Psalm 13:5-6: I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the Lord’s praise, for he has been good to me.
Matthew 22:35-40: One of them, a legal expert, tested him. “Teacher, what is the greatest commandment in the Law?” He replied, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: You must love your neighbor as you love yourself. All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.”
1 John 3:14: We know that we have passed from death to life because we love one another.
Galatians 6:9-10: Let’s not get tired of doing good, because in time we’ll have a harvest if we don’t give up. So then, let’s work for the good of all whenever we have an opportunity.
In theory, I love the idea of spending quiet time with God; in practice, it’s difficult for me. I’m not talking about prayer – where I am essentially talking to God – but just spending time with God. Several years ago at the beginning of a young adult worship service, we learned that the majority of the service would be spent in quiet time with God. At first, I was a little disappointed because I struggled with staying focused, but that service was one of the best (most helpful) I’ve attended.
The exercise we were asked to complete was to close our eyes and picture ourselves in our “happy place,” a place that would give us comfort or a place where we could easily relax. I love covered porches with porch swings, and at the time I had been often reminiscing about a trip I had taken to the Grand Canyon. So I pictured myself on a porch swing ten yards or so from the edge of the Grand Canyon. In my mind, it was just before sunset, and the western sky was painted every shade of purple, red, and orange, and there was a warm breeze. Our next step was to imagine Jesus sitting right next to us. Visually, we were supposed to focus on the scenery while recognizing Jesus’ presence next to us. For the next twenty-five minutes, we spent time with Jesus. It was okay for our minds to wander, but as soon as we realized our minds were wandering, we were instructed to refocus on the scenery in front of us and the presence of Christ next to us.
If you, like me, struggle to stay focused while trying to spend quiet time with the Lord, I challenge you to try this exercise. You might even start small. Set a goal of five minutes and add a few minutes each time you practice. If you love the mountains, imagine Jesus next to you on a ski lift. If you love the beach, imagine Jesus on the beach chair next to yours (does Jesus wear the traditional white robe on the beach?). If the city is your scene, maybe Jesus is sipping a coffee at the table with you in your favorite coffee shop. It doesn’t matter where you spend time with him in your mind as long as you spend the time with him.
We long to spend time with you, but we’re not always sure how. Sometimes our lives get so hectic and loud, we forget to even try to find space for that quiet time. Draw us close to you. Remind us to come to you, and give us the desire to do so.
In Jesus’ Name,
– Angela LaVallie Tinsley, Prayer and Funeral Ministry