We are continuing our series “Here is some advice…” It is based off the advice we are given as we travel from church to church sharing our hearts on deputation. Advice from men of God who have experienced the highs and lows of ministry and life is invaluable to a young family like ours. This week’s post is advice I have been given for years. I remember the first time I heard this, I was a few months from going away to Bible College. I heard while in college a handful of times. I have been encouraged by it while in ministry as well.
Here is some advice, do not neglect your private time with God.
The last time I was given this advice I was sitting across from the Pastor in his office. He told me, “As you know the ministry is busy, and you are already in the Bible a lot studying and preparing messages for each service of the week. It is real easy to spend so much time in preparation that you spend little to no time in just reading the Bible and praying just to know God.” Personal or private time with God is essential to a believers walk with Jesus. It cannot be substituted by study time for messages. This is specifically in the context of a preacher or teacher of the Bible. You already spend so much time studying the Bible in preparation of a class or church service. This seems strange because either way you are in the Bible but I think it comes down to motive. Spending time with God just to know God, love God, Praise God, and be open to God’s Word as we learn from it is different from studying a specific passage for a message. Both are very good and both are very beneficial. The private time with God is very special. The Pastor went on to tell me, “Do not neglect the time when you go before God privately and empty your heart in prayer before Him, telling Him things you dare not tell anyone else. Sharing your struggles, concerns, fears, and desires to accomplish His plan.” This time is different from the prayer time we have at the church during a service. Both are good, both are beneficial but the time we spend privately with God in prayer is very special.
What does the Bible say about this private time with God? (disclaimer: the verses used here have context that would be worth the time of the reader to study out. For the sake of time and keeping with the theme of this post, we will just mention the specific verses)
- David declared his personal time with God. “O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;” Psalm 63:1
- Jesus encouraged a personal, private time with God. “But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.” Matthew 6:6
- Jesus exemplified a personal, private time with the Father. “And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.” Mark 1:35
Our private time with God should be priority in our lives, not because we have to, but because we want to. We should desire this time with our God. Here is some advice, do not neglect your private time with God.