I am traveling this week and I brought my travel Bible rather than my devotional Bible. So instead of skipping, I decided to do a little searching for studies online. Interesting enough, God has directed me to one of those devotionals that I needed this morning! Now I could sit here and write it all out for you and summarize, but I don't wan t to lose any of the meaning that is in the question and answer. There are two things that just reinforced for me the devotional time I spend with God outside in the beauty He has blessed us (my husband and I) with; that it is a relationship and a lifestyle, not just a requirement and that it is a relationship with HIM, not just a request session. Praise Him while speaking TO Him as you would speak to your best friend. Praise Him with singing (which I am constantly doing). The key is that you and your Heavenly Father have a relationship that is 24/7/365. I really like the note card idea mentioned below and might just have to give that a try.
So, on my walk through downtown Dallas this morning, I saw this sign on a pillar in Thanksgiving Square and think it says just what I am trying to convey - spend time in relationship with God no matter what
The question posed is this: "I have trouble doing daily quiet times and praying consistently. I want to though. Can you help?"
The answer provided is this:
I have times when I'm consumed with God and times when God has to reintroduce Himself to me.
Before I share thoughts from my own struggles, let me ask you a question: Why is this important to you?
Are you hungry for God, wanting to love Him and know Him in greater intimacy? Or do you feel like you're letting others down? You know, other people respect your walk with God, and so you may be trying to live up to their expectations, rather than being more concerned with what God thinks. That's pride, and Jesus addresses that kind of heart in Matthew 23:1-6.
I'm guessing your motives are pure, and you're simply wanting to take the next step with God! But I can relate to that other motive ... the prideful one ... and it's ugly. Don't go there. Instead, here are some things that have helped me when I've struggled with spending time with God.
Don't Miss the Obvious!
Time with God is not a five-minute quiet time or even an hour. Time with God is a 24-hour lifestyle! Sure, there may be times in the day when we get away from our routine to pray or read or journal or sing or ... whatever. But we need to worship God all the time, when we're in school, playing basketball, going to the movies, laughing with friends ... you get the idea.
Sometimes I'm motivated by accountability. Ask a friend to call you once a week to let you share what you've been reading and learning and what God has impressed on your heart during times of prayer. Ask this friend to pray for you, to be open to what God wants to teach you.
Meet with a friend or two and pray for one another, for non-Christians, or whatever else is on your heart. Designate a place and time to meet and give it to God. Not only will you be motivated to grow closer to God, but your friendship with your prayer partner(s) will deepen.
Think About It
Pick one thing from your Bible reading that you can think about all day long. Write down that thought on an index card and stick it in your pocket. When you're walking between classes or have any time to think (30 seconds or so), pull out that card and read it. Let it soak into your brain. By the end of the day, you won't even have to look at the card ... you'll already be thinking about its message!
Mix It Up
Don't get stuck in a rut. There's more than one way to spend time with God. So try something completely different. Draw, journal, sing, take a walk ... whatever. Just do it while focusing on God.
In his excellent book, The Life You've Always Wanted, John Ortberg reminds us that "our primary task is not to calculate how many verses of Scripture we read or how many minutes we spend in prayer. Our task is to use these activities to create opportunities for God to work. Then what happens is up to Him."
God wants to spend time with you and use you to serve Him. Are you ready?