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How to have a meaningful time with God

By Frances Bradley,2014-01-15 15:53
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How to have a meaningful time with God

HOW TO HAVE

    A MEANINGFUL

    QUIET TIME

    WITH GOD

    Sunrise Wesleyan Church

    How To Have Meaningful Time With God

Having a daily time with God is the only way to ensure that you will grow

    spiritually. Unfortunately, many people are unsure how to have an exciting and

    life-changing time with God on a daily basis. The answer is found in four

    essential elements.

    ? Start with the proper attitudes.

    ? Select a specific time.

    ? Choose a special place.

    ? Follow a simple plan.

    START WITH THE PROPER ATTITUDES

    In God’s eyes, why you do something is far more important than what you do.

    On one occasion God told Samuel, “The LORD doesn't make decisions the way you do! People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at a person's

    thoughts and intentions” (1 Samuel 16:7). It is quite possible to do the right

    thing but with the wrong attitude. This was Amaziah’s problem, for he did

    what was pleasing in the LORD's sight, but not wholeheartedly” (2 Chronicles

    25:2).

    If you want to have a meaningful time with God,

    you should have these attitudes:

    1. Expectancy. Come before God with anticipation and eagerness. Expect to

    have a good time of friendship with Him and receive a blessing from your

    time together. That was what David expected: “O God, You are my God; I

    earnestly search for You (Psalm 63:1; see also Psalm 52:1).

    2. Reverence. Don’t rush into God’s presence, but prepare your heart by being

    still before Him and letting the quietness clear away the thoughts of the

    world. Listen to the prophet Habakkuk: “…the LORD is in His holy Temple.

    Let all the earth be silent before Him” (Habakkuk 2:20; see also Psalm

    89:7). Coming into the presence of the Lord is not like going to a football

    game or some other form of entertainment.

    3. Alertness. Get wide-eyed awake first. Remember that you are meeting with

    the Creator, the Maker of Heaven and earth, the Redeemer of men. Be

    thoroughly rested and alert. The best preparation for a quality time with

    God in the morning begins the night before. Get to bed early so you will be

    in good shape to meet with God in the morning.

    4. Willingness to Obey. This attitude is crucial: you don’t come to your time

    with God to choose what you will do or will not do, but with the purpose of

    doing anything and everything that God wants you to do. Jesus said,

    Anyone who wants to do the will of God will know whether My teaching

    is from God or is merely My own” (John 7:17). So come to meet the Lord

    having already chosen to do His will no matter what.

    SELECT A SPECIFIC TIME

    The specific time has to do with when you should have your quiet time and how

    long it should be. The general rule is this: The best time is when you are at your best! Give God the best part of your daywhen you are the freshest and most alert. Don’t try to serve God with your leftovers (leftover time). Remember,

    too, that your best time may be different from someone else’s. For most, early in the morning seems to be the best time. It was Jesus’ own

    practice to rise early to pray and meet with the Father. “The next morning Jesus awoke long before daybreak and went out alone into the wilderness to pray

    (Mark 1:35).

    In the Bible, Godly men and women rose early to meet with God. Some of these

    were:

    AbrahamGenesis 19:27 MosesExodus 34:4

    JobJob 1:5 Hannah & Elkanah1 Samuel 1:19

    JacobGenesis 28:18 DavidPsalm 5:3 Also, in the morning our minds are uncluttered from the day’s activities. Our

    thoughts are fresh, we’re rested, tensions have not yet come to us, and it’s

    usually the quietest time. One mother sets her alarm clock for 4:00 a.m., has her

    quiet time, goes back to bed, and then rises when everyone else in the household

    gets up. Her explanation is that with kids around the house all day, early

    morning is the only time when it is quiet and she can be alone with God. It

    works for her; you need to select a time that will work for you.

    If you are a night person, have your time with God in the evening. The point is

    God deserves your full attention, not your leftovers. Whatever time you set, be

consistent in it. Schedule it on your calendar; make an appointment with God as

    you would anyone else. Make a date with Jesus! Then look forward to it and

    don’t stand him up. A stood-up date is not a pleasant experience for us, and

    Jesus does not like to be stood up either. So make a date with Him and keep it at

    all costs.

