Lesson 45 - Developing a Daily Devotional Time, Part 2
ST. PAUL SCHOOL OF LEADERSHIP
“Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ” (I Corinthians 11:1)
Lesson 45 - DEVELOPING A DAILY DEVOTIONAL TIME, part 2
I have often wondered, “What if the Lord said, Frank, if people were to forget everything you ever preached or taught—except one thing—what would be that one thing you would most want them to remember?” What would I answer?
My answer has not changed during all these years. I would say, “Lord, please make the one thing people remember be: ‘Have a quiet time with God in prayer and His Word—daily.'” Why? Because if we allow the Holy Spirit daily access to our lives, God will be able to tell us every important thing that He wants us to be, think and do.
That is why the discipline of daily devotions is so important. It's just you and your Lord together in quietness and spiritual intimacy. Take time to review Part 1 of this lesson. Then you will appreciate more these next important points in beginning and guarding a time alone each day with your awesome Creator.
1. WHO SHOULD HAVE A DAILY QUIET TIME WITH THE LORD?
Those who claim to know and love Him will prize such quiet time. Moses certainly believed in feasting on the wonder of the presence of God when the Lord ordered him to tell his fellow Israelites that, concerning God's commands, they were to talk of them when they sat at home, walked along the road, laid down, or rose up (Deuteronomy 6:7).
Joshua meditated day and night on God's Word (Joshua 1:8). Jeremiah said that finding God's Word was like a hungry man feasting on the choicest of morsels: “Thy words were found and I did eat them” (Jeremiah 15:16). And we see these same orders and examples throughout the New Testament as well. Jesus, the Son of God, rose before dawn just to be with the Father. If He needed that time alone, how much more do you and I?
2. WHY HAVE A DAILY MORNING AND EVENING TIME WITH THE LORD?
View every day as a lifetime in miniature. When you awaken in the morning, it's as if you have just been born. And when you slip into the unconsciousness of sleep at night, it is as if you have died. Between your “birth” and “death”, you can throw all your life and strength into living in the will of God and for others. That allows you to live 365 lives in one year!
The truth is, we don't know if we will have a “tomorrow.” The Psalmist said: “So teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom” (Psalm 90:12). James tells us: “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away” (James 4:14). Since you and I don't know what's waiting for us at the bend in the road—or whether it might be the end of the road—how important it is for us to hear God's voice first thing in the morning.
And how vital, after going through the day, to let the Holy Spirit speak to us prior to bedtime by telling us where He has approved of us and where we have perhaps grieved Him. Besides, should any relationship where two people are together throughout the day really have to go on with neither speaking very much to the other? You never get out of God's sight. He's always looking at you, loving you and speaking tender words to you. Why not give Him that quality time and allow your relationship to grow in meaning and intensity?
3. WHEN IS IT BEST TO HAVE A QUIET TIME?
These are only my suggestions. Some mothers find that they have a better quiet time when all the children are off to school; or the husband when he has arrived early at his office where he can be alone. My own plan is not to fall into the temptation of letting some unforeseen thing break into my time alone with God. The way I do this is to meet with Him shortly after awakening.
I'm blessed to have a wife who does the same. We both disappear in the morning for our personal quiet times apart. At night, we have our devotional time together, but that will be discussed in Part 4 of this lesson.
What's your schedule? What time do you get up in the morning in order to dress, eat, or whatever, before going to work, school, or other involved action? You have probably set times to accomplish certain things in order to have a proper relationship with others you'll be involved with that day. Why not discipline yourself and get up a few minutes earlier in order to develop a relationship with your number one love—the Lord Jesus? Since He never sleeps and has been lovingly watching over you all night, it shouldn't be too difficult to open your eyes and say, “Good morning, Lord. I love you and am looking forward to our time together.”
I think John 4:23, 24 is terrific. God the Father is described as not limited to a weak physical body. He is pure and eternal Spirit and is looking for worshippers who will worship Him in spirit and truth. Put simply, God is seeking those who will love Him. Can you imagine anything so incredibly exciting and worth your giving quality time?
Give Him the first part of your morning before anything else can interfere. If you plan it later, I guarantee you that Satan will do everything He can to have other things interfere with your schedule and prevent you from having meaningful, regular times with the Lord. The same thing goes for the evening. Some people enjoy having their personal quiet time early in the evening when they're not so sleepy. I'm still in the habit of having my time with my wife just prior to bedtime.
4. WHERE SHOULD YOU HAVE THIS SPECIAL TIME WITH THE LORD?
Choose any location that you know can be that sacred place of aloneness. Among all the rooms of our home, I can honestly say that the bedroom is our most special place. The reason is obvious. That is where I can express the deepest feelings, longings and expressions of my heart to the wife whom I love as I love no other.
Let it be the same with the Lord. Jesus often went out alone to a desert place or a mountain. Perhaps your place will be a quiet corner of your living room or bedroom. Some Christians have had so many people living in their homes that they have had to retreat into a closet. Or you might have to go with a flashlight to a corner of the basement. But if that's where you can really get quiet and enjoy the presence of God, then that's your holy of holies—your “secret place of the most High” (Psalm 91:1) where you can turn off all the outside noise, tune in your spiritual ear, and “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).
Go to part 3 of this lesson
Review other parts of this lesson here