by Craig Etheredge
How do you spend time with God? How much time do you devote in a day for being still and worshipping God? A rich and meaningful time in God’s presence is a time when you hear from him through His Word and when you receive from Him what He wants to say to you and obey Him completely.
Imagine you are invited to the oval office to meet the President of the United States. Your heart begins to race with excitement. When will it happen? What should you do? How will you respond? What will he say? If that meeting was actually going to happen, you can rest assured there would be a plan.
The same is true in your relationship with God. Meeting with God is far more important than meeting with the president, and it requires a plan.
Before we dive into the practical side, let me first say that investing time alone with God should be motivated by a deep desire to know Jesus more personally and intimately. If your determined purpose is to know Jesus, then you should be determined to meet with Him. Your time with God should never be out of mere duty or legalism. God’s not looking for your mechanical worship; He’s looking for true worshipers who approach Him openly and honestly,(John 4.23 ESV). He wants your heart.
Your Time Alone With God
With that in mind, here are some things you can do to maximize your time alone with God:
Pick a time.
It’s important to choose a time when you can meet with God on a consistent basis. For many people, this time is first thing in the morning. The prophet Isaiah said,“He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed,”(Isaiah 50.4 NIV). Jesus Himself got up early to spend time with His Father.“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 NIV). Usually the morning is best because you can hear from God at the start of your day. Also, you are fresh in the morning and disengaged from the rush of your daily schedule. While the morning may be preferred, the important thing is that you pick a time that works for you and your schedule.
Pick a place.
You want to choose a place where you will not be distracted. Jesus went to a“solitary place.” The word in Greek is eremos, and it means“lonely or deserted.” Still today, just north of the Sea of Galilee, there is a cave that some call Eremos Cave where Jesus could have spent time alone with the Father, uninterrupted by the demands of the day. You need a place like that — a place away from people, your phone and your computer — where you can be still and worship God.
Pick your tools.
Just like a carpenter goes to work with the right tools, you need the right tools to meet with God. Choose a Bible you can read and mark up. Choose a journal or device for taking notes. Choose a daily reading plan. While devotional books may be helpful, they can’t compare to just hearing from Jesus directly through His Word. Make sure you spend your time following the L.I.S.T.E.N. plan as you read God’s Word. When you do, you will spend rich and meaningful time in God’s presence.
Pick the right mindset.
Meeting with Jesus is an incredible privilege, so go into your time with the Lord with an attitude of expectation. Ask God to speak to you. Read and listen with attentive eagerness. Be ready to receive from Him what He wants to say to you and obey Him completely.
Spend time with God and meet with Him ideally on a daily basis. But remember that this should never be done out of duty or because you are required. God wants you to approach him openly and honestly because that is only when you will be able to accept Him and hear His Word.
Meet with God whenever you need him. Although a regular schedule is preferred, the unexpected and sudden times you spend with God are often the most effective ones because those are the times when you are open and honest. Those are the times you lift your heart to God. Those are the times when He openly responds to you.
This blog was originally published by discipleFIRST. Reposted here with permission.