked about how praying God’s Word went in their quiet times (most of the girls were not there the week before). The girls that were there admitted they had forgotten to try it. So we took about 10 minutes and I let the girls each look up a scripture and read it. Then I asked the girls how they might pray that scripture. The girls had really good feedback on how to pray each scripture that was given.
We talked about how not all time spent with Jesus or “quiet times” look the same. This is a relationship and should be enjoyable.
I like to use colorful pens when I journal. I recently found faith stickers at Hobby Lobby and was so excited to use them in my journaling. We discussed how some people like structure with their quiet times but what works for one may not work for another. We can embrace our differences and accept that quiet times are different for everyone.
I like to change it up and sometimes be adventurous. A quiet time by the lake or at a park can be very refreshing (when it’s not 20 degrees!). The girls shared their different preferences for a quiet time. Some liked journaling and some did not.
I shared the book I’m reading, Beth Moore’s Praying God’s Word. That’s the challenge for the next three weeks for the girls. They will try out praying God’s words as they read and meditate on them. If they don’t know where to start, I gave them 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 or Ephesians 6:10-18.
To close, I encouraged each young lady to build an intimate relationship with their Father who loves them deeply. I point out that He has chosen them and set them apart for a purpose that I can’t wait for them to discover which will happen as they draw near to Him!
We read 2 Timothy 3:16-17 and someone asked what reproof meant. After discussing the meaning of the word, that lead us into a discussion of the benefits of reading the Bible slowly, thoughtfully, and with the intent of learning something and growing in our Christian walk. If we don’t know for sure what a word means, we should look it up so that we have a full understanding of the scripture. It was great to see that lightbulb moment happen about the thorough examination of scripture in order to get a full understanding of it.
This service went a little different because there were several students are already doing their own quiet time studies. We had some of the students share about their quiet time experiences from the different scriptures they were reading. Then as a large group we discussed what stood out in those different passages. It was such a blessing to see these students living out what we have been talking about for the last month.
After the students spread out and had their quiet times, it seemed that prayer was standing out to several students. We talked about prayer for a while then I had them spread out again and pray for two things. The first thing I had them pray for was the families that don’t have good relationships with each other going into a very family oriented holiday like Christmas. I asked them to be very specific and list out everything they were grateful for. Then I had them pray and give thanks to God for all the many blessings that they have in their lives.
Three weeks went by very rapidly.
Our group of young men finished off their third week with me by going on a prayer walk of sorts around the church property. We tried to envision what the relationship was like between Jesus and his disciples as they spent three years together walking, talking, learning and praying with the Son of God.
As a group we stopped several times sharing with one another a little of what we had discussed over the past couple weeks and individually they all shared prayer requests with one another.
All of them asked in one way or another for continued prayers and for a more consistent quiet time along with prayer for other on-going personal challenges. Someone different within the group prayed each time for the requests shared and committed to praying for them during the week as well.
It was great to see everyone bring their guards down to share with their peers and they all saw from one another a desired accountability and prayer for a deeper more meaningful time with God. We had great talks while we walked and it will be interesting to see God work through them as they grow.
This week in strength and beauty, we had an almost entirely new group for both services. We reviewed what my quiet times look like; some listening to the Bible, reading the Bible, praying and spending time listening to God. We asked the girls what their quiet times looked like, and they shared about the time that they spend with God.
We reviewed why we have a quiet time. I explained how in the same way that married couples, over time, adopt each other’s mannerisms and may even look the same. The more time we spend with our Heavenly Father, the more we begin to reflect Him. We also discussed and answered questions about where a good place to start reading the Bible may be.
We are so excited to see what questions the girls come with this Sunday!
The boy’s strength and beauty session covered a small introduction in getting to know me (John Banta) and getting to know them a bit. The group then moved into identifying the influences that shape our identities.
The questions were raised:
- Who are you?
- What one or two things do you tend to label yourself as?
The list amongst the group was long and varied but centered mostly on personal interests like gamer, athlete, hunter, car enthusiast and student amongst others.
We began to look at John 1:12 that gives clarity as to our true identities if we are Christians, which are “sons of God.” While our interests may change and how we or others may perceive who we are, our identity of being “sons of God” will not change. This identity should be a prime motivator for wanting a closer relationship with our God the Father.
The other verse we focused in on was Galatians 4:6 which says if we are “sons of God” we can call God by the Fatherly name “Abba” which infers close intimacy. This understanding should push us to regular and meaningful quiet times as we reflect and remember who we are and our true identities from God’s perspective.
This week we began our discussion time with an explanation of what my quiet time looks like. I explained that my quiet times have looked very different at different times in my life. They always begin with a prayer, sometimes very brief, asking God to open my ears and my heart to what He has to say. From there it includes reading or listening to the Bible and asking God what He wants me to do for the day.
I had each of the students read Psalm 23 to themselves for a few minutes and then we came back together to discuss what stood out to us. We discussed what that showed us about God and how we should relate to Him. The challenge for this week is to read and meditate on one chapter of John each day. The students were encouraged to journal their thoughts and prayers as well. I’m really looking forward to meeting again with you ladies next week!