    Many times people ask: How much time should I spend with the Lord?” If

    you’ve never had a consistent quiet time before, you may want to start with 7-10

    minutes and let it grow naturally. You should aim to eventually spend not less

    than 15 minutes a day with the Lord. Out of 168 hours we all have during a

    given week, 1 hour and 45 minutes seems terribly small… especially when you

    consider that you were created to have a relationship (fellowship) with God.

    Here are some additional guidelines.

    ? Don’t try for a two-hour quiet time at first. You’ll only get discouraged.

    You must grow in this relationship as you do in any other. So begin with a

    consistent seven to ten minutes and let it grow; it’s better to be consistent

    with a short time than to meet for an hour every other week.

    ? Don’t watch the clock. Clock-watching can ruin your time with God faster

    than almost anything else. Decide what you can do in the Bible and prayer

    during the time you have selected, then do it. Sometimes it will take longer

    than you have set aside, and sometimes less time. But don’t keep watching

    the clock. If needed, set an alarm clock that will tell you when you need to

    be done.

    ? Emphasize quality not quantity. There is nothing super-spiritual about

    having a two-hour quiet time. It’s what you do during your time15

    minutes, two hours, or anything in between—that’s important. Aim for a

    quality relationship with God.

    CHOOSE A SPECIAL PLACE

    The location where we have our time with God is important. The Bible indicates

    that Abraham had a regular place where he met with God (see Genesis 19:27).

    Jesus had a custom of praying in the Garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of

    Olives. Jesus left the upstairs room and went as usual to the Mount of Olives

    (Luke 22:39).

    Your place ought to be a secluded place. This is a place where you can be alone, where it’s quiet, and where you will not be disturbed or interrupted. In today’s

noisy world, this may take some ingenuity, but it is necessary. It ought to be a

    place…

    ? where you can pray aloud without disturbing others.

    ? where you have good lighting for reading (perhaps a desk).

    ? where you are comfortable. (WARNING: Do not have your time

    with God in bed, that’s too comfortable!) Your place ought to be a special place. Wherever you decide to meet with the Lord, make it a special place for you and Him. As the days go by, that place will

    come to mean a lot to you because of the wonderful times you have there with

    Jesus.

    Your place ought to be a sacred place. This is where you meet with the living God. You don’t have to be in a church building. People have had their quiet

    times in their cars parked in a quiet place, in a special room or an empty closet at

    home, in their backyards or a local park, and even in a baseball dugout. Each of

    these places has become sacred to them.

    FOLLOW A SIMPLE PLAN

    Someone has said, “If you aim at nothing, you are sure to hit it!” To have a

    meaningful quiet time, you will need a plan or some kind of general outline to

    follow. The main rule is this: Keep it simple. You should obtain the following three items for your planned times with God:

    ? A Biblea clear, modern translation with good print.

    ? A notebookfor writing down what the Lord shows you, and for

    making a prayer list.

    ? A worship tape or hymnbooksometimes you may want to sing

    during your praise time (see Colossians 3:16).

    The following six-point plan is workable to a quiet time of any duration.

    1. Wait on God (Relax). Be still for a minute, don’t come into God’s

    presence and start talking immediately. Follow God’s admonition: “Be

    silent, and know that I am God!” (Psalm 46:10) Be quiet for a short while,

    to put yourself in a reverent mood.

    2. Pray briefly (Request). This is not your prayer time, but a short opening prayer to ask God to cleanse your heart and guide you into the time together.

    Two good passages of Scripture to memorize are:

    Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts.

    Point out anything in me that offends You, and lead me along the path of

    everlasting life” (Psalms 139:23-24).

    Open my eyes to see the wonderful truths in Your law(Psalm 119:18).

    You need to be in tune with the Author before you can understand His book!

    3. Read a section of the Bible (Read). This is where your conversation with

    God begins. He speaks to you through His Word, and you speak with Him

    in prayer. Read your Bible… ? Slowly. Don’t be in a hurry; don’t try to read too large an amount;

    don’t race through it. ? Repeatedly. Read a passage over and over until you start to picture it

    in your mind. One reason people don’t get more out of their Bible

    reading is that they do not read the Scriptures repeatedly.

