How often do we need to see God’s face, hear His voice, feel His touch, know His power? The answer to all these questions is the same: every day!
Be much alone with God. Do not put Him off with a quarter of an hour morning and evening. Take time to get thoroughly acquainted. Talk everything over with Him. Pour out every thought, feeling, wish, plan, and doubt to Him. He wants converse with His creatures. Shall His creatures not want converse with Him? He wants, not merely to be on “good terms” with you, if one may use man’s phrase, but to be intimate. Shall you decline the intimacy and be satisfied with mere acquaintance? What! Intimate with the world, with friends, with neighbors, but not with God? That would look ill indeed. Folly, to prefer the clay to the potter, the marble to the sculptor, this little earth and its lesser creatures to the mighty Maker of the universe, the great “All and in all!”
I have only missed my morning watch once or twice this term… I can easily believe that it is next in importance to accepting Christ. For I know that when I don’t wait upon God in prayer and Bible study, things go wrong.
The men who have done the most for God in this world have been early on their knees. He who fritters away the early morning, its opportunity and freshness, in other pursuits than seeking God will make poor headway seeking Him the rest of the day. If God is not first in our thoughts and efforts in the morning, He will be in the last place the remainder of the day.
In the silences I make in the midst of the turmoil of life I have appointments with God. From these silences I come forth with spirit refreshed, and with a renewed sense of power. I hear a voice in the silences, and become increasingly aware that it is the voice of God.
Give yourself to prayer, to reading and meditation on divine truths: strive to penetrate to the bottom of them and never be content with a superficial knowledge.
Perhaps we should stop talking about being “faithful” to have a quiet time with God each day, as if we were doing something to earn a reward. It would be better to talk about the privilege of spending time with the God of the universe and the importance for our own sake of being consistent in that practice.
In addition to teaching your children throughout the day, you must set aside specific, planned times to worship the Lord and learn His Word together. Conducting family devotions requires planning and diligence if this godly practice is to develop and be maintained in your home.
Before earthly things break in upon us, and we receive impressions from abroad, it is good to season the heart with thoughts of God, and to consecrate the early and virgin operations of the mind before they are prostituted to baser objects. When the world gets the start of religion in the morning, it can hardly overtake it all the day; and so the heart is habituated to vanity all the day long. But when we begin with God, we take Him along with us to all the business and comforts of the day; which, being seasoned with His love and fear, are the more sweet and savory to us.
The fact is, there is a “course” that addresses every issue we will ever face. The Teacher loves to meet one-on-one with His students, so that He can tailor the course to our needs. He is willing to hold class every day that we are willing to meet. We already have the Textbook, which was written by the Teacher Himself. Parts of it can be difficult to grasp. But the Teacher is always available – twenty-four hours a day – to help us understand.
For Jesus, time alone with God was not an option… The gospel of Luke tells us that “Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed” (Lk. 5:16)… This is precisely where you and I so often miss out on all that God has for us. Unlike Jesus, we attempt to live life in our own energy. We think we can keep giving out without getting replenished. Then, wearied and weakened by the demands of life and ministry, we become impatient and annoyed with the very ones God has sent us to serve. Rather than exhibiting a gracious, calm, joyous spirit, we become uptight, frazzled, and frenzied (people), resenting, rather than welcoming, the people and opportunities God brings into our lives.
I know of no way to experience unbroken union and communion with our beloved Lord Jesus apart from a conscious, deliberate choice to spend time alone with Him each morning.
If we don’t take the time to enjoy God, we simply will not enjoy Him.
Am I robbing God of time? How easy to do, and how impossible to repay! We have lost the sacred art of spending time with God, and nothing else can ever take its place. No repentance however deep, no restitution however costly, no sorrow however complete, can do away with the necessity for a daily time of sacred quiet, alone with God.
In the Christian life it is of more than passing significance to observe that those who are often the most serene, most confident and able to cope with life’s complexities are those who rise early each day to feed on God’s Word. It is in the quiet, early hours of the morning that they are led beside the quiet, still waters where they imbibe the very life of Christ for the day.
For my own part, I tend to find the doctrinal books often more helpful in devotion than the devotional books, and I rather suspect that the same experience may await others. I believe that many who find that “nothing happens” when they sit down, or kneel down, to a book of devotion, would find that the heart sings unbidden while they are working their way through a tough bit of theology.
If I fail to spend two hours in prayer each morning, the devil gets the victory through the day and I have so much business I cannot get on without spending three hours daily in prayer.
A man who prays much in private will make short prayers in public.
We ought to see the face of God every morning before we see the face of man.
The primary business I must attend to every day is to fellowship with the Lord. The first concern is not how much I might serve the Lord, but how my inner man might be nourished. I may share the truth with the unconverted; I may try to encourage believers; I may relieve the distressed; or I may, in other ways, seek to behave as a child of God; yet, not being happy in the Lord and not being nourished and strengthened in my inner man day by day, may result in this work being done in a wrong spirit.
I saw more clearly than ever, that the first great and primary business to which I ought to attend every day was, to have my soul happy in the Lord. The first thing to be concerned about was not, how much I might serve the Lord, how I might glorify the Lord; but how I might get my soul into a happy state, and how my inner man might be nourished. For I might seek to set the truth before the unconverted, I might seek to benefit believers, I might seek to relieve the distressed, I might in other ways seek to behave myself as it becomes a child of God in this world; and yet, not being happy in the Lord, and not being nourished and strengthened in my inner man day by day, all this might not be attended to in a right spirit.
