“Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.” Revelation 3:20 (NLT)
For most of my life, I thought being a Christian was based on going to church, believing in God, and trying to be a good person, checking off the boxes to what I thought was spiritual. But something in my life was missing. It wasn’t until someone took the time to teach me that I realized that what I was missing was a relationship with God through Quiet Time and prayer. We all want relationships in our lives—we were created for relationships by God, Himself. God wants us to have a growing, thriving relationship with Him.
Relationships don’t just happen; it takes time, communication, interaction, and love to build any relationship. A relationship with God is no exception. Think about your closest friend and how they came to be your closest friend. How much time and effort did you put into the relationship? My guess is that you spent a great deal of time talking to them and listening to them. There is a saying: A great friend is one who knows all the worst of you and still loves you. Knowing that, imagine the relationship you can have with God.
This story reminds me how much God wants to spend time with us:
There was a little boy whose father was a very busy man. One day the little boy asked his father, “How much money do you make per hour?” The father told him that he made twenty-five dollars an hour. The little boy ran to his room and came back with his piggy bank and broke it open. He pulled out all the money and told his father that he had twenty-five dollars and would like to buy an hour of his time. Ouch. That little boy wanted a relationship with his father so badly that he was willing to give up all that he had. God wants so badly to have a personal relationship with us that He, too, gave up something priceless. He gave His son Jesus to die on the cross to pay for our time.
Are you missing that relationship with God? Are you letting your busy schedule push Him out of your life? It’s never too late to start the relationship. God is right here waiting.
When I came into work the other morning, my employee asked me “Have you had your ‘Jesus time’ this morning?” I was thrown off a little as to why she was asking, then she told me, “You aren’t going to be happy with what one of the vendors did, and I know you can handle it better when you have your ‘Jesus time.’” Several things occurred to me from this one comment. First, she was right: I do handle life and the difficulties of the day better when I have had my Quiet Time. Second, I didn’t realize anyone was paying attention. I had mentioned a time or two that my morning routine was to have coffee and Quiet Time before starting my day, so I would rather not start receiving texts until after 5:00 in the morning. Third, it made me realize that when I have a connection to Jesus, built on spending time with him, God’s presence becomes more central to my everyday behavior. It becomes easier to stay mindful of His existence and that He is using me as a light.
To be honest, when I started my relationship with Jesus five years ago, I heard the term “Quiet Time” used, but I had no idea what it meant or even how to have one. I would close my eyes, open the Bible, and then just put my finger on the page. I decided that was what I was supposed to read and checked it off the list. I finally started asking questions. What is Quiet Time? The best definition of a Quiet Time that I received was this: “the spiritual habit of having intentional conversations with God that will grow you closer to Him.” This could be through reading the Bible, devotions and prayer, or journaling. There is no one-size-fits-all here. It is your relationship with God. But the key to any relationship is putting time aside each day to talk and to listen. It’s the same with your relationship with God.
You may be thinking that a Quiet Time with God every single day is a little extreme with so much demand on you time. My second question was, “Why is it so important?” Our best example comes from Jesus. Imagine the demands He faced, with so many people wanting His time and attention. Luke 5:16 tells us “But despite Jesus’ instructions, the report of his power spread even faster, and vast crowds came to hear him preach and to be healed of their diseases. But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer” (NLT). Even Jesus needed time to speak with His Father. It was important that He had time alone to reconnect with His power source. It was important that Jesus be alone so He could recharge His batteries.
Have you been feeling drained from all the demands in your life? Maybe you need to reconnect to the Power Source to recharge your batteries.
In the movie, Letters to God, there is a young boy named Tyler who is fighting cancer. He writes a letter to God every day and puts it in the mailbox. My favorite scene is when Tyler encourages his brother to write a letter to God. When his brother tells him that this is lame, Tyler responds with “It’s not lame; it’s my favorite way to talk to God. It’s like texting your best friend.” What a way to have a real conversation with God.
This movie reminded me a lot of King David in the Bible and how he related and communicated with God. David had real communication with God. He openly and honestly shared his thoughts, fears, and struggles. In a way, the Psalms he wrote were the “journaling” of his Quiet Time with God. He records the times he spent out in the fields with the flocks of sheep and the times when he was on the run from Saul. When he didn’t have anyone else to talk to, he talked to God; he built a relationship with Him. God knew everything about David, and David came to know God. In Acts 13:22, God said “… I have found David, son of Jesse, a man after my own heart” (NLT). David’s actions throughout the Bible tell us that he depended on God and looked to God for answers.
So many of my days are full, working two jobs, then the chores and lists of things I need to do at home. The day seems to quickly pass by and then I wonder if I talked to God at all during the day? The way David interacted with God is the intimacy and relationship with God that I want to strive for.
“How is your prayer life?” is a frequent question my friend and mentor have been asking me since we first met. I would like to be able to answer “great” all the time; but really, there are times that I am insecure about my prayer life. I know prayer is important and that I probably don’t pray as much as I should. I also question whether I am doing it right or not. It’s easy to neglect prayer when we ask ourselves things like, “What are the right words?” or “What do I talk about?”
Jesus gives us a great example of how to pray in Matthew 6:9-13, but He doesn’t tell us what to pray. Prayer is real communication with a real God. When you are having a real conversation with a friend, are you saying the same thing over and over or reading from a script? Mostly likely that answer is no. God wants the same type of communication from us.
So why does prayer seem so difficult? If we are honest, many of us lack courage and imagination in our prayer lives. We assume God is not interested in or doesn’t have time for the small details of our days. We wait until we think something becomes serious enough for God to care about before we go to Him. Paul says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” Philippians 4:6, ESV.
Do you have the faith to believe that God cares about another Wednesday morning at work or with your kids? Or your random conversation with a stranger? Or how you slept last night? God cares about everything, every single day of your life, down to the very smallest details. He wants to be part of everything you do.
Instead of “How is your prayer life?” maybe a better question is “Have you been enjoying your communication with God?” or “Has your relationship been real? Have you been leaning on Him and not on yourself?”
Four years ago, I went on my first student mission trip with middle and high school students. We partnered with a group in Atlanta to serve the homeless and those living under bridges. The motto for each day was “offer a meal and a prayer” to each person you meet. To be honest, I was lacking just as much confidence and courage as the students were on that first day. It is easy to think about our fears and insecurities: “How do I pray out loud?” or “ What will others think?” or “Will I say the right words?” Over the next five days, it was inspiring to watch the students step out of their comfort zones and gain the confidence and courage that Daniel showed in the Old Testament.
Daniel 6 tells us that Daniel’s enemies devised a plot against him: they persuaded the king to pass a decree saying prayers could only be offered to the king. Those who were disobedient would face the lion’s den. Daniel ignored the decree, because he knew the one true God. He prayed to God three times a day. Not even the threat of death could keep Daniel from communing with his Lord. As we know from Scripture, Daniel was caught breaking the decree and was indeed thrown into the lion’s den. The Lord Himself saved Daniel. Daniel’s courage to pray led to an amazing testimony of God for all the people.
Just like Daniel, the students’ courage to pray with each person they met and served was an amazing testimony of God. They showed love to each person, not worrying about their insecurities or what to say. They were proving by their actions that God wants to hear from each and every one of us.