15 Minutes to Find Spiritual Centeredness

May 15, 2016

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If you’ve ever started a scripture study program and given up because you don’t have time, this post is for you.  If you need a little help getting started (or beginning again) with your daily scripture study, this post is for you. Why do so many of us fall short with scripture study?  We. Don’t. Have. Time. The most wonderful sermons on Earth can’t help you when you can’t fit them in.

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We get it.  Sometimes being consistent with the little things is harder than making big changes. However, you can reap real spiritual dividends from just 15 minutes of daily scripture study.

Okay people, let’s be real. You have 15 spare minutes in your day.

If you have 15 minutes for Instagram, you have 15 minutes for God.

If you have 15 minutes for Hulu, you have 15 minutes for God.

If you have 15 minutes for CNN, you have 15 minutes for God.

Here’s why you want to find time for daily study:

“I think that people who study the scriptures get a dimension to their life that nobody else gets and that can’t be gained in any way except by studying the scriptures. There’s an increase in faith and a desire to do what’s right and a feeling of inspiration and understanding that comes to people who study the gospel and who ponder the principles, that can’t come in any other way” (Bruce R. McConkie in David Croft’s, “Spare Time’s Rare to Apostle,” Church News, 24 Jan. 1976, 4).

If you’re craving “answers to your problems and peace in your heart,” if you would like to “experience the Holy Ghost broadening your understanding, and find new insights,” if you want “the doctrines of the Lord to have more meaning to you than you ever thought possible,” you can find these treasures through consistent, daily scripture study. (Spencer W. Kimball “Always a Convert Church,” Ensign, Sept. 1975, 2–3).

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Alright. Hopefully, you’re pumped now.  You’re ready to give a quarter hour to God in return for rich dividends of spiritual belonging.  So the question now is:

Can you really get a good study session in just 15 minutes?

“A quarter of an hour is little time, but it is surprising how much enlightenment and knowledge can be acquired in a subject so meaningful. The important thing is to allow nothing else to ever interfere with our study.” (Howard W. Hunter, Reading the Scriptures)

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Here are some guidelines to finding spiritual centeredness in just 15 minutes:

Since you’re streamlining your study to create efficiency, make consistency a priority.  15 minutes once in a while is a lot less effective than a faithful quarter-hour every day. That being said, let go of the guilt when you fall short.  Just keep starting over.  Be accountable to yourself and keep a record of the days you study so you can learn your patterns and make changes. Just being aware will create improvement!

You’re only giving 15 minutes so it needs to be 15 solid minutes of spiritual hustle.  Stay on task.  Clear away the distractions.  Start with a prayer, just a simple one, asking God to be with you as you study.  Let Him know that you intend for this time to be special, set apart from the busyness of your life, a time which you offer to Him.  Ask Him for what you hope to accomplish: To align your mind with His, make your priorities the ones He would choose for you, to become a little more patient, a little more forgiving, a little more like Jesus Christ.

Examine WHICH 15 minutes you are giving.  Do you want to give God the leftover, I-just-want-to-veg-out version of yourself?  Well, ANY you is better than No you, but I recommend that you give the best 15 minutes of your day.  Give God the best of you, come to Him in a quiet hour.  For many people, in the early morning—when the mind is fresh and we can turn our undivided attention to the Word of God—scripture study is more deep and more fulfilling.

Sometimes the order of your day makes all the difference in fitting scripture study in. I picture it like a jar of assorted marbles.  If I put the tiniest marbles in first, adding the biggest boulders at the end is nearly impossible.  However, If I start with the biggest ones, the tiny marbles tend to still fit in around the edges. I find that I can fit it all in, or that the things I leave out really didn’t matter to me anyway.  Make scripture study your biggest “marble” and be sure to fit it in before the little things crowd God out of your life.

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You can find 15 minutes.

You can!  Your 15 minutes of solid spiritual communion can become the most cherished, helpful, calming moments of your day. You can find God speaking to you through His words in the scriptures.  He will lighten your burdens, give you perspective, and answer your questions.  Who doesn’t have 15 minutes for that?

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13 Comments

  • Reply Nicole May 15, 2016 at 8:13 pm

    I never know “how” to start studying the scriptures. Do I start just reading the particular book, whether wanting to study BOM, New Testament, Old Testament, etc? Or do I focus on a principle or item such as faith, grace, obedience? I usually feel stuck on what or how to “study” more difficult than finding the time.

    • Reply Kim Stoddard May 23, 2016 at 5:46 pm

      Hello! When I saw this comment I had to share what has been helpful to me lately. I’ll be honest, my SS changes a lot – and I am so far from where I want to be with it… but there is one thing that I feel like helps a TON. Writing down questions. On Sunday night I always go through the week and go through the family events, meal plan, and such… this is also the time that I write down the questions I want to focus on during SS for the week. These can be anything from “How can I connect better with my daughter?” to “What can I learn from the symbolism within the Law of Moses?”. Then it really doesn’t matter where, which book, principles, or themes… it seems to just work out:). Can I just tell you that your wonderful for making the effort! xoxo

      • Reply Brooke December 1, 2016 at 10:32 pm

        Kim – I love this idea of writing down questions… thank you for sharing!

