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.
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).
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)
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.
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?