Get Alone With God

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, December 9, 2016 0 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

[This blog post is part of a series. The previous post is here, and the next post is here.]

“Tell me how much time you spend alone with God, and I’ll tell you how spiritual you are.” ~Leonard Ravenhill

That quote is a doozy. One of the posts I opened up this series with was how prayer is not a process but rather a relationship with God. In that post I said that when you pray, how you pray, what position you pray in, and the like does not matter as long as you pray. That is still true, however, God is making me learn the importance of having that personal, quiet time with God.

For most of my Christian life, I did not have a set time when I put everything away and spent time in prayer. My prayer time was more as I went along in my day or when I would pace with little to do while waiting for things to take place. I was fond of this quote, though I do not know whom it is attributed: “I am not concerned about spending 30 minutes a day in prayer. I am concerned about going 30 minutes without prayer.” I loved that quote, but I still did not apply it correctly. I was more using that to pray throughout the day in short prayer quips, not having a true lifestyle of prayer, and as an excuse to not have a regular, personal time alone with God.

As I have studied about prayer since July, one thing that preachers keep referencing is the quiet, alone, prayer life of the saints of the Bible, particularly Jesus. Paul Washer makes several keys points in his sermon “Pray and Be Alone with God.” The first thing Washer addresses is that the disciples asked Jesus how to pray. They did not ask how to preach, how to drive out demons, how to perform miracles. They asked how to pray. So according to Washer, something stood out to the disciples about Jesus’ prayer life.

The other thing Washer states that stands out for the scope of this post is that Jesus’ escape was to get with God and pray. Jesus did not turn to his friends, he did not turn to books, he did not turn to video games, he turned to his Father when he needed a moment to get away and escape. Many of us will go read a book, or play a game, or take a vacation, but how many of us pray as our means of letting go of our daily stresses and recharging? Do not hear what I am not saying. I still read, I still play games (though the drive and interest in playing them is greatly waning). No condemnation here. But my question must remain: do we seek God to be our sustenance, our source of energy and strength? Or do we seek it in other sources?

How should we do our prayer time? Here are some tips you can use to consider, however do NOT, and I mean do NOT, keep these as some ritualistic or legalistic rules, however discipline is always a good thing to practice. So if you are having a difficult time getting prayer time going, use these tips to help you get something established.

Pick a specific time for prayer and keep it. Some do first thing in the morning before the day begins. Some do evening before going to bed. Some do noon. Part of it may depend on your work schedule or your family schedule. Simply pick a time and schedule your day around that. The key is to make your prayer time your priority.

Plan a time frame to pray. I read the stories of John Hyde, Rees Howells, and John Wesley who would pray for numerous hours a day. One thing about these men is that they learned how to pray through, how to keep praying until the battle was won, and often they did not learn that secret until they had endured praying through the whole night. Now, many of us are not in a state where we can do that. I have yet to make that goal. However, start training. Start with five minutes. Start with ten minutes. Go to 30 minutes or one hour. But keep the same time and same time frame, then add to that time frame as your bond with the Lord grows.

This is an unusual concept not often mentioned, but sometimes your very posture can affect how you pray. Many will say be on your knees. Many of the main prayer warriors and missionaries are known to have ground ruts into the floor boards at their beds because of how many hours and how vigorously they prayed. Do not put yourself in a position where you are most likely to fall asleep or likely to be distracted by other things. Rather put yourself in a position that helps you focus. The location of your prayer time is also an important factor. Jesus often went to a high mountain, away from people and away from crowds. If you can reserve a room or a closet to make your “prayer room,” do so. Make a place where you can shut out the world, shut out the internet, shut out the music, shut out everyone else, just you and God. If you do not have a place where you can do that, make sure you turn everything off. Turn off the computer, turn off the TV, close the door to your bedroom, and look only at your Bible and pray.

There are also times where you need to get away completely. Get away from anything familiar. Many pastors will take a trip into the mountains and rent a cabin or get a hotel room to get away from the home, away from where anything can distract them so they can concentrate on prayer. I have done this a couple times this year. I have done a hike and picked a spot where I could sit and pray, and another time I went into the prayer chapel at my church. The thing when doing this is to not take extra books or anything that will distract you from the Bible or from prayer.

Everyone needs a time of prayer with God, a time to read the Bible and to communicate with God. You cannot survive in this world spiritually without a constant connection to the source of life and wisdom. Another comment I have been seeing about prayer is that when you spend your time and do your work in private prayer, then your public prayer and public work becomes almost automatic. If you spend the time and effort in your private prayer, you will see the results in your public life.

Next week, I wrap up this series with an examination of how we end most of our prayers: “In Jesus’ name, Amen.” What does it mean to ask in Jesus’ name? What does Amen actually mean? Next week will be the end of this series.

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