Having a time set apart for prayer and reading the Bible each day – some might call it “quiet time” or “devotions” – is essential to having a growing and thriving relationship with God. It’s a dedicated time to spend just with God and learn more about Him through His Word, and to listen to His voice. Maybe you’ve made a resolution to start having quiet time, or perhaps you want to change up your devotional routine. I’d like to give you a few recommendations. Please understand that, besides the Bible, all of the books and resources I mention are optional.

First, make sure you have a Bible. Start out with the one you have on hand. If you don’t have one and have difficulty affording one, let us know, and we’ll get you one. I prefer the New American Standard version, but the New Living Translation is easier to read. It’s also good for younger readers.

In addition, you might consider a One Year Bible or a One Year Bible reading plan. This is my favorite way to read the Bible throughout the year. It takes 15-20 minutes a day – for some, it will be a little longer or a little shorter. Each day, you read portions from the Old Testament, the New Testament, Psalms, and Proverbs. It is an amazing way to experience the whole Bible throughout the course of the year. You can either purchase a One Year Bible, or print out one of their reading plans here.

Those who are more inclined to read it on an e-reader or phone app can pick up a copy of the One Year Bible for the Kindle or the Nook.

If you aren’t able to read every day, don’t beat yourself up. Decide what you are going to do – catch up slowly, catch up all in one day, or just pick up on the current date – then move on. Don’t let perfectionism rob you of your time with God.

A book I recommend as a resource to the One Year Bible is “The Bare Bones Bible® Handbook: 10 Minutes to Understanding Each Book of the Bible” by Jim George. I think this book is helpful because it gives a short synopsis of each book in the Bible. This overview and context can be very helpful as you read books in the Bible you may not have read before.

My last recommendation is a book that is great for suggestions on how to pray for the people of the world, especially persecuted Christians. It is Operation World: The Definitive Prayer Guide to Every Nation by Jason Mandryk. This book gives you a country or countries to pray for each day, with special requests personalized for each country. You may not be a missionary in a faraway country, but your prayers can be part of the work of reaching people for Christ.

Spend time each day reading the Bible. Talk to God about something you read in the Scriptures. Spend time with God and get to know Him better. That’s what a good quiet time is about.