Time Alone with God
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Spending time alone with the Lord is the primary means of getting to know Him and building our relationship with Him. Ask yourself how strong your relationships with your spouse, family, friends, or coworkers would be if your communication with them was the same as your communication with the Lord. Would your loved ones feel you are spending enough time with them? Would they feel that the fellowship you have with them causes your relationship to flourish? Our relationship with God is our primary relationship, and to keep it alive and flourishing we need to spend time with Him, just as we need to spend time with others we are in relationship with.
One key element of fellowship is mutual communication. It’s in listening to and talking with another that we get to know them better. Our fellowship with the Lord is no different; we must both listen to Him and speak with Him. The primary means of listening to God is through reading His Word, the Bible. He speaks to us through Scripture as we read it, think about what it says, meditate on it, and ask ourselves what it means to us and how we can apply that meaning to our daily living. He also speaks to our hearts when we quiet ourselves and listen to His still small voice.—Peter Amsterdam
All relationships take time. A relationship with God, while unlike other relationships in many ways, still follows the rules of other relationships. The Bible is filled with comparisons to help us conceptualize our relationship with God. For example, Christ is depicted as the bridegroom, and the Church is depicted as the bride. Marriage is two joining their lives as one.1 Such intimacy involves time spent alone with one another. Another relationship is that of father and child. Close parental relationships are those in which children and parents have special “alone time” together. Spending time alone with a loved one provides the opportunity to truly come to know that person. Spending time alone with God is no different. When we’re alone with God, we draw closer to Him and get to know Him in a different way than we do in group settings.2
God desires “alone time” with us. He wants a personal relationship with us. He created us as individuals, “knitting” us in the womb.3 God knows the intimate details of our lives, such as the number of hairs on our heads.4 He knows the sparrows individually, and “you are worth more than many sparrows.”5 He invites us to come to Him and know Him.6 When we desire to know God intimately, we will seek Him early7 and spend time with Him. We will be like Mary, sitting at Jesus’ feet listening to His voice. We will hunger and thirst for righteousness, and we will be filled.8
Perhaps the best reason for us to spend time alone with God is to follow biblical examples. In the Old Testament, we see God call prophets to come to Him alone. Moses met with God alone at the burning bush and then on Mt. Sinai. David, whose many psalms reflect a confident familiarity with God, communed with Him while on the run from Saul.9 God’s presence passed by as Elijah was in the cave. In the New Testament, Jesus spent time alone with God.10 Jesus actually instructed us to pray to God alone at times: “When you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen.”11
To rely on Jesus as our vine,12 we will need to be directly, intimately connected to Him. Just as a branch is linked directly to the vine and, through the vine, connected to other branches, so we are linked directly to Christ and therefore share in a community. We spend time alone with God and in corporate worship for the best nourishment. Without time alone with God, we will find needs unmet; we will not truly know the abundant life He gives.
Spending time alone with God rids our minds of distraction so that we can focus on Him and hear His Word. Abiding in Him, we enjoy the intimacy to which He calls us and come to truly know Him.13—From www.gotquestions.org
No one can continue to keep pouring out to others without spending some time alone with the Lord getting filled up again. … We all need more quiet time alone with the Lord in rest and refilling, drinking at the living water of His Word and fellowshipping with Him in the communion of prayer and the sweet lovemaking of the Spirit.
The Lord Himself has said, “Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.”14—David Brandt Berg
When life seems to be falling apart, your most “spiritual” decision may be a surprise: Get alone with God, and wait.
The Bible says in Lamentations 3:28, “When life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourself. Enter the silence. Bow in prayer. Don’t ask questions: Wait for hope to appear. Don’t run from trouble. Take it full-face. The ‘worst’ is never the worst.”15
Most of us don’t know how to “enter the silence.” We’re always anxious. We don’t like to wait on God because it stresses us out. We like to be in control.
What does it mean to wait on God? You sit down, close your mouth, and just listen to God. You may read your Bible. You may pray. But most of all, you’re quiet in front of God. …
If we want to listen to God and experience the hope he has for us, we have to get alone with him. We must “enter the silence” and be ready to hear him.
Jesus also said this in Matthew 6:6: “Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace.”16
Get honest with God, and your focus will shift from just seeing your problems—no matter how overwhelming they seem—to the grace of God.
Lamentations 3:25–26 says, “The Lord is good to everyone who trusts in him, so it is best for us to wait in patience—to wait for him to save us.”17
The same is true for us. No matter what obstacle you’re facing, wait for God’s timing. He’ll time your next move perfectly.
So wait and listen.—Rick Warren18
Published on Anchor July 2018. Read by Gabriel Garcia Valdivieso.
Music by Michael Dooley.
1 Genesis 2:24.
2 Luke 10:39.
3 Psalm 139:13.
4 Luke 12:7.
5 Matthew 10:29, 31.
6 Isaiah 1:18; Revelation 22:17; Song of Solomon 4:8.
7 Psalm 63:1.
8 Matthew 5:6.
9 Psalm 57.
10 Matthew 14:13; Mark 1:35; 6:45–46; 14:32–34; Luke 4:42; 5:16; 6:12; 9:18; John 6:15.
11 Matthew 6:6a.
12 John 15:1–8.
14 Matthew 11:28–30.