Spiritual Growth

How to Make Space for Stillness Every Day

I know life is busy. How could you possibly fit in time to sit still every day? Here’s how: Put the urgent on hold. Do what’s important first. The urgent will always be there. You’ll be better equipped to meet it if you do what’s important first.

by Charles R. Swindoll, author of Good Morning, Lord . . . Can We Talk?

For 63 years, I have started nearly every day the same way. My wife, Cynthia, and I get up at 5:00 a.m. We have done this for so long that we don’t need an alarm clock, no matter what time we went to bed. First thing, one of us turns on the coffeepot that I prepared the night before. Then we make up our bed together, giving the coffee time to brew. When it’s ready, we pour two large cups and clean the coffeepot. Then we head for our favorite, comfortable chairs in our family room and begin our day.

We spend a good solid hour talking about everything on each of our hearts—our children and grandchildren, our extended families, our agendas for the day, and the challenges and joys of our church ministries and Insight for Living Ministries, which include heartaches that must be addressed, as well as tremendous blessings from both having outstanding staffs. Sometimes, we laugh—roaring, spontaneous laughter. Many, many other times, we cry with very broken hearts. Always, we listen. Sometimes, we pray. Each time, we pull from God’s Word thoughts, wisdom, comfort, and challenges for change and direction.

Except for when I was serving as a Marine on Okinawa, we’ve made this our habit almost every day—both when our four kids were young and now as our home overflows with grandchildren and great grandchildren . . . even in months when our work calendars haven’t had a blank line to spare and in exhausting seasons when one of us has had to be in the hospital. Even when our ministry has taken us to the other side of the world, Cynthia has written on our packing list “insulated coffee cups, instant coffee, cinnamon, sugar, and Coffee-mate®.” She even packs a little appliance for heating up the water, so we never have an excuse not to spend that precious time together!

Our love affair with God’s Word didn’t begin when we got married. The Bible was honored and taught in our childhood homes. The truths of Scripture had already begun drawing us in when we met as teenagers. Cynthia was 16 and I was 19 when we had our first date. A week later we became engaged! Immediately, we started attending two Bible studies a week. The wisdom of the Word captivated us.

But I didn’t have a systematic, trustworthy approach to studying the Scriptures . . . and I wasn’t reaping the benefits of consistency. That began to change in June of 1955 when the girl of my dreams looked me in the eyes and said “I do.” The two of us knew little about life, much less marriage. We just knew that we loved each other and couldn’t bear the thought of spending the rest of our years with anyone else.

So we married young. We grew up together. Year by year, we also grew closer to one another and to the Lord.

That didn’t just happen. People don’t marry young and end up more deeply in love 63 years later by accident . . . and people don’t grow close to the Lord by simply becoming Christians. Both happened because we intentionally set aside time to be with each other and with the Lord. We still do to this day.

More than six decades of marriage have taught us that you can’t be lazy about investing in each other. That’s true of any relationship you want to flourish. Opening up and sharing takes time and hard work. Listening, really listening, is even harder. (The Swindolls aren’t known for being quiet!)

But the moments we’ve spent together in our family room have become some of the most defining moments of our lives. We’ve come to see and understand things about each other and ourselves that we never would have otherwise. We’ve wrestled together with challenges that often tear others apart. We’ve received direction from God’s Word for the big decisions and the daily choices that have made up our lives and our ministry. Confusion and uncertainty have turned to clarity and confidence as we’ve shared our fears and talked through our ideas.

The bond we’ve cultivated with each other is deep, meaningful, and unbreakable. That bond is worth every minute of sleep lost to get up before our babies, every bit of the heartache that sometimes comes when sharing honestly with another, every deadline we’ve ever had to push back. I’m a big believer in putting the urgent on hold to do what’s important. I decided long ago that meeting and talking with my Lord and my wife must take the top spot on my to-do list every day. The older I get, the more I understand the difference that decision has made.

Cynthia’s and my early morning conversations are the heart behind Good Morning, Lord . . . Can We Talk? In this devotional, I’ve included many of the topics Cynthia and I have discussed over the years in the time we’ve set apart each day. My hope is that through this book you, too, will start each day cultivating your relationship with the Lord. You don’t have to do anything special. Just spend time every day with Him. Read His Word. Talk to Him. Laugh when you want to. Cry when you need to. And never underestimate the importance of listening.

