Jesus assumed that His followers would engage in one-on-one time with the Heavenly Father (Matthew 6:6). I believe most believers know that they should spend time with God. On top of this, I believe most honestly want to have time with Him. The matter with personal worship is not usually an issue of “what” or “why.” It is often a matter of “how.” Many believers have never been given practical instruction concerning a daily devotional time. Consider two tips for spending time with God.
Find a time.
During my college days, I lived with my grandfather for a couple of years. He had been a preacher for over 50 years. While I learned many things through my time with him, I was most impressed by his personal worship. Nearly every day, I saw him spend time with God. There is an old hymn that says “Take time to be holy.” In order for you to develop a quality devotional life, you must pay attention to time. When the Psalmist described his personal worship, he often made mention of a schedule. In Psalm 88:13, he sang, “But I call to you for help, Lord in the morning my prayer meets you.” It seems he had reserved the earliest hours of the day as a time for worship. In Psalm 119:164, he sang “I praise you seven times a day for your righteous judgments.” His words could be taken literally, as if he actually praised God on seven different occasions each day; or, they could be taken figuratively to mean that he worshipped a complete number of times each day. Either way, the point is clear — God’s people should set aside time for spending with the Lord. Some may think such a discipline is cold, legalistic, and mechanical. Those who really walk with the Lord know otherwise. It is beneficial to reserve time for the Lord. I myself have found this to be important. The morning time is the best time for my daily devotions. If you want to establish a strong devotional life, one that will make you spiritually strong, make some time for the Lord. Carve it into your schedule. Create a holy occasion for meeting with the Lord each day, and you will be surprised at how your spiritual life will soar.
Find a place.
Location is another critical matter. In order to become people of prayer, it is important to have a reserved place to meet with God. Now, we must remember that we can meet with God anywhere (Psalm 139:7-12). We don’t want to be legalistic, but we want to be sober minded and sensible. Establishing a regular routine is half the battle in our devotional life. When we have a reserved, secluded place for daily worship, we are well on our way to become spiritually strong. The gospel of Mark describes our Lord’s worship habit: “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, He got up, went out, and made His way to a deserted place. And He was praying there” (Mark 1:35). Notice that Jesus went to a deserted location. He found an isolated space where He could focus on the Lord. This is what’s important — we each need our own place which is free of distractions. When we have a place to meet with God, we will be more likely to meet with Him! What’s your place? If you don’t have one, get one!
Dr. Patrick Latham