January 12th Devotion

Having Time Alone - First15

Weekly Overview:
Why should we spend time alone with God? Why is meeting with God in the secret place so important? Until we gain an understanding of the immense value and availability of encountering God, we will never consistently engage in this foundational, vital practice. As we discover God’s heart to meet with us in order that we might experience the depths of his love, I pray that your life would be marked by a new grace to consistently and powerfully encounter the living God.

Scripture: “Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” - Luke 5:16

Why is time alone with God so important? Why can't just going to church, a community group, or a Bible study be enough? Those of us who have grown up in church or have been going to church for many years have been told that time spent alone with God is vital to our relationship with him. Many of us, however, were never given a reason why. And in order for us to consistently and effectively engage in this crucial practice, we must understand why it is so important.

Here's what we learn from Scripture about having time alone with God. Scripture makes it abundantly clear that Jesus spent time alone with his heavenly Father. Luke 5:16 states, “Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Mark 1:35 states, “And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.” Often in Scripture, Jesus withdrew from the crowd to pray. So the first reason to spend time alone with God is because Jesus did. If Jesus needed time alone with his heavenly Father, we can all be sure we need it even more. Jesus walked in God's presence constantly. Jesus constantly responded to God's will for his life. He is our perfect example. And even still, he needed time alone with God.

We also see from Jesus' example that time alone with God empowers us to carry out God’s purpose for our life. It was after withdrawing into the wilderness in Luke 4 that he began performing miracles. Jesus entered the Garden of Gethsemane filled with grief and sorrow, asking God for a way other than his own death to achieve salvation for his people. After spending time alone with God, he came out of the garden empowered to endure the worst atrocity in history. Spending time alone with God empowers us to live a life filled with a knowledge of God’s purposes and the ability to faithfully see them through.

Lastly, Jesus is clear in Matthew 6:5-6 how we are to pray. Scripture says, “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” God rewards time spent alone with him in prayer. It’s by praying in secret that we clearly and tangibly encounter God’s love for us. It’s by spending time engaging in conversation with the Spirit that we learn what his voice sounds like. It’s by asking God questions that we discover his will. And it’s by spending time alone with him that our lives become centered around his nearness and goodness.

All of the money in the world cannot buy the rewards God longs to give you. All the favor of men will not satisfy your insatiable desire to be fully known and fully loved. Receive right now the best gift you could be offered, one-on-one communion with your heavenly Father.

Guided Prayer:
1. Wherever you are, find a place to get alone and pray. Seek out a place that you can find solitude that will be uninterrupted.
“Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Luke 5:16
“And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.” Mark 1:35

2. Read and pray through this Scripture. May God give you a revelation of his provision and love for you as you pray Jesus's model prayer.
“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.” - Matthew 6:9-13

3. Engage in conversation with God. Ask him how he feels about you. Come before him with anything that is weighing you down and lay your burdens at his feet. Rest in the peace that comes from his presence.

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

God’s desire to spend time alone with you is not meant to add stress or pressure to your life but to relieve you from it. He is not a God who is after you religiously checking off a quiet time box, but a good Father who longs to fill your life with his grace, power, and love. Spend some time today mulling over these important questions from Brennan Manning written in his book, The Furious Longing of God. May your day be marked by the love of your kind, good Father.

“Is your own personal prayer life characterized by the simplicity, childlike candor, boundless trust, and easy familiarity of a little one crawling up in Daddy’s lap? An assured knowing that the daddy doesn’t care if the child falls asleep, starts playing with toys, or even starts chatting with little friends, because the daddy knows the child has essentially chosen to be with him for that moment? Is that the spirit of your interior prayer life?”
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