Commit Yourself to Time Alone with God

Scripture to Memorize A wife of noble character who can find?      She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. Proverbs 31:10–11 Passage to Read Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!” Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.” So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons. Mark 1:35–39 Guided Prayer Dear Jesus, thank you for coming to earth to show me how to live. I marvel that even though you are the divine Son of God, you still took time to pray to your Father in heaven. Just like me, you had people demanding your time and attention. I chuckle as I can almost hear Simon exclaiming, “Everyone is looking for you!” Sometimes I feel like the whole world wants a piece of me, too. I delude myself into thinking I’m too busy or that I can skip time with the Father and still stay on track. Forgive me, Lord! I notice too, Jesus, how you refocused on your life mission and set your agenda for the day after your time alone. I invite you, Holy Spirit, as my counselor, to show me a solitary place where I can get my priorities straight. I will consider this place and time your official invitation to call me there, morning by morning. Amen. Personal The Proverbs 31 woman got up while it was still dark, just as Jesus did. The Bible tells us Jesus left the house to find a solitary place to pray and thus meet with the Father. That may or may not be a realistic option for you on a daily basis. In either case, I encourage you to create a Prayer Oasis. Find an area in your house that you can transform into a beautiful place to meet with God each day. It may be a closet or a corner of a room.(Don’t laugh. I used a closet-turned-prayer room for years—and it wasn’t a walk-in closet, either!) Even if you have only three beautiful decorative items (painting, vase, etc.), put them in a corner with your Bible, Personal Notebook, and pen. Prayer is an important enough priority that I eliminated our formal dining room (I gave away the furniture!) and transformed it into our family prayer chapel. I outfitted it with a comfortable couch, two rocking chairs, Bibles, prayer and devotional books, small tables with plants, a tabletop fountain, and mementos from various mission trips we’ve taken. The walls are covered with sacred items: Scripture plaques, crosses, and inspirational artwork. Henri Nouwen said, “Discipline is the human effort to create the space in which God can be generous and give us what we need.”2 By setting up a specific place to pray, you are creating space in your life for God to bless you. Create the space and make the time to meet with God. The reason the Proverbs 31 woman’s husband could have full confidence in her is because she had full confidence in God. Confidence in a relationship comes from investing time in that relationship. If we want to have something valuable to offer the world, we must first have something of value to offer. It must be more than material things. True, we can rush out the door first thing in the morning in pursuit of stuff to buy and give to our loved ones, but the things of this world are fleeting and have no lasting value. Instead, let’s invest our time seeking heavenly treasures, like spiritual insight, knowledge of Scripture, the power to demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit, and the ability to carry the presence of God with us wherever we go. Any determined, hardworking woman can bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan. That’s no great accomplishment. A woman who is so wise she has figured out how to get the bacon to come to her and has trained her children to be servant-hearted enough to do the frying—now that’s a valuable woman! That’s a woman who will inspire confidence in her husband and everyone else who meets her. If you want to be an inspiration to everyone you meet, meet with God first. If this were an important business meeting, you would make the time and instruct your staff to set up the best conference room in the building and have everything ready in advance. Well, you have important business to do with God, so set up the conference room and have everything ready. Bruce Wilkinson, author of The Prayer of Jabez, observed: “I have yet to find a respected spiritual leader throughout history who had devotions at night.”3 Although I enjoy reading a devotional or Christian book at night, I concur with Wilkinson’s observation about the importance of morning time alone with God. Every book and biography I’ve ever read by spiritual leaders, past and present, and every person ever used mightily of God indicated that meeting with God was their first order of business. Morning devotions set the agenda and the tone for the day. Before you meet with your family, before you face the world, before you do anything else, meet with God. Give him the first half hour or so of your day. This step alone will transform your life. Just think how different your life will be ninety days from now if you take time, every day, to meet with God first! I promise it will be dramatic. meet with God first! I promise it will be dramatic. Affirmation: I commit myself to time alone with God. Practical Create a specific place for time alone with God, a place where you do nothing else but spend time with him. Equip it with all the tools you need for Bible study, prayer, and meditation. Place your Bible, this book, your Personal Notebook, pens, index cards, tissues, lip balm, and Post-it notes in a small basket. Make it the most inviting place in your entire home and you will be drawn to it like an oasis in the desert. Establish a lifetime habit of TAG (Time Alone with God). Give God the first thirty minutes (or more) of every day. Note where you’ll meet with God: ________________________________________ What time? ________________ Write out your commitment to TAG, then sign and date below: Dear Lord, I hereby commit myself to giving you the first ________ minutes of my day for the next ninety days. I believe you are a rewarder of those who diligently seek you, so I have set my heart on seeking you first. I believe, by faith, that one of the rewards you will give me is supernatural wisdom and the ability to conduct the affairs of my day with greater efficiency so that my TAG will in no way diminish my effectiveness but will in fact increase it. I sign this on _______________________ (date). With love, _________________________________ (your name)   Notebook: Label the first tab divider in your notebook tag. (We’ll be adding more labels and contents to the notebook in the days to come.)