Time alone with God – relating, connecting. This is the longing of our soul.
Yet, many find being consistent in meeting with God to be a challenge.
Others, confess to experiencing periods when their alone time with God is automated and mechanical, another thing to be checked off a list.
When our time with God seems stale, stalled, or even stagnant, how do we go about breathing new life into it?
In the frenzy and flurry of activity, it is often our time alone with God that falls victim. Running here and there, doing this and that, we wonder how to fit in that precious time.
It’s a matter of ATTENDING – to our soul, to our relationship with God.
Dallas Willard, philosophy professor and extensive writer on spiritual formation, explained that there is a BIG difference between being busy and being hurried.
Busy, he said, is a condition of our outer world. It is having many things to do.
Hurry is a problem of the soul. Hurry is being so preoccupied with myself and what I have to do that I am no longer able to be fully present with God or with anyone else.
“You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life.” –Dallas Willard.
Intentionally, ruthlessly, eliminate hurry as you persistently and tenaciously make this time your priority.
How often am I guilty of having a need and trying to figure it out on my own? One day instead of wasting time spinning my wheels and suffering prolonged frustration, I will learn to ASK first.
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. –Matthew 7:7
Simply, ASK God for what you need. Do you need discipline? Self-control? Faithfulness? Desire? Whatever it is, ASK that He would fill you that you might spend time alone with Him each day.
I have not met a person yet who has not at one time (or more!) felt that their time alone with God couldn’t use a boost. I know I’ve been there – feeling in a rut, going through the motions.
When we find ourselves in this place, it’s time to step back from the same ole, same ole and GRANT YOURSELF PERMISSION to try something new.
This is not easy. It’s an act of conscious decision just as ATTENDING and ASKING are. According to dictionary.com to GRANT PERMISSION is to allow yourself liberty to do something; to afford opportunity or possibility. In its Latin origin the word permission is a “noun of action.”
Constantly the one doing all the talking during your time alone with God? Sit back and listen.
Always have your prayer time seated in the same chair? Go for a walk.
In the habit of reading three chapters of the Bible straight through in one sitting? Grab a journal, slow down, and record your thoughts.
It is okay to mix it up and do things differently, even if you are not currently in a rut. Different might be exactly what is needed for experiencing a fresh encounter with God.
Go ahead. GRANT YOURSELF PERMISSION. After all, isn’t our God, Himself, the God of liberty and grace?
COMBINE SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINES
Each of the spiritual disciplines – Bible reading, prayer, solitude, and all the others – is absolutely necessary and beneficial to us. However, it turns out that the act of engaging in one singular discipline to the exclusion of the others rarely provides nourishment to our soul, or elicits real spiritual growth.
Speaking on the discipline of prayer, Dallas Willard once explained that in order for one to flourish in prayer, to develop an energetic praying life, they needed to practice it with other disciplines such as solitude and/or fasting.
The spiritual practices then, such as Bible reading and prayer, perform their best work in our souls when they are interwoven with one another.
Want to turn that stale, stalled, stagnant time alone with God around?
- Bible Reading + Prayer
- Prayer + A Soul Friend
- Bible Reading + Journaling
- Self (Soul) Reflection + Prayer
- Prayer + Solitude + Journaling
What other combinations can you think of for interweaving the spiritual practices as you meet with God?
Four tips for experiencing more consistent time alone with God. ATTEND by eliminating hurry and making time alone with God a priority. ASK God to fill you with whatever it is you need to make this time happen. Breathe fresh life into your time alone with God by GRANTING PERMISSION to yourself to try new things. Make it a time that draws you in and gets you excited. And make it a time of deep soul work and real spiritual growth by COMBINING SPIRITUAL PRACTICES.
How do you experience more consistent time alone with God?