I know life is busy. How could you possibly fit in time to sit still every day? Here’s how: Put the urgent on hold. Do what’s important first. The urgent will always be there. You’ll be better equipped to meet it if you do what’s important first. (You may even find that some urgent matters simply aren’t “urgent” anymore.)

God has given you His Word for the express purpose of connecting with you to change your life. I’m living proof! I don’t have an unbreakable bond with the Lord because He called me to be a pastor. I don’t have a deep, meaningful connection with my wife because I’m a pastor either. I have both because God’s powerful Word changed my life! To this day, it feeds my soul with new insight, wisdom, and joy, flowing from passages I know by heart. Because I’ve daily dedicated time to Scripture, I’ve yet to encounter a heartbreak or challenge that has left me helpless. God’s timeless Word addresses every issue. Whatever may come, the Scriptures are able to help me through it.

That kind of confidence, that kind of life-changing relationship with the Almighty, isn’t just for pastors or missionaries or a chosen few. God created each one of us to be able to connect with Him through the saving grace of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit and His Word.

So commit today to waking up and saying, “Good morning, Lord . . . Can we talk?” I promise, it will get easier as you practice, and you’ll never regret it. The deep, meaningful bond you’ll cultivate with your Savior by spending time with Him will become unbreakable. It will be the rich, rewarding joy, comfort, and satisfaction that brings you back together every morning.

Good Morning, Lord . . . Can We Talk? by Charles R. Swindoll

Do you long for daily encouragement and inspiration? Do you wish your quiet times were filled with power and purpose? Discover the joy and ease of meeting with God each day in a meaningful way with this year-long devotional by the world’s premiere Bible teacher. Filled with daily insights from Chuck Swindoll, Good Morning, Lord . . . Can We Talk? will give you a glimpse of the living power of God in your own life—and connect you to the restorative promises God speaks in his Scriptures.

Learn More HERE>> 


Leela is the Media and Marketing Project Coordinator at Tyndale House Publishers. She was raised in Kansas City and has called Chicago home for the past five years. Leela works on the team to help coordinate advertising and media traffic. In her free time, she enjoys coffee shops, running and traveling with her husband.


  • What a powerful article. My husband passed away 16 years ago. We used to spend time talking, sharing and listening with each other after our evening meals. I miss that a lot. I have filled that void now each morning with three different daily devotional readings I receive on my computer. In a way, it makes me feel closer not only to our almighty Lord, but also to my late husband. I enjoy that quiet time.

  • Very good advice given in his article. Being still, is difficult to do in this world. But SO necessary.

  • What great insight…leave the urgent for the important, YES!! How I wish I would have learned that long ago!

  • good advice and ideas

  • This is an inspiring post. My husband and I spend time reading the Bible each morning before he goes to work, and it is such a precious time. Thank you for sharing your story.

  • An encouraging article. It actually parallels what my husband and I do already every day: getting up early, having breakfast, and our Bible devotional and enjoying prayertime together, before we begin our day, ready to see how God will use us to witness to one more soul that day.

  • Amazing read

  • Spend time with God he is waiting with open arms. Lean and press in to his word. Make it necessary because it is.

  • That is a beautiful testament to life

  • I needed this article today. I do have devotions and Bible time in the morning but some days I put it on hold and I realize during the day that I needed that time. I falter in spending quiet time with the Lord, though. I know that I need that time in quietness with Him, but I don’t set that time aside. My husband and I do have morning coffee together but we don’t talk much unless something comes up with one of our three grown children. Reading this article shows me how important both things are. Thank you for posting.

  • I love chuck and am a fan of his work.This article really hit close to home i have been desiring to have a closer relationship with God but i have been making excuses. Yet Will i seek him while it is early

  • […] Originally posted on readthearc.com. […]

  • We received this “GOOD MORNING LORD…CAN WE Talk” when we were on the Cruise to Alaska with You Chuck and Cynthia.What a blessed time it was!
    Made some memories that we will have forever. Grateful to The Lord and to you both.
    I have bought and given 10 of these devotionals away.
    How we love each day, as we read it again.
    We were married 30 years before my husband gave his life to Jesus Christ but it was then that he and I started doing what you have stated here in your story.
    Yes, it is the greatest time of our day. Together each morning with the Lord and together with His word.
    Thank you for sharing this story with all of us.
    God is so good, and we find Him when we seek Him with our whole heart.
    Jm and Deanie anderson

    • What a beautiful testimony of you and your husband growing in relationship with Christ–thank you for sharing, Deanie! Praise God!


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