Time alone with God -- it’s essential…
I am amazed at how many people who claim to be “Jesus-followers” overlook the necessity each day of spending focused time centered on their relationship with God. Even Jesus, God in the flesh, made it a priority. In my own life, I struggle to keep a balance like anyone else, and when life pitches out of balance, centered devotional time with the Lord may suffer.
Here are a few pointers to make your time with the Lord effective:
Place- Have a place where you can be alone for this important time each day. The New Testament referred to a prayer closet. So be creative, but make sure it is a location that helps you focus on the attributes of our great God. When you were in pre-school, I’d make sure I was in a room where you weren’t playing, asking me questions, or wanting me to see you. The best places are void of distractions.
Posture- Your posture makes a difference in the act of meditating. Walking while you pray may aid your concentration more than reclining in an easy chair. Prostration or kneeling can express your humility before God almighty. Choose what you sense points your heart and personhood toward full surrender to Jesus.
Period- A chosen time in each day helps with continuity and prioritization. If a devotional time is important to you, it will be in your schedule. If I don’t set a time each day during the week, it is amazing how other activities make it to the top of “to do” list.
Plan- It’s nice to have a plan when you embark on a meaningful, scheduled time. Whether you read through the Bible in a year, concentrate on a few chapters or verses, or follow a study written by a Christian author, it should be a blueprint to grow in knowledge of God and how you relate to Him. Essential in making it meaningful is a way to record your insights for future reference and review. I’ve used a journal for years, just to write down insights, prayer requests, and strong impressions from the Lord through His word.
Provisions- The supplies you need are up to you. I prefer a study Bible with a journal and pen. You may have a Bible downloaded on an electronic device. Some like meditational music in the background or have books of historical hymns or prayers from Christian history. As you endeavor to make this period effectual and meaningful, your list of materials will change to meet your needs.
Presence- When you enter into your time, you need to be fully present. Turn off the distractions and focus. And remember -- the Omnipresent One is with you. I think faith in Jesus allows for the verses from Scripture and impressions on your spirit to connect with your life and its circumstances so that you and your perspective are transformed. You will be better prepared to meet the day as you believe that you’ve met with the Lord.
Adequately expressing the kind of joy or comfort of a word from God to the heart of my soul is beyond me. When you are sure that, “God must have meant that, just for me…,” when you are spending time focused on Him, there are few inspirations in life that surpass it. Make your time with God a discipline. It will pay off in dividends.
"Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” (Mark 1:35)
"But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed." (Luke 5:16)
“God’s acquaintance is not made hurriedly. He does not bestow His gifts on the casual or hasty comer and goer. To be much alone with God is the secret of knowing Him and of influence with Him.” E. M. Bounds