After reading Ordering Your Private World by Gordan MacDonald (highly recommend), I picked up Praying with Paul by D.A. Carson (also recommend). Both of these books have reshaped my time with Jesus. It has felt alive, refreshing and rejuvenating in a time of life where all those adjectives are deeply needed.
There are a thousand ways to have a powerful time with Jesus. Often, habits that once drove us to Jesus can become things that we do “out of habit.” Here the routine becomes mundane. Let me offer three suggestions, putting greater emphasis on the third (the portion that really impacted me this week).
First, create a daily habit.
For me it is a morning walk with my dog that involves worship, reading and praying. I often use the acronym ACTS as I pray. I do this every single Monday through Thursday. The timing is different on Friday and Saturday. This habit is so ingrained in me, I can say it's a part of who I am. I give time to what is of greatest importance to me. I make a habit of what is of great importance to me. At times I do it simply to do it. However, more often than not, it feeds my soul. I believe my soul is fed more often with this habit than without.
Secondly, change the habit.
When this becomes mundane, I need to change some things up. When seasons of my life have different ebbs and flows, I need to change things up. I’ve changed up my time with Jesus many times over the years. What do you do when you need to do this? Pray. Think. Act. Pray for God to search you, because there might be something you need to deal with that is hindering a powerful time with God. Think about your time, what is working and what isn’t working? What needs to change? What needs to stay? For me it’s always a walk in the morning with my dog. Sometimes I’m reading through the Bible in a year, sometimes I’m doing a different reading plan. Sometimes there is worship. Sometimes I’m alone, and occasionally a family member is with me. Sometimes I use words, and sometimes I just cry. What does this look like for you? What should it look like?
Third, meditate on truth.
This is where I want to dig down. The first two elements are fairly self explanatory. Honestly, this one is as well. What I am about to say is too simple. It’s simple enough to be neglected. I’ve been challenged recently by friends in leadership to slow down to better connect with God. I’ve tried putting that into practice this week.
Let me start with a question: what characteristic of God do you most adore, admire or love? Instantly a few things come to your mind. Things like forgiveness, love, mercy, blessings, power, strength, etc. I’m with you.
This week, in a time of prayer two characteristics of God came to mind: strength and healing.
I believe Psalm 65:6 is what rocked me with the thought of God’s strength, “The one who by His strength established the mountains, being girded with might.” I mean, it’s true and obvious. In prayer though I didn’t want to rush this thought. The tip of the iceberg above the surface is, “Ya for God to be mighty and powerful, He’s strong.” But people can be strong beyond physical strength, right? My God is strong because His will is strong, His Spirit is strong, His plan is strong, His vengeance on my behalf is strong, etc. As I thought beneath the surface, my God is so much stronger than “physically strong.” It made me want to be strong like my God, strong beneath the surface.
Then maybe it was Tuesday, God as healer came to mind in prayer. I am struggling through a painful season of life. I need healing. As I prayed about God’s healing, I began thinking beneath the surface. Above the surface is obvious, God heals like The Great Physician, like a doctor. But doesn’t His healing go beyond that? Jeremiah 17:14 says “Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for you are my praise.” Nothing about this insinuates just a physical healing. Other portions of Scripture bring to mind God’s ability to heal a broken spirit or heart. His ability to heal mental and emotional pain. His ability to heal goes so much deeper than the physical. I find myself in need of God’s healing, strength and protection.
What about you? Do you have that daily time set up with Jesus? Do you have habits in place that can become mundane? Afterall, to have mundane habits, you have to have habits in the first place! If you have mundane, routine habits that are not feeding your soul, why? What needs to change? What needs to be owned or learned?
Lastly, where are you in a rush? Where are you rushing your thinking? Where do you need to slow down and give the “basic” greater thought? Where do you need to take 5-10 minutes to dig beneath the surface on an attribute of God? Relationships take time, our relationship with Jesus is no different.
Keep Praying for One,
Pastor Jason Coache,
Lead Pastor at Wellspring Church