Why my quiet time always fails

Because I’m human. Post DONE

Well, that’s not the only reason, it seems an obvious one to me. I thought I’d make a quick list of the reasons I can remember my devotional time with Jesus has not been so good. Mostly because it’s something we beat ourselves up about, and I don’t think it should be!

1. My circumstance changed.

Sometimes you’re in the habit of reading your bible at one time of day, and then for a good reason that just changes. You move house, change job, get married, or have a kid. In my case, I can remember that before I was married I used to read my bible before I went to bed. However, after getting married this habit became impossible as our life together was completely different. We did different things, spent our time in the evening together, and frankly, that was just the worst possible time of day to try and read my bible. It took me too long to work this out though!

2. I got “busy”

This is not a good reason for forgetting to read the Bible and pray each day, but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t happen. I can think of several times in life where, for however long, I was just so exhausted from everything going on that my alone time with Jesus seemed to get squeezed out. Strangely, it’s often when I’ve been busy with serving in Church or other Jesus-related activities that this can happen.

3. No good reason

I call this “no good reason” but really at its core, it’s laziness. All of us are guilty of being lazy at some point when it comes to spiritual disciplines. The early signs you can catch for this one is that you realise you’re prioritising things like TV, reading (anything but the Bible), hanging out with friends, sleeping in etc. above spending time in the word.

4. Because I don’t feel close to God

It’s true that sometimes you may feel closer to God than others. Even though feeling close to God is good, we often misinterpret feeling far from God as being far from God. Nothing is farther from the truth! As King David put it, “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.” [Psalm 139:7-8].

5. Because I’ve failed God

If laziness is “no good reason”, this is a usually bad reason. It could be as trivial or as serious as you like—ultimately it’s about whether you turn to God in repentance after sinning, or whether you beat yourself up in a corner. It may be as small as messing up an opportunity to tell your friend about Jesus (not even necessarily a sin), or it could be something you’ve done you feel like you could never be forgiven for.


Whatever the reason is for my (or your) quiet time failing this time, the really important thing to remember is that this happens to everyone at certain times. It’s always worth starting a new habit (or reinstating an old one), even if it feels like it might be too hard or it’s not going to work. In different seasons of life, it will look different. You might read the Bible chapter by chapter or take up a reading plan. You might pray for whatever you can think of, systematically pray each day for different ministries, or journal all your prayers.

However you do it, a quiet time is indispensable just like one-on-one time with a spouse is. It’s worth keeping it up!


Malcolm Purdey is a Christian, husband, father, student minister and science nerd. He completed a PhD in Chemistry and worked as a research scientist before making the jump into ministry in early 2017. He has been married for 5 years and has two daughters aged 3 and 1.

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