|Has it been a while since you have had time alone with the Lord? Is the hectic pace of life militating against your relationship with Him? Do you need to schedule some “alone time” with God as soon as possible?|
Please don’t feel an ounce of condemnation as you consider this issue. I have to admit that I regularly answer “yes” to all the above questions. The pace of life is often so frenetic that it seems impossible to get a breather. During those rare moments of down time, other pressing options usually push aside the prospect of spending extra moments with the Lord.
I’m not bringing up this topic to make you uncomfortable. Instead, let’s take this letter as an opportunity to dig a little deeper in a commonly neglected area of our spiritual lives.
The Best Option
Recently, my wife, Cindi, and I were having lunch with Christian friends who are partners in ministry. At the time of our get-together, I had begun some study on the theme of being silent in the Lord’s presence—and my thoughts were starting to gel.
At one point in our conversation, the Lord confirmed to me that writing an article on this theme might be on target. It was when our friend, Karen, referred to a decision she needed to make: “I could talk with a number of my friends about what to do. But really, I just need to get alone with God to find out His answer.”
I don’t remember much else of what was said in the next few minutes. I was too busy scribbling a note to myself for the title of this letter: “Getting Alone with God.”
What are the benefits of having private time with the Lord? What outcomes can we expect when we intentionally seclude ourselves with the Lord? There are as many possible results as there are reasons to draw apart. We see this point in one particular chapter from the life of Jesus which sheds additional light on this need in our lives.
The Need for Time Alone
In Matthew 14, we read how Jesus responded to the disturbing news that his cousin, John the Baptist, had been beheaded by wicked King Herod. “When Jesus heard it, He departed from there by boat to a deserted place by Himself” (v. 13).
Why did Jesus insist upon getting away? Perhaps He needed interaction with the Father to process this news, to grieve in solitude over the loss of His cousin, or simply to strengthen Himself in prayer. Without question, John’s martyrdom was a solemn reminder of what lay ahead in His own life and ministry. We don’t know all the reasons for the seclusion, but Jesus’ first instinct on this occasion was to be by Himself with the Father.
Was Jesus able to get all the “alone time” He needed? Unfortunately not.
Similar to what we often experience, the demands of everyday life pressed in on the Savior. The crowd of people seeking His ministry inserted themselves into His private time—and true to His compassionate heart, Jesus did not ignore them. Instead, He responded to their need, feeding the multitude who had tracked Him down.
A High Priority
It is significant to note what Jesus did immediately after that “interruption.” What was His next step after ministering to the hungry crowd? He made sure that He got right back into isolation with the Father.
“Immediately Jesus made [invited, strongly urged] His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent the multitudes away. And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray” (vv. 22, 23).
By this time, the Messiah must have been exhausted. Yet time alone with the Father was such a high priority to Him that He went right back to it. We see this as a recurring pattern in the life of Jesus. Even after a full day of demanding ministry, our Savior would find a secluded place to be together with the Father—sometimes for the entire night.
Is there a secret here that we need to see for ourselves? A missing element of great value for our own spiritual growth and well-being? What if we were to set this same priority—carving out time alone with the Lord, no matter how hectic our schedules might be? We might be amazed by what the Lord says to us when we do.
Early in our marriage, Cindi and I experienced a surprising, somewhat undeserved outcome from drawing near to the Lord. At that time in our lives, I was not the most sensitive or spiritually mature husband, and Cindi herself was going through a rather dry season. As we talked about our struggles, she said, “I just feel really distant from the Lord right now, like I can’t even approach Him. Would you pray for me?”
Somewhat reluctant to pray, and not being in the strongest condition myself, I began a rather halting, but honest prayer for my wife: “Lord, we’re not in the greatest shape here, and Cindi is feeling far from You. So, we don’t know what else to do right now except to simply come to You.” A few moments of silence ensued, and then Cindi began to weep.
“The Lord just spoke to me,” she said, still weeping. "He said, ‘I missed you.’”
Who knows what answers will come when we draw away to be with the Lord? What unexpected encouragement might the Lord supply? Maybe—as in the answer to Cindi—we will realize the Lord is even more eager to be with us than we are to be with Him.
