(Photo by Sarah Komisky)
Time Well Spent
By Jacqueline Napol
“A prayerless Christian is like a crippled man … with no use of his arms or legs,” said an unnamed Spanish believer about five hundred years ago. Though it might be a challenge to seek God diligently, it’s more than worth it to jump out of that wheelchair and never look back. Being a spiritual cripple is no fun. It holds us back from knowing God, and does not allow us to benefit the people around us who are dying to see if this Christianity thing is for real. Spiritual power and spiritual fruit come only with time spent in God’s presence.
There are many compelling reasons to seek the Lord earnestly and often. Here are just a few:
First, His sheep hear his voice (Jn. 10:27). Sheep only pay attention to the voice of their shepherd. They totally ignore everyone else. How did you come to know your best friend so well? Probably by hanging out (a lot) and having plenty of heartfelt conversations. But how can we hear His voice? We know we cannot please God without faith (Heb. 11:6). So first, come in trust that Jesus loves you and died for you. Then, to grow in faith, there’s a formula. “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of Christ” (Rom. 10:17, NKJV). So come to Him with whatever little bit of trust you’ve got, ask Him to speak to you, and then just crack open that Bible.
You can have a system, or you can be a little random. What counts is doing it every day. David gushed that God’s words are sweeter than honey, more valuable than extreme wealth, and that they made him wiser than all his teachers (Ps. 19:10, 111:10). So if you are eating treats, spending money, and learning cool things, that’s great! But compared to the sweet, brilliant riches of His Word, everything else is almost a waste of time.
“Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know” (Jeremiah 33:3, NKJV). Then live by what you hear. This alone will literally change your life!
Second, He will be found by us when we seek Him with our whole heart. Author John Bunyan spent 12 years in prison because he refused to stop preaching the gospel. He wrote “in prayer, it is better to have a heart without words than words without a heart.” Prayer is where we truly, secretly encounter the living God. Don’t worry about what you say, just be real: cry, whimper, plead, sigh, weep. King David’s complaints were “night and day” to God. God wants you to unburden your precious heart to Him.
Jesus really loves you. He’s your hiding place, your best friend, your loving Papa. He knows all of it anyway. He just needs it on the table so the two of you have a starting place. On earth, Jesus prayed “with loud cries and tears, to Him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence.” (Heb. 5:7, ESV). So come as you are, and equally important — be reverent and remember He is holy. God will show up at the right time. He promised. “You will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13, NKJV).
Third, He wants to give you the desires of your heart (Psalm 37). As we delight in Him, we are changed day by day, until He can trust us with our dreams. One way to delight in Him is by giving thanks for everything you can think of. Another is praising Him for who He is, as you discover it in Scripture. This will dye the fabric of your very soul with gratitude and sweetness.
So, there’s no big agenda. Be honest, raw, and reverent. Come as you are, lean on His help, and as you draw near daily, expect to grow in your knowledge of Him. There will be dry days and there will be days when Heaven seems to open for you. Our part is to come. I promise, this is one practice you will never look back and wish you hadn’t started. It’s by far, always, the best spent time of the day.