  • Reply Elise May 15, 2016 at 8:24 pm

    I have been doing this for a long time. I have also learned that studying in the morning before my children get up and when my mind is fresh is the best time. I am still struggling though. I don’t feel like it’s the nourishment that I need. Mostly I just read, not study. I’m not sure that I know HOW to STUDY effectively. I need to somehow make better use of that precious time. I love it. I just want to get more out of it.

    • Reply Kim Stoddard May 23, 2016 at 5:49 pm

      Hello, Hello! I posted this comment above, but I don’t think it sends it to all involved in the dialogue. If so I am really sorry this will be repetitive… but when I read your comment I thought “YES! That is totally me!”. I thought I would share something that has been helpful to me lately. I’ll be honest, my SS changes a lot – and I am so far from where I want to be with it… but there is one thing that I feel like helps a TON. Writing down questions. On Sunday night I always go through the week and go through the family events, meal plan, and such… this is also the time that I write down the questions I want to focus on during SS for the week. These can be anything from “How can I connect better with my daughter?” to “What can I learn from the symbolism within the Law of Moses?”. Then it really doesn’t matter where, which book, principles, or themes… it seems to just work out:). Can I just tell you that your wonderful for making the effort! xoxo

  • Reply Adr May 16, 2016 at 12:31 am

    Thank you for this and all the inspiration you give!
    One idea for those that don’t know what to study: get a study guide FREE on your Gospel Library App. The Seminary and Institute manuals are all in there. –a good resource to try.

  • Reply Elisa May 16, 2016 at 7:58 am

    I love this so much and I love all the goodness you share! About to read my scrips right now before the kids wake up. Thx for the inspiration!

  • Reply Rachelle May 18, 2016 at 11:14 pm

    Time is difficult for me too, but I like the recommendations you had. I have found the past few years I struggle to pick up the BOM to read. I know what is in it is true, i am just a little OCD and i feel like i always need to start over because ill do good for a couple of weeks and then fall off the wagon so i feel like I’m always reading the sane part. If i start again, i know I’m likely not to finish so i just don’t start. I wish i knew of a different place to start where it would all still make sense without starting at the beginning.

    • Reply Krista June 3, 2016 at 11:53 pm

      Hi Rachelle! I totally know that feeling! A few years ago I got stuck in Alma EVERY TIME, so I decided to read the Book of Mormon through but skip Alma completely just to get the feeling that I was actually finishing. Since then I have finished the Book of Mormon (and Alma! woot!) a few times. I think just like exercise, our scripture study needs to have variety to really catch on and benefit us. Don’t feel bad if you don’t get through or if it’s been a month since the last time you read, just pick it up! Or try something different. Maybe just try reading backwards, book by book. Or skip Nephi and read on this time. Anything that sounds fun to you is worth it! I think the biggest thing is that you just do something each, even if it’s a little, that’s when we see a change and catch the fire. Another thing that has really helped me is studying General Conference talks, modern-day scripture! These are so accessible and easier to understand! I have also found the more I listen and study the words from General Conference the more I desire to study the scriptures too. I hope this helps! It is always a process. So good luck! If you come up with anything that works, please share! I always need new ideas too. And one more (sorry so long here!!!), Elder Bednar gives so many great tips in this talk: https://speeches.byu.edu/talks/david-a-bednar_reservoir-living-water/

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  • Reply Kiki June 9, 2016 at 10:35 am

    The quotes from Spencer W. Kimball from Miracle of Forgiveness relates to this. He said achieving eternal life can only be attained by achieving perfection. This he says an achievable goal (page 208). He goes on to say this perfection and GODHOOD is achieved by “by all transgressions being cleansed and “all weaknesses overcome” (D&C 58:43) “…But you say ‘I’m trying’ to which Kimball responds to the person saying, “Trying is not sufficient. Nor is repentance complete when one merely tries…” The person he is speaking to counters, “I’m doing my best!” Kimball says, “To do ‘the best I can’ is not strong. We must always do better than we can.”
    Is trying to do just 15 minutes really doing your best? You can always do better than you can. Isn’t doing more than 15 minutes doing better than you can?”

  • Reply In Review: May 2016 | Daisy Chain June 10, 2016 at 8:20 am

    […] 15 Minutes to Find Spiritual Centeredness by Johanna Wagstaff.  “You can reap real spiritual dividends from just 15 minutes of daily scripture study.”  Some really good ideas about how to prioritize time in the scriptures.  (Also, check out this whole blog — it’s worth subscribing to!  Beautiful, calming images and encouraging words.) […]

  • Reply Kelsey Crandall July 3, 2016 at 10:56 am

    Thank you. Thank you for this simple, yet powerful post and inspiration.

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