The importance of spending time alone with the Lord cannot be overemphasized. It should be the life of the believer if he has to succeed in his walk with the Lord. If he has to lessen the pull of carnality and to live a life of victory over sin and the world. If he has to dig deeper into his Word to mine the treasures contained therein. If he has to get acquainted with God’s voice.
Spending time alone with the Lord should be a priority. A conscious pursuit. The Christian must seek to overcome complacency in this area. Pursuing intimacy with God must be one of the top goals of the individual believer.
I wrote about the , in a bid to encourage the reader to do so. Yet at the same time, there are attitudes that can make that time with the Lord useless or not as beneficial as it should be.
I have once been a victim of most if not all of these attitudes. It was not until I abandoned them that I began to reap the benefits of spending time with the Lord.
Some of these are common place among believers.
- Be time-conscious. Set an alarm clock.
I used to set an alarm clock when in prayers as a discipline to my flesh. Five minutes in prayer can seem like an hour, and I wanted to spend longer time than my flesh was willing to tolerate. So I went for the alarm clock.
The result of using an alarm was that I worried more about the time than paying attention to prayer. I frequently checked my phone to see if I did really set the time correctly. It would seem to me that the alarm should have come on but the time was apparently longer than what I had thought. I would be relieved when the sound finally came on.
That activity didn’t benefit me the way it should have because time consciousness turned it into a formality.
The best way is to come before God with the goal of spending quality time with him. Quantity is useless without quality. Spending five minutes in true fellowship with the Lord is better than spending an hour while constantly checking or waiting for the alarm clock to sound.
- Seek an emotional or supernatural experience
Most of us will love it if during and after prayer we feel like we’ve really prayed. If during prayer we experience a trance like the apostle Peter. If we have an angelic visitation like Cornelius. If we can have visions and hear God talk to us in spectacular ways.
So we sing and we pray in the spirit while waiting for that emotional high or supernatural experience to come on.
That is not only spiritually dangerous, but useless as far as reaping the benefits of spending time with the Lord. In seeking an experience, you can open up yourself to demonic spirits.
Prayer is an act of faith. You believe God exists, that he hears you and that he can talk back to you. You should praise and worship him because he is worthy, not doing that as a means of preparing your body and mind for an emotional or supernatural experience. You should pray to God because he is a person, not a force you are trying to invoke to manifest to your carnal satisfaction.
- Talk to God as if he’s some force or influence
This is in accord with the last sentence in point two above.
God is not weird. He is a conscious being. That is how we must approach him. He is not some force like wind, fire or an inexplicable emotion. He is a conscious being, although he is spirit. We can’t see him, but he’s real. By faith we can approach him and speak with him as we would normally speak with our fellow humans.
- Use high-sounding words
God is a caring Father. He loves us; he cherishes the fact that we spend time with him.
He is also friendly. While respect for him must be emphasized, protocol is not necessary. You can talk to him in your own parlance.
Talk to him from your heart, in simple language. He knows and understands what you have to say even before you say it. So calm down, put away the dictionary, and just talk to your Father.
- Don’t pour out your heart to him
It is possible to come before God and not really pour out your heart; and not tell him how you really feel and think. Coupled with using high-sounding words, you might find yourself acting before God like a superhuman, especially if you have been made to believe that it is wrong to admit negative feelings to God.
Well, God knows already. You can’t pretend before him. If you are aching, pour out your heart to God. If you are confused, tell him. If you are depressed, talk to him about the situation.
You’ll be amazed at how much relief you’ll receive after doing that. For me, Bible verses or encouraging thoughts come to my mind when I do that.
To avoid turning this into complaining, you need to pour out your heart to God in faith, not in anger and resentment towards him. You must believe that he cares about you and expect him to give you the help you need at that particular moment.
- Parrot until you say, “In Jesus name, amen”. Then get up and leave.
That’s not fellowship. It’s recitation.
God wants to talk with you. As you come to spend time with him, make the effort to listen for his voice. Don’t just talk until you are through, then you rush out. Learn to wait before the Lord. In silence. In studying his word.
- Allow your mind to wander. Do not discipline it.
You shouldn’t be talking to God or apparently reading the word when your mind is out shopping, dating or watching TV. Discipline your mind.
- Talk to the devil instead
Devil and demon-consciousness can make you spend lots of time addressing the devil. Some believers put much emphasis on the devil’s activities that their consciousness of the evil one is more than their consciousness of God, even in the closet. It ought not to be so.
Time with the Lord is just what it is – time with the Lord.
- Only read the Word; do not study it.
Just read and tick the daily record. That’s what I did the first time I went through the entire Bible. The only benefit I got from the exercise was the pride of having gone through the Bible. I wasn’t taught, I wasn’t blessed, I couldn’t even remember what I’d read once I closed the book.
The Bible was written for us, not for God. When we read and study it, we are the ones who get blessed. God is not impressed by our Bible reading; he wants us to know him and his will through his word.
Merely reading the Bible will not benefit much; studying will. You need to stop and reflect in the course of reading. Ask yourself what the passage is saying, read similar verses in other portions of Scripture; make use of commentaries and Bible dictionaries to get the historical and cultural context and full meanings of some of the words. That is studying.
You’d be amazed at how much treasure you can find in the Word when you study instead of merely reading.
I doubt if my list is exhaustive. In summary, there are attitudes we adopt that make our time with God a waste of time, an activity done out of formality, instead of quality time of fellowship with the heavenly Father.
Time alone with God is an awesome time when we have the right mindset: fellowship with a conscious being who loves us. We can communicate our hearts to him in the friendliest and most intimate way.