How to Reclaim Your Time with God
If we want to grow in our relationship with the Lord, we need to spend time with Him. Time with God makes us more like Him and fuels our desire to tell others about Him.
God designed us for intimacy with Him.
As the Psalmist said,
As a deer longs for flowing streams, so I long for you, God. I thirst for God, the living God. When can I come and appear before God? Psalm 42:1-2
Just as our bodies are designed to drink water to sustain our lives, so our souls are designed to commune with the Lord to nourish our spiritual lives.
One of the ways we commune with the Lord is what is referred to as a “quiet time”, a window in our schedule where we come before Him in prayer and meditation on Him and His word.
The challenge of having a “quiet time” is that our world and schedules are not quiet. Our busyness can push our time with the Lord off of our schedules. Also, if we are not careful, our “quiet time” can become a ritual, a checklist, or even an obligation. What should be fulfilling and vibrant can become dry and mundane.
How can we reclaim our time with God?
How can we make that time fruitful and vibrant rather than perfunctory and mundane?
1. Give God your first fruits.
Start your day in God’s presence. It sets the tone for the rest of our day. If you are like me, hundreds of worries and distractions are waiting for you when you wake up. The cares distract you from the Lord, the very One who can deal with those cares in His perfect way and timing. When we focus on Him, we see how big He is and how small everything else is in comparison.
When you wake up, instead of reaching for your phone, reach for the Word. Let it be a prompt for you to get up and focus on the Lord.
2. Prepare to enter God’s presence.
If you were visiting the leader of a country, you would not just barge in to his palace unprepared. You would prepare your mind and heart to stand before him or her. The same should hold true for our time with the Lord.
When you begin your quiet time, visualize that you are entering the courts of the Lord just as the Psalmist did in Psalm 100:4: “Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise.” Doing this will set the right tone and atmosphere of reverence, awe, and wonder.
3. Incorporate all aspects of prayer.
Just imagine in our relationships with others if we only asked them for things. How would that go? The same holds true with our communication with God. Prayer is so much broader than bringing our requests to Him. It involves praise and worship, confession of sin, thanksgiving, and mediation.
When you pray, use the ACTS model of prayer. “A” stands for adoration, praise, and worship of God. “C” is for confession, agreeing with God about the sins we have committed, and coming to Him for cleansing and renewal. “T” is for thanksgiving, giving gratitude to God for who He is and what He has done. And finally, “S” is for supplications, asking God to supply our needs in His own way and timing.
We can get so busy talking to God we forget to listen to God. Part of our quiet time should be dedicated to doing just that, being quiet before Him. Don’t just read God’s word, meditate on it. Let it marinate. Also, meditate on your prayer requests. While God may not give an immediate answer, He may give you a new perspective on what you are praying for.
When you pray, take time to pause, reflect, and ponder. Don’t get in a hurry. You may find that your silent meditation leads to additional insight, direction, and counsel from the Holy Spirit.
There is power in writing down what we are communicating to God and what He is communicating to us. After a while, you can look back at your journal to see the Lord’s hand in your life and the trajectory you are on as you follow Him.
If you struggle in this area, set a goal to write down at least 5 things each day during your quiet time with God (even as brief as bullet points). These could be as simple as something you are praying for, something you are thankful for, a new insight, or a new longing. Don’t be surprised if you have the opportunity to share with someone in the afternoon the exact thing you wrote down in your journal that morning.
6. Expect opposition.
There are three things in this life that oppose our walk with the Lord, the world, our flesh, and the devil. All three things tempt us to leave God out of our lives. That is why when we commit to having a quiet time before the Lord, all hell can break loose.
When you enter your quiet time, create a quiet space for yourself. Silence your phone, remove distractions, and focus on the Lord. Remove every possible distraction Satan might use to get your attention off God.
7. Refuse to say “amen.”
When your quiet time ends, don’t let your communication with God end. Continue your conversation with God throughout your day involving Him in every aspect. As Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
Your quiet time with God is your most valuable asset on earth. Guard it, prioritize it, and make the most of it. Doing so will pay huge dividends both in this life and the next.
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