Now that I have come to know God and enjoy walking with him daily, I don’t know how I or anyone else could live without him. No one knows me like he does. No one cares for me the way he does. And certainly no one is able to fix up the mess I often make of my life (and the lives of others) the way he can. And that is why, before I meet or talk with anyone else in the day, I first meet and talk to him.
Some Christians call it a “Quiet Time” which sounds a bit odd if you’re not conversant with ‘Christianese’ lingo. It also doesn’t sit that well for us masculine types. Another term is “Time Alone with God” (TAWG) which is better, but still doesn’t do really do it for me. Bill Hybels calls it “chair time”. Find a spot in your house where you can be alone, sit yourself down and connect with God. When you’re in that chair, other people know to leave you alone because that’s your personal time with God. I kind of like that – much better for us blokes.
Whatever you want to call it you need to make time for God. You need to make time for God because it’s the foundation for your entire life. Your relationship with God affects your marriage, your career, your finances, and your relationship with your kids, co-workers and neighbours. It affects your thought life, your emotional health as well as your daily decisions and actions. In fact, there is hardly anything I know that my relationship with God does not affect. That’s why you need to develop a strategy to make time with God a priority in your life.
And just to make things clear, this isn’t about finding ways to earn favour with God; to get into his “good books” if you like. There’s only one way to get into God’s good books and that is by believing and trusting in Jesus. “This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he has sent” (John 6:29). Salvation is by grace, through faith. We please God when we take him at his Word and trust in his way of making us right with him, not our own way. No, this is about responding to God’s invitation to get to know him more intimately and allowing him to speak into our hearts. This in turn will lead into a more enriching, satisfying and fulfilling life.
“My heart says this about you: “Seek his face.” Lord, I will seek your face” (Psalm 27:8)
God speaks to our heart and our heart speaks to us, and then we in turn speak back to God. That’s how it works.
So how do I go about my Quiet Time or Chair Time or whatever you want to call it? Well, it for the most part it consists of Bible Reading, Meditation and Prayer. Those are the three main ingredients that help me connect with God. It’s a tried and true method. Godly men and women have walked this trail throughout the centuries and I’m happy to follow in their footsteps.
- I read Scripture. God speaks to me through His Word.
- I meditate on Scripture, reading it slowly and thinking carefully about those words and what they might be saying to me.
- Then I respond by speaking back to God
Now let me provide you with an example. During one morning meeting with God this week, I opened my Bible to Psalm 119. My focus was verses 33-40. I asked God to speak to me through his Word, and reveal to me more about Himself and what he wants for me. As I gazed over the text something caught my attention:
33 Teach me, Lord, the meaning of your statutes, and I will always keep them.,
34 Help me understand your instruction, and I will obey it and follow it with all my heart.
35 Help me stay on the path of your commands, for I take pleasure in it.
Notice he asks for help twice – help in understanding God’s Word (v.34) and help for obeying it (v.35). We need double assistance from God – light to know the way and strength to walk in it. Not only does my mind need to be enlightened, my will also needs to be moved. And I’m completely dependent on God to do both.
So I began to turn this into prayer – “Lord help me to understand your Word. My mind is dull. It sometimes cannot grasp even the simple things. And then when I understand what to do, please help me to do it. You know me well Lord, I am full of good intentions. I don’t carry through on my promises. And then, when I do obey you, don’t let me forget it was all of you.”
Now that I’m starting to do real business with God, I sense a reviving of my spirit; the spiritual pump is primed so-to-speak, and I begin thinking of other needs – my wife and family, people who need Jesus, people in my church, missionaries etc. I begin to pray for all those people. And I’m away.
You have to remember there is no special technique in all this. It works differently for different people. Some people start by listening to worship music or singing; others use devotional material of various sorts. Some use a combination of all those things. A staff member at our church shared how she journals her time with God. When the Lord impresses some truth on her heart she writes it down and then makes a note of that on the inside cover. I thought that was a great idea.
I have learned over the years that it is good to vary your time with God. Mix it up. Try new things. Don’t get stuck in a rut. Avoid at all possible letting it become tedious, dry or dull. Because God is not dull. He is the liveliest, most spirited, and most interesting person in the universe.
You just need to spend the time, each day, to get to know him.