I read a blog by Francis Chan recently called “The Greatest Thing You Could Do Today” and it really challenged me. He asked the question, “When was the last time you enjoyed meaningful time alone with God? Time so good that you didn’t want to leave.” and I struggled to come up with an answer. Not because I never spend time with God, but because the time I spend with him is never really all that meaningful.
Too often I read my Bible and pray out of a place of obligation rather than a place of worship.While reading my Bible I spend so much time looking for things that might be relevant to me and my current situation that I don’t take time to focus on the incredible truths about God. While praying I get easily distracted by the things around me, or even my own thoughts. The majority of the time that I spend praying, I spend treating God as a “Divine Butler and Cosmic Therapist” (got that from Dug Down Deep by Joshua Harris), asking him to help me, guide me, serve me, and comfort me. These are not bad things to pray for, but they are incredibly ‘me focused’ instead of ‘God focused’ and when my prayer life revolves around me instead of God something is wrong.
As I said, prayers asking God for things are not bad prayers. Matthew 7:7 says “Ask and it will be given to you”. Matthew 21:22 says, “And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” John 14:13-14 says, “Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.” God wants us to ask him for things. He wants us to come to him when we need him, because he loves us and he cares about us. So don’t feel guilty about it. But don’t let your prayer life only consist of requests.
The God that we serve is a God who is obsessed with himself and with his own glory (with good reason; he is the only one in the universe that deserves his praise). He even made the heavens to declare his glory and the sky above to proclaim his handiwork (Psalm 19:1). God made the universe and everything in it to praise and bring glory and honour to his name. Surely if the God I serve is so God centred and God focused, I should be as well? My prayers and my time spent reading the Bible should be times spent praising God instead of just trying to help myself.
A few nights ago I was at a prayer meeting, preparing for a short trip that I will be going on soon, and the first thing we did was just worship God in our prayers. It was incredible, just sitting there and being in awe of God, not asking him for anything, but taking time to marvel at him, adore him, and simply be with him. The very fact that I get the chance to do this, to approach the throne of grace with confidence (Hebrews 4:16), to spend time with the God who spoke the universe into existence, should drive me to do nothing else. Yet I seem to avoid it most days, choosing rather to spend about 10-20 minutes skimming through the Bible while thinking about something totally unrelated (and, let’s be honest, not all that important).
Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t to say that I have never had a meaningful time with God. I have had some incredible times with God, but for the most part I seem to skip over what might just be the most important thing I could do when with him; enjoying him, and adoring him. And I don’t want to do that anymore. I want every bit of time that I spend with God to be meaningful because, as Francis Chan says, “Could anything be more important than meeting with the One who decides if you live through this day? Could anything be better? How can we not make time to be with the Maker of time?”
Nothing is more important. Nothing is better. Make the time.