Practical ways to nurture time with God
Jesus Christ ministered to thousands of people but He also spent substantial amounts of time alone with Father God. We often neglect to set time aside to revel in the Father’s love and draw upon His strength. This opens the door to all sorts of traps for failure and fatigue. Like Jesus, we need to nurture and protect our personal time with God.
Luke 5:16 NIV But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.
Time alone with God helps to replenish and refresh us. God often uses those times to help us encounter Him in powerful ways. Most important of all, God wants to share His affection with us, and this is best done in one-on-one “conversations”. What are some practical ways to nurture our personal time with God?
Psalm 46:10 ESV “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”
1. Take one step at a time and then build it up
As with all habits, it takes time and repeated practice to develop new routines and patterns in our lives. Start with smaller chunks of time that we spend with God and slowly build it up.
2. First things first
We should start our day with God. It is useful to set time aside first thing in the morning and make it as essential as breakfast or brushing our teeth. Wake up 10 minutes earlier and progressively increase the amount of time that is dedicated to quiet moments with the Lord. He will fill us up for every need throughout the rest of our day.
Psalm 143:8 ESV Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.
3. Put aside temptations and “time robbers”
When we become still in our hearts, minds and bodies, we will encounter a flood of distractions and thoughts. Recognise these as temptations from the enemy and choose to resist. We can put away our clock, watch or mobile phone and avoid checking the time, our emails or our messages. We don’t honour God, when we try to multitask during our time with Him.
James 4:7 ESV Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
4. Make a date with God
We keep important appointments. So let’s put our appointment with God in our diaries. Make it a routine and recurring time and we won’t easily allow anything else to take over.
Set a special alarm sound that goes off 15 minutes before our appointed time so we can prepare ourselves and our hearts. As we stick with our appointments with God, and He will honour our time with Him. Let us not stand God up and be a “no show”.
Psalm 91:14-16 ESV “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name. When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”
5. Change our mindsets
We ought to nurture our conversations with God like we would with someone we are in love with. No one likes to spend time with someone who hangs around just out of duty. We prefer to be around people who are joyful, expectant, enthusiastic and interactive – so let’s bring that same attitude to our almighty Father God. Let’s enter into our time with God with this sort of mindset, and be completely open about how we may feel and think.
6. Treat ourselves
In the beginning, we might want to pair our time with God together with our favourite drink or snack, as a positive reinforcement for our time spent. Eventually, as our time with God alone become sweeter and sweeter, we may find that such treats become less and less essential.
7. Place reminders in our environments
Some people might find it helpful to place a Bible as a visual reminder in their environment, to remember dedicating time to God.
8. Find accountability
Start developing this new habit together with one or two other friends, and keep each other accountable in a loving manner.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 ESV Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
9. Create space
It’s sometimes helpful to create a special, private “God” space in our homes. Similar to physical spaces, we must make space in our minds and in our hearts for our time with God.
10. Be creative
There are many different ways to spend time with God.
- Walk – Go for a walk in the park, listen to an online sermon and talk with God at the end of the walk.
- Draw – Take a piece of paper and start drawing how we picture our lives and where God is in it, and then ask God to reveal if that is the correct picture for us.
- Take notes– Do our regular Bible reading and take down notes, asking God what He wants to show us from the passage.
- Worship – Listen to worship songs and just worship God.
- Review – Review our diaries or journals for past prayer requests and thoughts, and look for the fingerprints of God in our lives and thank Him.
- Study – Write out a list of prayers, and look in the Bible for verses that shed light on what we are asking for.
- Thank God – List out all the things we can be thankful for in the past 30 days.
- Reflect – Do a spiritual health check with God by our side. Have we been ‘consuming’ healthy things with our eyes and ears? Is our heart being kept pure before God?
Psalm 8:3-4 ESV When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?
God is not interested in what we do or accomplish, but why we do them. Ultimately, God treasures our hearts and motivations. It is during these times alone with God that we are most able to share our hearts with God in ways that bring Him joy.
Isn’t time with our Creator, Saviour and Friend too precious not to preserve on an ongoing basis?
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