SPENDING TIME IN GOD S PRESENCE

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1 SPENDING TIME IN GOD S PRESENCE Helps for a Meaningful Time with God Preparing ahead... 4 During your time... 5 Devotional Guides Lectio Divina... 6 Meditation... 8 How to Have a Quiet Time You Won t Want to Miss! 12

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3 And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, He departed and went out to a desolate place, and there He prayed. -MARK 1:35

4 HELPS FOR A MEANINGFUL TIME WITH GOD PREPARING AHEAD Set a time: As best you can, choose the best time for focusing and giving God your full attention. You will most likely need a good 30 minutes, and if at all possible, make it the same time each day. Pick a Place: Decide ahead of time where you might do this. Be creative if necessary, but try to pick a place that is relaxing and comfortable. Establish your plan: It is really helpful to know ahead of time what you will be doing, so that you don t have to wrestle with this when you get there. Prayerfully choose what portion of Scripture you will use for lectio divina. Read through the guide and familiarize yourself with it. Practical Preparation: Get all the things you will need for this time together in one place. This includes your Bible, a journal, pen, music, note cards for writing memory verses, coffee/tea, etc. in place and ready to go. Heart Preparation: As you think of this time, remember that you are simply responding to God s invitation. This is not about earning His approval or measuring up to some standard, but growing in intimacy with the One who made you for this very thing. Remind yourself of this truth in the days and/or hours leading up to your time with Him. 4

5 DURING YOUR TIME Prepare your heart and mind: Take some deep breaths and quietly focus on the reality that God is here to meet you. Offer your heart to the Lord, with words of gratitude and love. Affirm that God is delighted to be with you, and wants to speak personally to your heart. Remember that this time is not about learning something, but about being yourself in God s presence, fully mindful of each moment as you allow your relationship with Him to grow. Devotional helps/guide: In addition to the suggestions in the following section, you may wish to begin your time reading from a brief devotional guide such as Jesus Calling to help you get focused. Enjoy this time with the Lord! 5

6 There is an ancient practice of prayer called lectio divina, which has endured for hundreds of centuries because of its simplicity and power to impact lives. This will be the primary UIO vehicle for learning to spend time in God s presence. The practice contains four parts, which we will refer to as: Read, Think, Pray, Rest. Choose a passage of Scripture ahead of time that isn t too long (5 to 10 verses). You may plan to work through an entire chapter or even a book, but each session will cover only a small portion. Sit comfortably with your Bible and journal in your lap. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths to settle your body and mind. Thank God that He is here with you by His Spirit. 6

7 READ: Read the entire passage very slowly, simply savoring the words in quietness. When you are finished, read it again, this time listening for some words or a phrase to stand out, almost as if God is holding them out, saying, This is for you today. If this doesn t happen the first time through, read it again, slowly, prayerfully, waiting in the silence for God s Word to speak. If nothing seems to come, simply choose a phrase or verse to focus on. Jot the words down in your journal. THINK: Now take the words, phrase or verse from step one, and turn this over in your mind, pondering what it might mean. Consider questions such as these: Why does this stand out to me? What is interesting or unique about these words? Where do these words intersect with some part of my life right now? What emotions or memories or images are these words bringing up for me? Jot down any notes in your journal. PRAY: While you want to have a prayerful heart throughout this time, in step three you engage in a dialogue with God. First, share with Him whatever is on your heart concerning these words. Offer to him what you are experiencing through words or pictures or feelings. You might want to ask Him questions such as these or others that come to you personally: Lord, what do you want to say to me through these words? 7

8 Lord, do you have a picture to give me about these words? Lord, how do you want to change me through these words? Lord, what actions do you want me to take in light of these words? The key here is to interact authentically with the Lord, waiting in quietness and faith for Him to speak. Write down anything you sense that you have heard from the Lord, along with your own response. REST: In step four, you rest in God s presence, offering Him love and gratitude for being here with you and receiving His love in return. You don t need to say much, perhaps just, I love you Lord, or Thank You Father, or I receive your love, Lord. Don t rush this time, but enjoy the reality that you can simply be yourself with your Creator, the One who knows everything about you, and loves you with an everlasting love. 8

9 By Tricia Rhodes Meditation is an entirely Biblical concept and can be deeply meaningful as it takes God s Word from our head to our heart and into the fabric of our will. While there are many ways to meditate, here is a very simple three-step process MIND HEART WILL taken from the book, The Soul at Rest: A Journey into Contemplative Prayer (Baker Books). MIND Open your Bible to the passage you plan to meditate upon. Offer yourself to the Lord, asking Him to be your personal teacher today. Read through the passage or verse a couple of times. Then do the following: Consider the broad scope of the passage what does it mean within its context? What truths are seen here? What are some of the related verses (Use your crossreference to look these up). Turn the truths you are learning over and over in your mind until 9

10 something specific seems to grab your attention. Try to tune into this mentally, much like tuning a radio dial until the sound is clear. HEART To look more intently at the truth you have discovered, ask: Lord, what are you saying to me? Wait upon Him. When you feel He has spoken, take some time to ponder what He has said. Let the reality of God s Word saturate your heart as you simply ENJOY the wonder of what you are seeing. Give thanks or worship the Lord for who He is in light of this. Let these things warm your heart. Spend most of your time here it is never enough to know truth we want it to captivate us, which is a work of the Holy Spirit and takes time. Meditation culminates in a decision, a commitment or a confession. WILL Consider: How will your life change in light of what you have seen? What will be different about today? What would hinder you from living this out? Offer yourself to the Lord and ask Him to deepen your grasp of what He has shown you. Make a plan to re-visit these things as you go throughout the day. (You might jot them down on a sticky note and put it on your steering wheel or bathroom mirror or plan to share them with someone else. Be sure to write them out in your notebook/journal. ) 10

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12 HOW TO HAVE A QUIET TIME YOU WON T WANT TO MISS! By Lin Smith All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that a man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. -2 Timothy 3:16,17 Teaching: What I need to know about God, myself, and others. Rebuking: What I need to stop believing (lies) or doing (sins). Correcting: What I need to change in my thoughts, attitudes, words, or actions. Training in righteousness: What I need to do in obedience to God s Word or His prompting. Expect all Scripture to show me something that I need to know, stop, change, or do. 1. Select a book in the Bible. Begin with (a) one of the gospels such as John; or (b) one of the shorter letters such as Ephesians or James; or (c) the book of Proverbs or a Psalm. 2. Read until God impresses you with my verse. You may need to read only a few verses. 12

13 3. Write in journal (any notebook): a. My verse. b. Why God impressed you with my verse. c. Ask God what He wants you to know, stop, change, or do according to this verse. 4. Praise God for what my verse: a. Reveals about God and His character. b. Says or promises about yourself. c. Says or promises about others; spouse, children, parents, friends, co-workers, etc. d. These can be written in your journal when there is time. 5. Write my verse on a 3x5 card to take with you. Write it poetry-style rather than sentence form, using short phrases that will catch your eye. Underline key words or phrases God lays on your heart. 6. Meditate on my verse throughout the day. Praise God often for the truths in my verse, using the praise areas in #4. 7. Review my verse just before bedtime. God can use your sleeping hours to renew your mind. (Romans 12:2) 13

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