A few years ago I went to the Philippines on a mission trip for a month and a half. It was the best trip I can remember. One day our team went on a prayer retreat to this oasis up in the hills at a Christian owned resort type place and everyone was sent off to spend an hour with the Lord with the instructions of coming back with what God told you. It had lots of bamboo “nipa huts” high on stilts, so that’s where I chose to go. It was was then I realized that I had never intentionally spent an hour with the Lord…
I’ve been a devoted Christian since 3 years old, had spent lots of time with God at church, loved and led worship, never backslid, and had read the Bible through several times on my own since my youth – but setting an amount of time for communion with God was often not my practice outside of church, though I prayed throughout the day and had a willing heart.
Soon after that trip my sister & I were singing at a church in Ohio and I saw a video that changed my spiritual life hopefully forever… It was about a guy seemingly in his 50s that didn’t seem like he had previously been very serious about God who was convinced by his pastor to find a chair, bring a Bible and a prayer journal, and have coffee with Jesus every morning before work. He didn’t think he had time, but as he put this discipline in his life things started changing. His wife could definitely tell a great difference in him. I got inspired and partially convicted. Here I am, a life-long “star” Christian that didn’t have the discipline of a newer disciple of Jesus.. so almost as soon as I got back to Tulsa, I found my own rocking chair to do the same, put it on my porch since I had no closet in the house I could get away, & quickly became hooked!
It’s been two years since then and I’ve kept it up just about every day since then and recently we moved and God gave me a walk in closet with a window, which is what I was praying for! So that’s my new getaway spot. 🙂 The thing is, it’s not about how long we spend with God, just like you don’t count how long you’re spending with a friend or someone enjoy being with as if it’s a chore. It quickly becomes a high point of your day and you begin to desire to be with him as often as possible!
I’ve found that there are a few things I almost always take with me in my alone time with the Lord:
1 – a Bible (I’m reading the King James Version & King James Easy Read (KJVER) now and I love them, but I’ve read or listened through the “New Living Translation”, “New King James” in the past)
2 – Year Long Bible Plan (I use the “YouVersion” Bible app for this)
4 – Journal, Pen (or Evernote app)
5 – Daily Planner (I also use Evernote for this)
6 – Devotional or a classic Christian book (Utmost.org is great too!)
7 – Bluetooth Speaker & Spotify to play Worship (Don Moen is my jam. Terry MacAlmon is great too!)
8 – Guitar (since I’m a songwriter to write to the Lord. I don’t always bring an instrument though.)
9 – The other things I do is pray in tongues often (personal language between you and God that the Lord gives you if you ask for it) and I practice listening to the Lord.
Here’s how it usually goes down:
– As I spend time with the Lord and pray (or try not to pray and just listen), He inspires new thoughts or brings up old dreams He’s given me that I try to capture in my journal, as well as devotional thoughts, prayers, and ideas.
– As I read in my Bible, I often ask the Lord to make something come off the page to me, journal the verses and how God is speaking to me through them, and write how I want to apply it to my life. It’s easy to get into reading the Bible as a ritual instead of to get to know how God thinks and operates, so slowing down, asking the Holy Spirit to make the Word come alive to you helps break you out of a religiously reading the Bible rut.
– Also as I spend time alone, I’m reminded of plans and priorities for the day or week that I add or organize in my daily planner. An interesting fact given by Zig Ziglar, my favorite Christian motivational coach, is that all successful people spend 1-2 hours alone everyday, because we need it to remember where we’re going in life, set and review goals, give ourselves space to think, read, be thankful, and as Christians, time to listen to the Lord’s voice for direction or correction.
– I find that without worship I can be doing “all the right things” but my time with the Lord can seem dry.. so I often turn on the worship and the tears start flowing or I can feel the Lord’s presence stronger. Spotify is such a blessing because I can get almost all the worship out there on tap anytime, and make playlists of my favorite songs.
– Praying in the Holy Spirit (aka “Tongues”): When I’m anxious, which has happened too often, or concerned, or just want to be more sensitive to the Lord’s voice and what He wants to do, I pray in the spirit. The awesome thing is that every time it makes a difference and God brings me peace or an answer or I just know I can trust Him with my life and the outcome. I got the gift of tongues at 6 years old in kids church and have prayed with so many people to receive it since then. If you want it, ask the Lord and find a Charismatic church leader who will pray with you to receive it if you don’t get it on your own.
That wraps this up, and I think that will help you in your journey with the Lord. I think you will find that an hour with the Lord isn’t enough, but it’s a good daily goal that will help you prioritize on being in His presence and grow in love with Him more. As you learn to come to Him regularly, you’ll find it’s addictive and probably wonder how you ever went without. So I encourage you to ask yourself this question that changed my life – Where’s your chair?
Thank you for reading,