As a Christian, it seems obvious that you should spend time with God. But what does that actually mean? How do you do it? How often should you do it? How do you develop the habits and skills and practices in order to actually spend time with God? It is enough to be in-dwelt with the Holy Spirit? And honestly, what is the purpose of spending time with God?
Bryon and myself sat down and really analyzed this. I think we poured over it way more than we actually needed to. At the end of the day, we determined this is no different than any other relationship we have on this earth.
A good relationship requires time and attention. It requires effort on both parts. In this specific instance, God has already done the work. He has literally created a world in which we can thrive. He instituted a means by which we can be reconciled to Him, and He left us all knowledge of who He is wrapped up in a book we call the Bible. Actually, He further gave us means by which we can communicate directly to Him and even speaks on our behalf when we have no words to speak. So the question we really need to answer is how do we spend time with the God of the universe? How do we get to know Him?
Through prayer and studying the Word.
Simple enough. But, we all know that even when something is simple, it is not always easy.
We know that we should read the Word. We know that it is God-breathed, profitable, and good for us. (2 Timothy 3:16) But, that knowledge, however, does not always translate into habitual reading of the Scriptures. We know that we should pray, and have a vague understanding that prayer is talking to God. But, our prayers tend to end up as a ‘to do” and an “I would rather’ list for God.
The truth is that we will never, and I do mean never, outgrow, master, move past, or graduate from needing to read our Bibles or to pray. This is fundamental to our Christian walk and will never cease to be useful.
We find guidance, encouragement, comfort, correction, reproof, and love tucked neatly into the Word of God. We must create a pattern of life, a habit that consistently reminds us of what the Word says. Whether this be an app that reminds to read daily, or the Bible next to our bed for easy accessibility. Maybe it is a post-it note on the wall with a few scriptures on it. Either way, you must find a way (a few ways actually) that allows you the ability to be in the Word of God daily (Joshua 1:8 “meditate on it day and night).
Prayer is a beautiful comfort that we cannot even hope to grasp the full meaning, implementation, means, and mystery of this side of Heaven. But what we do know is that it is more than just a simple conversation with God. It is perseverance, and consistency. It is a purposeful effort put forth to communicate with and to respond to the author of all things. Our laundry list of items we tend to discuss in our prayers is only a very small portion of what prayer is. It is the life blood of the Christian walk. The breath that fills our lungs. The very thing that keeps us moving.
Within the context of Student Ministry, we strive to give each student a complete understanding of the need to spend time with God, and the means with which to do so. We set aside specific time to study it over the course of each year and offer pointed time each week to read, discuss, and understand scripture, as well as provide an opportunity for prayer requests and praises. The goal is for middle schoolers to come to a right knowledge of these things, moving towards a right application of these things over their high school career.