Let me ask you a question. How many times in the past month have you had to refocus your mind during prayer? It can be much easier than it sounds.
I come before you now to thank You for this day. Oh wait did I turn in my assignment today? No re-focus. God you are so good and I am so blessed by–I wonder if that cute boy in my class noticed my skirt today? So Sorry God. And help me to follow your plan but also to pass my finals. Crap are people going to dinner already?
Sound familiar? The truth is, in our media centered and hectic world it can be really hard to hold any of our attentions for any too long. I wonder how God feels when this happens, probably pretty frustrated. How often do we find ourselves rushing through our devotion times to get to something we deem more important? How often do we find our prayer times lacking because we are distracted by the stress of tests or just the noise of a college dorm room? How many times will we plead for God to answer our question about what to major in, who to marry, and who to room with next year and never hear an answer? Is it because God doesn’t care to answer us? I feel, rather, that it us not taking the time to invest and listen.
I came across a verse this week that accurately depicts what our life of devotion time should look like,
“How lovely is Your dwelling place, O Lord Almighty. My soul yearns, and even faints, for the courts of the Lord. Better is one day in Your courts than a thousand elsewhere.”- Psalm 84 verses 1-2; 10.
These verses really struck me because I realize that is not at all how I feel most of the time I am before the Lord. If I’m being honest, He is not always the most important part of my day. I can easily do my devotion time as something to cross of my Christian list before I feel like I can watch my latest show obsession on Netflix, go running, or screw around on Facebook. These activities aren’t inherently bad things, but rushing through a devotion time to get to anything suddenly makes them an idol.
I was stunned this summer when I was listening to a sermon by Francis Chan who was talking about being satisfaction in heaven.
Would we be satisfied in heaven if God wasn’t there?
This questions crushed me because sadly I wasn’t sure what my answer would be. Do I love God enough that I could live in paradise without him? Am I truly so prideful that I feel fine going throughout the day ignoring the God of the universe?
So how can we overcome this? How can we love to dwell in the House of the Lord so much that we get annoyed when we have to surface to go to class? How can we be so poured out for God each and every day that we go to bed feeling like we have nothing left to give?
Well, I have not discovered the answer quite yet, but I do have some tips that helped me to prioritize God.
- Have a time of devotion each and every day. I know that every Christian alive drills that into us, but it’s so vital to having a relationship with God. This can be anything from reading the word, prayer, singing, walking in nature, and writing. Find what works for you and do it every day. Don’t get stuck thinking that if you aren’t doing what everyone else is doing during their devotion time that you’re wrong. Whatever you need to feel closest to God and glorify Him is just as successful as the person from your church that talks about their hour long prayer sessions. Setting aside time for God helps to start to make Him a priority in your life even if it’s not the first one.
- Have a time of meditation. How many times do you ask your friends questions and then not listen for an answer? Never, right? Because that would be stupid. But yet we do the same thing with God. We ask him questions and then get angry because we never receive an answer. Maybe it’s because we aren’t giving Him time to speak. So even if it’s only 10 minutes every day, take some time to be still before the Lord.
- Truly surrender everything to God. That sounds easy enough, but it’s a bold prayer to pray. Giving God permission to give and take everything from you means He will do just that. Remember we are not immune to trials, but we are immune to living without God.
- Don’t put a time on it. As a Christian I think it can be all too easy to make ourselves have these long winded, repetitive prayers so we can get a certain amount of time each day in. Devotions are not a study session or workout. Remember that God wants quality not quantity. Who cares if you only spend 10 minutes each day with God if I spend an hour and don’t really accomplish as much? Everyone’s relationship is unique, so don’t get lost comparing your relationship with God to someone else. He has an authentic relationship He wants to have with you that is different from anyone else. God doesn’t call us to have perfect relationships with Him, but He does call us to love one another and more importantly to love Him most of all. So now that you’ve read through the blog post I want to ask you a hard question. Would your heaven be complete without God?