Spending time with God is one of the greatest privileges in the universe. The God who created all things and holds all things together wants to spend time with each one of us. Spending time with God is not something we do once in our day and check off our list. We can actually spend our whole day with God – all day every day. But it is those moments we set aside to spend with God that give us the ability to hear from God in the Word and through prayer. We get to speak to God in prayer, and God speaks to us in the Word and in the quiet time of focus. While a great gift and privilege, spending time with God is not always easy. We are distracted by life’s realities; it is hard to find quiet and time to listen and to focus. The following are just a few things to keep in mind as you spend time with God. Whether you are just getting started or you have been walking with God for years, it is good to remember these things as we give God our time and attention.
God wants to be with you.
It is good to know that God loves us and pursues us even when we get distracted, lose interest, or lose our way. God is always seeking me, speaking to me, and desiring relationship with me. My job is only to stop and listen.
The Goal is time with God – nothing more.
How do you evaluate if your time with God was a success? Some days will feel exciting and full of connection, passion, and relief. Many days will feel simple, mundane, or simply natural. Showing up and being with God is the goal.
Make a plan.
Extra time in our days almost never materializes. We have to be intentional about how we use our time if we want to get things done or spend time with important people in our lives. That is true with our relationship to God as well. Figure out what works best for you – it could be morning, lunch time, late night… Just make a plan to spend time with God. Perhaps put it in your calendar as an appointment.
Find a place.
As you plan, try to find a place that is reasonably comfortable and conducive to quiet and little distraction. Turn your cell phone and other technologies off. Nothing distracts our time with God more than the ding of emails and text messages.
Don’t let guilt win.
If you miss your time with God, don’t let your disappointment with yourself stop you from spending time with God later in the day or the next day or the day after that. God knows us and loves us – even when we fail and forget him. He is always ready to welcome us back.
Christianity is a team sport! One of the most helpful things to following God and spending time with him is to have a friend or a group of friends doing it alongside you. It helps to know that someone is going to ask about your time with God, listen to what you are learning, and share how they are growing too. You can talk to a friend about your times with God once per week – over coffee, lunch, or even on the phone during a commute home from work. You can share what God is doing, tell stories, ask questions, and pray for one another.
There is not a “right way” to spend time with God.
Yes, in order to interact with God all of us will engage the Bible and all of us will pray or talk to God. But that can take many forms. For example – there are many ways to read the Word. You can read it silently. You can read it out loud. You can have it read to you by others or through a Bible reader application, and you can memorize it. Give yourself freedom to experiment with what works best for you, and know that what works will likely change over time as you mature and grow in your relationship with God. Try to avoid getting stuck in a rut.