I’ve learned that you have to intentionally train yourself to stop reaching for your smartphone every five minutes, stop thinking about all the details you normally are multi-tasking during the day, stop rushing into new topics in your mind, and slow down to spend time with God and your family. That’s the only way to go deep with the “Great Deep,” as some ministry leaders call our Lord.
Jesus often went away to spend quiet time with our heavenly Father to re-energize, refresh and renew.
In the New Testament, Jesus spent time alone with the Father many times as described in these scripture passages: Matthew 14:13, Mark 1:35, Mark 6:45-46, Mark 14:32-34, Luke 4:42, Luke 5:16, Luke 6:12, Luke 9:18 and John 6:15.
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. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (Matthew 6:6)
In the Old Testament, we see many stories where God calls His 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 (Psalm 57). God’s presence passed by when Elijah was alone in a cave. In our SIU Bridges training events, our indigenous partners tell and retell these stories found in the Old and New Testaments, which remind us of how much our God desires for us to spend time with Him. The concept of a God who pursues us is very different from Muslim, Hindi, and Buddhist teaching, which makes these stories so very powerful.
As my recent family vacation progressed,
I found more and more of those incredible, inspiring moments with the Lord where He finally revealed new insights and promises to me by going deep with Him in the quiet times of the morning and evenings. The Lord reminded me of my unique gifts and talents, and new ways I could maximize them in my short time on this earth. I also found myself slowing down and having special discovery moments with my wife, my best friend, and our children during quality time with each of them.
How are you taking time to refresh and renew? Are you spending time with the Lord and your family? What is keeping you from making this commitment?
I’m interested in hearing from you and what these questions mean to you.
Excellent reminder Kent… I really struggle with this – slowing my mind down from all the thoughts, cares, worries and work of the day just to be in the presence of the Lord and hear His voice. Thank you for being such a humble and transparent leader and sharing scripture and your thoughts on taking time to refresh and renew and making sure we are present and available for the Lord and our family and friends!
Thank you for your kind words and taking your valuable time to read this blog post. Our recent devotional time together, with the Lord guiding us, will be cherished forever! God bless you and all of your Kingdom work and time spent with the Lord. In Christ, Kent
I whole heartily agree it is tough to decompress from life’s business when we go on holiday, which should act as a warning and a teacher for correction when we come back. Scripture teaches to guard our hearts and spending quiet time daily alone in prayer with our Father is one way to help, but how can we hear if our mind is filled with our priorities. A ancient proverb I heard years ago speaks truth in many ways today: “a cup that is full cannot be filled, one must first empty themselves so that they can be filled” (my paraphrase). The point is this, if there is so much filling your life that you can’t receive more, how can you receive from the Holy Spirit the good that He wants to impart if there is no more room for His wisdom and guidance? How about removing some of the distractions and objects that cause that compression to build up from our business over time, conveniences are not necessarily a good thing. For example I remember a time not to long ago when all you had was a phone at home, try leaving your cell phone there from time to time and trust God for the rest. In the society we live today, faith seems to be replaced with electronic security and convenience, and patience takes a hit when we train ourselves to react in frustration after not receiving an instant reply when a message has been left/sent. We can train ourselves how to not be up to date on the latest news or responses, just as much as we have trained ourselves to rely on it. Many may argue with me, but I believe allot of technology while beneficial is not good; it has been used by Satan’s kingdom to distract and detour us from hearing and responding to God in obedience. Try putting it away from you for a month and if it proves to open up receptivity to hearing our Heavenly Fathers voice, do away with what is not bare bones necessary (not what is wanted). Take time in your prayer time to ask the Lord what areas within your life can be put aside or let go of, to decrease some of the illegitimate pressures that keep us from hearing the Holy Spirit’s still and quiet voice.
His purposes and plans are for our good. If it is convenient that doesn’t necessarily equate good things, some of the most inconvenient things in life help to mature us and conform us into Jesus Christ’s image. And isn’t that what Scripture teaches? May you embrace the adventure of conformation and transformation into Christlikeness. Till we are one with Him, be blessed in the fullness of Jesus Christ.
Thank you for the blessing and these are such tremendous and timely insights from you! I agree with you fully and am so encouraged by your boldness against current day trends and your focus & devotion on the Lord. Keep up the great work and your focus of making our walk with our Lord being #1 in our lives. HE will not disappoint. In Christ, Kent