Letter 41: Spending Time with God

My Son,

 

In God we live, move, and have our being (Acts 17:28). Thus, God is always near and ready for us to draw near to him by deliberately spending focused time with him. Christ is our life and though we are to abide in him every second of every day there are special moments of individual quietness before the Lord that can help fan the flames of our faith and aid us in our abiding. Quite often, the Gospels recount Jesus withdrawing from the crowds and disciples to spend time alone with the Father. He expects his disciples to do the same when teaching them to pray in the Sermon on the Mount: “But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (Matthew 6:6). From the secret place we draw strength and nourishment in our intimacy with God to then share his love with the world.

Now, my son, I’d like to give you some practical guidelines and tools that I have found to be helpful in my own time with God. Different seasons of my life have caused my time with God to change. When I was in college I would simply read Scripture during breakfast, lunch, dinner, and nighttime: Old Testament (2 chapters) for breakfast, a New Testament epistle for lunch (1 chapter), a Gospel for dinner (1 chapter), and a Psalm and Proverb before bed. While reading Scripture has always been a core part of my own time with God, I needed to become more deliberate in prayer, so after college and while I was transitioning to becoming Catholic, I picked up a fabulous resource called the Liturgy of the Hours (or Divine Office). There are prayer times for morning, mid-morning, noontime, mid-afternoon, evening, and nighttime, plus readings for the Daily Office. These prayer books really helped launch me into a more disciplined prayer routine.

Another part of my time with God that was missing in college was a more focused time with him, so after college I began to spend an hour with him before eating breakfast. During that time I would listen to worship music, pray, and read Scripture. At other times, I would memorize passages of Scripture. The reason why I enjoy designating the first hour of my day to spend time with God is that it sets the tone for abiding with him the rest of the day. Just recently, I began to notice that my time with God is filled with a lot of talking both in prayer and speaking out Scripture, but not as much quietness. Something the Lord has been putting on my heart lately is the need to simply be quiet before him in contemplation, meditation, and sheer silence.

My suggestion to you, my son, is to have a specific consistent time with God at the very first part of your day. You can then fill that time with a variation of what I’ve talked about and perhaps other things I have not. You can read, memorize and meditate on Scripture, pray, listen to worship music, listen for his voice in the stillness, etc. The goal is to connect with God. May this time with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, serve to catapult you into the very life of the Triune God.

 

Love,

Dad

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