What do you actually DO during your time alone with God?
I was recently asked this question, and I wanted to provide my answer here, that it may serve as one possible template for those looking to establish some rhythm in their daily time alone with the Lord. There are as many different routines for one’s devotional life as there are followers of Jesus! May this one little sample spurn you on to develop your own…
First, I start with prayer, based on Psalm 119:18, “Open my eyes that I may see the wonderful things in Your law.” I ask God to speak to me during this time of prayer and Bible study. My confident faith and hope is that the same Spirit that inspired the words of the Bible (2 Timothy 3:16-17) is alive and at work in me (Romans 8:11; 1 Corinthians 3:16). And that He is ready and wanting to reveal the truth of God’s Word to me as I open it before me, and open myself before it (Hebrews 4:12).
Then I like to just get off my chest anything that may be present, urgent, or pressing in my thoughts or feelings. There’s no sense in trying to suppress something that is going to distract me in Bible meditation – and I believe He wants to hear it – so, I just let it out, usually pretty raw and unfiltered. Whatever I’m thinking, whatever I’m feeling, I just make those thoughts and feelings into prayers and give them to God, based on Philippians 4:6, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God.”
Next, I usually start with reading the Bible. I don’t really use devotional books or guides. Instead, I just try to slowly & deliberately & thoughtfully read God’s Word, always trying to be mindful and sensitive to what His Spirit may be speaking to me through the living and active Word. Depending on the text, and on how in-depth the time of meditation upon it goes, this may cover several chapters, or just a few verses. I typically feel drawn to particular books or sections of Scripture. A single Book may take one day to read, several days, or even weeks to get through – again, all depending on how in-depth the time of Bible meditation is going each day.
After a time of Bible study and listening, I ask God to direct my thoughts towards the issues, situations, and people He would like me to pray for, based on Romans 8:26, “We do not know what we should pray for, so the Spirit helps us in our weakness”. My hope and eager expectation is that my prayers during these moments would be led by the Spirit of God within my soul. I willingly let my thoughts “drift”, and I trust that whatever happens to come to mind is what I am supposed to pray for in that moment. Even if that is not what is happening (let’s say it’s just coincidence), then I figure, I am still praying for the people and things that are most present on my mind anyway!
Lastly, I usually (but not always) end my time alone with God by reviewing some of my Scripture memory verses, to try to keep them fresh in my mind, and to try to keep God’s Word written on my heart, based on Psalm 119:11.
So, in summary, here is one simple template for spending time alone with God:
- Ask God to speak with you; open yourself up to hear from Him.
- Share your most present, urgent, and distracting thoughts & feelings with God.
- Open the Bible and begin reading. Think & pray about what you are reading, always asking, “God, what are You saying to me through this?”
- Write down any thoughts or insights you sense may be from Him.
- Ask God to direct your thoughts towards the people & situations that He would like you to pray for; then pray for whoever or whatever seems to “drift” into your mind.
- Memorize 1 new Bible verse, or review 8-10 old memory verses.
For more tools & suggestions for PRAYER, click here.
For more tools & suggestions for Bible reading & meditation, click here.
I love hearing how people spend time alone with God! It is one of my most favorite questions to ask people! So here, I’ll ask you, too: what is your typical personal daily devotional routine like? Leave a brief summary in the Comments below to encourage others with more ideas for their time alone with God!