A Direct Message
Derek Prince deals with the priority of getting alone with God in a teaching entitled “Taking Time to Wait on God.” It is a unique message—containing a wide variety of helpful topics laced with very direct language that occasionally borders on stern admonition.
You will pick up a little of the flavor of Derek’s tone in the excerpt below. (Later in this letter, we will let you know how you can have this entire helpful message for your own.)
Clearly, one principle reigns supreme in all Derek shares here: the primacy of making our relationship with Jesus Christ the foundation of our entire lives.
Let no one ever interfere with your personal connection with the Head [Jesus Christ].
Pastors are wonderful people, but they cannot take the place of Jesus. The function of a pastor is not to be your head—it is to help you cultivate your relationship with the One who is your Head. It is not to tell you the answers to all your problems—it is to show you how to find the answers for yourself from Jesus.
Some people are lazy; they just want some human being to solve all their problems. It doesn’t work that way. And some leaders are despotic; they want to take control of people. I have been through all that and, thank God, I’ve come out of it. I have no desire to be in it again.
You have to have your own personal relationship with Jesus. You have to be able to hear Him speak to you. You have to be able to be directed by Him. You have to have something inside you that tells you when He’s pleased and when He’s not pleased. You have to be sensitive to the Head.
A Key to Our Relationship
Are you sensing a growing conviction that you need to spend more time with the Lord? My goal in asking is not to make you feel bad. As Derek himself said in another part of the message quoted above: “And so, my desire is to help you. Not to accuse you; not to condemn you—but to help you.”
Through what has been shared so far, you may feel the need to prioritize getting alone with God. If you sincerely desire to commit yourself to that pursuit, let’s tell the Lord together by making the following declaration. Are you ready?
Lord, You are in charge of my entire life. My life’s purpose will become clearer only as I get in Your presence and receive strength and stamina to carry me forward.
Dear Heavenly Father, You and I need to spend more quality time together. Please forgive me for neglecting that aspect of spiritual discipline in my relationship with You.
With this declaration and prayer, I place getting alone with You at the top of my priority list. With Your help, I will carve out specific times to spend with You—both to listen in silence and to pour out my heart to You.
Please help me follow the example Jesus set for all of us in His relationship with You, Father—finding time to be alone with You to confirm Your will and direction for every aspect of my life. I want to—and by Your grace, I will.
Starting today, I make this solemn commitment to You. Amen.
Every Step We Take
The step we have just taken is going to require a dose of added discipline in our lives. The good news, as you and I know so well, is that every step taken to deepen our relationship with the Lord results in unexpected rewards—both earthly and eternal. Who knows what will emerge from the declaration and prayer you and I have made today?
Such a significant commitment has to be reinforced—and we want to help in that regard. The teachings of Derek Prince can provide substantive encouragement as you set your face to move forward. It is our privilege to make these materials available to you—so please take us up on our offer to help.
Let’s start with a free audio offer for “Taking Time to Wait on God.” As I said, this message may surprise you with its variety and candor. Often, Derek refused to pull any punches in what he shared—but he always spoke out of love and concern. Please click here to download this message, and soak in it to reinforce the pivotal step you have taken today.
Stronger Relational Ties
You and I are called together for such times as these—and to fulfill His purposes for us, we will need to prioritize time alone with the Lord. We hope you will continue to rely heavily upon the resources we can provide, sharing your testimonies of the progress you are making. Your continuing involvement with us—especially through your prayers and financial support—represent a strong bond of relationship between us in the family of God. It is an honor to stay in touch with you in these significant days.
Our prayer is that you will grow increasingly stronger in your relationship with the Lord, serving Him faithfully in the days ahead. As you well know, stability in the Christian life doesn’t come without a price. But from the example set by Jesus, our Savior, we have discovered one of the main components we need for growth and progress.
Are you ready to put this principle in place? Jesus modeled it so clearly for us—one of the pivotal factors in a flowing relationship with the Father—getting alone with God.
All the best,