O, let the place of secret prayer become to me the most beloved spot on earth.
The time factor in prayer is very important. In the exercise of prayer God is not tied to our clocks. Neither is He at the other end of the phone to receive and answer our two-minute calls. It takes time to know the mind of God, to shut out the material things of earth and to be wholly abandoned (Hugh McCullough).
Mutual communion is the soul of all true friendship; and a familiar converse with a friend hath the greatest sweetness in it…[so] besides the common tribute of daily worship you owe to [God], take occasion to come into His presence on purpose to have communion with Him. This is truly friendly, for friendship is most maintained and kept up by visits; and these, the more free and less occasioned by urgent business, or solemnity…. The more friendly they are… We used to check our friends with this upbraiding. “You still [always] come when you have some business, but when will you come to see me?” …When you come into His presence, be telling Him still how well you love Him; labor to abound in expressions of that kind, than which…there is nothing more taking with the heart of any friend.
I used to write in my daily calendar “7-7:30 a.m.: Prayer.” But many times I passed that up. It was one more thing to pass by that day. Now I write “7-7:30 a.m.: God.” Somehow that’s a little harder to neglect.
What you do when you spend time with God is not nearly so important as that you spend time with God. Spiritual growth is not the result of a dramatic experience, but a lot of small steps. You cannot be changed by one experience into spiritual maturity any more than you can become a full-grown adult by eating one meal… Think of spending time with God as one meal in the whole plan of your spiritual nutrition. If you are doing something that isn’t satisfying your spiritual hunger, then change your diet. But whatever you do – don’t give up eating.
Are you a hypocrite? One way to tell is to compare the amount of time you spend in private prayer to the amount of time you spend in public prayer. As D. A. Carson rightly observes, “The person who prays more in public than in private reveals that he is less interested in God’s approval than in human praise. Not piety but a reputation for piety is his concern.”
It is impossible for a believer, no matter what his experience, to keep right with God if he will not take the trouble to spend time with God. Spend plenty of time with him; let other things go, but don’t neglect Him.
In the morning – this is the fittest time for intercourse with God. An hour in the morning is worth two in the evening. While the dew is on the grass, let grace drop upon the soul. Let us give to God the mornings of our days and the morning of our lives. Prayer should be the key of the day and the lock of the night.
It is a good rule never to look into the face of a man in the morning till you have looked into the face of God.
Andrew Bonar, a great man of God, had three rules that he lived by. Rule 1 – Not to speak to any person before speaking to Jesus Christ. Rule 2 – Not to do anything with his hands until he had been on his knees. Rule 3 – Not to read the papers until he had read his Bible.
John Wesley preached over 44,000 sermons in his lifetime. He traveled by horseback and carriage nearly 300,000 miles, wrote grammar and theological textbooks in four languages, and yet always had time for a quiet time. While still in his childhood, Wesley resolved to dedicate an hour each morning and evening to Bible study and prayer.
Whatever is you best time in the day, give that to communion with God.
Do not have your concert first, and then tune your instrument afterwards. Begin the day with the Word of God and prayer, and get first of all into harmony with Him.
You do not “spend” time with God. You “invest” it. Time alone with Him can be one of the greatest time savers of your life. It is in your time alone with the Lord that you can surrender the burden and the anxiety of the load to Him (Philippians 4:6-7; 1 Peter 5:7). You can also find the perspective to be delivered from the truly nonessential things that often seem important. You can find new energy and ideas as you “commit your works to the Lord and your plans will be established (Proverbs 16:3).
The discipline of time alone with God should not be looked at as another thing to put on your “to do” list. This attitude will only lead to resentment from the added pressure that it produces. It should be viewed as a gift from a gracious and kind God. He cares so much for you and me that He is not just interested in our accomplishments but also in shepherding our hearts.
Have you ever noticed that the great saints of the Bible often met with God at daybreak to seek His leading? For example, Abraham got up very early to stand before the Lord (Gen. 19:27). Jacob woke up with the first light of the morning to worship God after having seen a vision of angels in the night (Gen. 28:18). Moses went early to meet the Lord at Sinai (Ex. 34:4). Joshua got an early start when he prepared to capture Jericho (Josh. 6:12). Gideon made his way at dawn to examine the fleece he had placed on the ground to discern Jehovah’s will (Jud. 6:38). And… Job left his bed at an early hour to offer sacrifices to the Lord in behalf of his children (Job 1:5).
Why do we put on the whole armor of God to stand against the wiles of the devil (Ephesians 6:11) and then go to bed?
The best time to converse with God is before worldly occasion stands knocking at the door to be let in: the morning is, as it were, the cream of the day; let the cream be taken off, and let God have it. Wind up thy heart towards heaven in the beginning of the day, and it will go the better all the day after. He that loseth his heart in the morning in the world, will hardly find it again all the day.
Without exception, the men and women I have known who make the most rapid, consistent, and evident growth in Christlikeness have been those who develop a daily time of being alone with God. This time of outward silence is the time of daily Bible intake and prayer. In this solitude is the occasion for private worship.
Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life, 1991, p. 195, Used by permission of NavPress – www.navpress.com, All rights reserved. For more information please see the website www.BibicalSpirituality.org. Get this book!