distractionI recently asked my Facebook friends what distracted them from their personal time with God. Here are some of the answers:

  • Myself
  • Facebook
  • Kids
  • Job
  • Sleep
  • Church (!)

As a “ministry professional” with young children, I get most of these reasons. Every day our Western culture bombards us with demands for our time and attention, and it’s hard to say no.

If God really is who he says he is, however, and we really believe that, we’ve got to learn to focus in on what’s really important: him. Here are 5 practical ways to guard your personal time with God from distraction. Each one takes time, planning, and commitment, but it will be so worth it.

1) List the reasons why it's important

Writing things down is powerful for creating motivation and making ideas concrete. List the reasons why you believe spending personal time with God through the Bible, prayer, and meditation is essential. Keep this list in the place you tend to get the most distracted (say, taped to your computer monitor).

2) Schedule your quiet time

Things that get scheduled get done. Make the effort to integrate your personal time with God with your schedule. Again, put it on paper! Find those 10-20 minute windows of opportunity in your day and determine to set them apart for God instead of reading articles online or socializing. Set up reminders on your phone so you don’t forget!

3) Enlist your spouse's help

I know firsthand how difficult it is to find any kind of alone time when you have small children. You’ll have to touch base with your spouse and see if they can help you by taking the kids for 20 minutes while you close your bedroom door or step outside to walk and pray. Don’t forget you can do this for them, too. What a great way to minister to each other!

4) Check the Bible before you check Facebook

This one is really simple. Just give yourself a new rule for life: no checking Facebook or social media until you’ve spent time in the Word. If you’re getting sucked into your timeline or feed and wondering where all the time went, this small adjustment will keep your priorities straight in your head and in real life.

5) Move to a different location or a dedicated space

It often helps me to move away from my computer for my devotional time. I don’t necessarily even have to go to a different room of the house or head out to a park (although that’s nice). Sometimes just moving from my desk to a chair in the living room can help clear my mind and “reset.” If you have the room, setting apart a dedicated space for prayer in the form of a home altar, prayer room, or closet is helpful too.

What other ways have you fought distraction from your personal time with God?