    ? Without stopping. Don’t stop in the middle of a sentence to go off on

    a tangent and do a doctrinal study. Just read that section for the pure joy

    of it, allowing God to speak to you. Remember that your goal here is

    not to gain information, but to feed on the Word and get to know Christ

    better.

    ? Aloud but quietly. Reading it aloud will improve your concentration if

    you have that problem. It will also help you understand what you are

    reading better because you will be both seeing and hearing what you

    are reading. Read softly enough, however, so that you won’t disturb

    anyone.

    ? Systematically. Read through a book at a time in an orderly method.

    Do not use the “random dip” method—a passage here, a chapter there,

    what you like here, an interesting portion there. You’ll understand the

    Bible better if you read it as it was writtena book or letter at a time.

    (Reading guides are available on the Information Table and at the

    church office to help you read the Bible in a balanced, systematic way.)

4. Meditate and memorize (Reflect and Remember). In order to have the

    Bible speak to you meaningfully, you should meditate on what you are

    reading and memorize verses that particularly speak to you. Meditation is

    seriously contemplating a thought over and over in your mind.” Out of

    your meditation you might select and memorize a verse that is particularly

    meaningful to you.

    5. Write down what God has shown you (Record). When God speaks to you

    through His Word, record what you have discovered. Writing it down will

    enable you to both remember what God revealed to you and review your

    Biblical discoveries at a later date. Recording what God has shown you is a

    way of applying what you see in the Scriptures that pertains to your life.

    6. Have time of prayer (Request). After God has spoken to you through His

    Word, speak to Him in prayer. This is your part of the conversation with the

    Lord.

    CONCLUSION

    What if you miss a day? Don’t worry about it if it happens occasionally. Don’t

    go on a guilt trip. So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to

    Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1). Don’t get legalistic, because missing one day does not make it flop. Just don’t give up! If you miss a meal, it does not mean that you should give up eating because you’re inconsistent. You simply eat a little more at the next meal and go on from there. The same principle is true with your

    time with God.

    Psychologists tell us that it usually takes three weeks to get familiar with some

    new task or habit; it takes another three weeks before it truly becomes a habit.

    The reason why many people are not successful in the times with God is because

    they have never made it past that six-week barrier. For your quiet time to

    become a habit, you must have had one daily for at least six-weeks.

    William James had a famous formula for developing a habit:

    1. Make a strong resolution (Vow). You must always start with a strong

    decision. If you begin halfheartedly, you’ll never make it. Make a public

    declaration by telling others about your decision.

    2. Never allow an exception to occur till the new habit is securely rooted

    in your life. A habit is like a ball of twine. Every time you rip it, many

    strands are unwound. So never allow the “just this once” to occur. The act

    of yielding weakens the will and reinforces the lack of self-control.

    3. Seize every opportunity and inclination to practice your new habit.

    Whenever you get the slightest urge to practice your new habit, do it right

    then. Don’t wait; use every opportunity to reinforce your habit. It does not

    hurt to overdo a new habit when you are first starting.

    And added to this formula, there is one more ingredient for the Christian seeking

    to begin the habit of spending time with God daily…

    4. Rely on the power of God. When it is all said and done, you must realize

    that you are in a spiritual battle, and you can only succeed by the power of

    the Holy Sprit of God. So pray that God will strengthen you, and depend on

    Him to help you develop this habit for His glory.

If you have been convinced that this is what you need to do, would you pray the

    following?

    A PRAYER OF COMMITMENT

     “Lord I commit myself to spending a definite time with You every day, no

    matter what the cost. I am depending on Your strength to help me to be

    consistent.”

     P.O. Box 22073 Charlottetown, PE C1A 9J2 Meeting Sundays at 10:30 a.m. at 582 North River Road

    902.626.3343 information@SunriseOnline.ca www.SunriseOnline.ca All Scripture verses taken from the New Living Translation (NLT). You can obtain a copy of your own from your local Christian bookstore or by calling the church office.

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