Have you ever just spent a whole day with God? This doesn’t mean spending Sunday hopping from one church service to the next, but devoting an entire day to doing nothing other than tuning in to your relationship with the Lord.
God makes it clear in the Bible that he desires this type of close relationship with us. In Isaiah 1:18, he says, “Please come, and let’s reason together.” In James 4:8, we are told that if we come close to God, God comes close to us. Jesus gave us the example in his actions by going up in the hills by himself to pray until nightfall in Matthew chapter 14.
The list of verses goes on. In Psalms, David implores the people to pour out their hearts to God, while Jesus himself says in Matthew 7 that God will turn away those who he never knew.
Going Beyond Morning Devotions
For many Christians, it can be a struggle just to stick to regular daily devotions. Free time dedicated to their relationship with God is more often spent in fellowship with other Christians, at conferences and in church. Instead, have you ever set aside time to spend with just God? It doesn’t have to be difficult.
First, start by finding a time and place where you’ll be able to be alone for a day or most of the day. Bring along your Bible so that you’ll have the word of God with you to turn to. If you are more comfortable praying in written form, bring your journal. Finally, if worship is easier with music, consider bringing some music or an instrument with you.
There are two ways you can approach this day with the Lord: you can simply show up with your Bible in tow and trust God to lead your attention to where it needs to be. Or you can consider a loose agenda beforehand, to keep your mind on task. Consider devoting this day to a specific type of communication, such as giving thanks for your many blessings, or confessing recent sins. Praise and worship could be another great focus, or you could choose to spend your time praying on behalf of others.
The True Purpose of Connection
There are two main questions that every Christian should be concerned with when approaching the Lord, the same two that Paul asked of God in Acts 22. The first question is: “Who are you, Lord?”
God’s nature is the thing that we should all seek to understand as much as possible, through careful study of the Bible and listening to what God reveals to you about his heart during your prayers. This leads to worship and praise, because God’s nature is perfect and worthy of our admiration.
The second question is: “What shall I do, Lord?”
After we’ve taken the time to learn about God and praise him, the next thing we all want to know is what God has planned for us. This includes prayer such as confession and thanksgiving, two commands that God has for all of us. It also segues into praying for others, and listening for God’s will in regards to those situations.
(And here’s one practical tip: It’s hard for anyone to focus on the same thing for an entire day, so be sure to break up long periods of sitting in prayer with walking or other solitary activity that still allows you to focus.)
Have No End in Sight
When you set out for a day with the Lord, it’s important that you don’t feel like you need to have some world-shattering epiphany by the time the day is over. There are many seasons in life where you and the Lord simply need to spend time together in worship. You may not gain any new insight into questions you have, but instead you’ll experience the joy and peace of confession.
Getting off track when you are spending a day in prayer is to be expected. The easiest way to deal with this is to take a page out of meditation practice. First, don’t beat yourself up about the distraction. Our human brains were designed to notice things as a survival mechanism. Next, once you recognize that you have been distracted, notice the thought or circumstance that is distracting. Record it in your journal, or weave it into your prayer. God already knows you were thinking about it, there’s no use in pretending it didn’t happen. Then allow the distraction to pass and refocus yourself on your prayers.
Why a Day?
Setting aside time to be with the Lord doesn’t have to be a day. A full weekend alone with God, half a day alone with God, or even hiding yourself away for a month of intense prayer and study somewhere could all be the perfect timelines. The point is to spend a significantly longer period of time than you usually do exposing yourself to the Lord.
In Psalm 46, we are told to “Be still, and know that I am God.” In this world of constant digital distraction and anxiety, being still enough to hear the voice of God is next to impossible. Setting aside a few moments a day is a wonderful practice, but it doesn’t always afford us the chance to truly delve deeper into what we need to communicate with the Lord.
Think of it this way: Have you ever found yourself in a multi-hour-long conversation with your significant other, discussing everything from the silly fight you had yesterday to your goals and dreams for the future? Almost anyone in that situation comes away from the conversation feeling as though they’ve had a weight lifted. They feel refreshed, renewed in their relationship, and closer as a couple.
The same thing takes place when you spend an extended period of time connecting with the Lord. You’ll come away from your “daycation” feeling more secure in your faith, with fewer “secret” sins weighing on your soul, and a passionate conviction about where you need to go next as a Christian. So what are you waiting for?