Time Alone With God:
The Lost Pearl of Great Price
We Are Creatures of Habit.
We get up every morning about the same time, we run through the same routines as though diligently memorized – Turn off the alarm, use to bathroom, turn on the coffee, take a shower, brush your teeth, shave, comb your hair, dress, sit down for a brief coffee and breakfast, and off to work.
Sound familiar? Perhaps your routine is somewhat different than mine, but it is a routine nonetheless. We all establish routines, or habits. It is the way we live. We generally swing a golf club the way we always have, we drive with the same idiosyncrasies we always did, we dress a certain way, comb our hair the same every day. We even have patterns for the way we brush our teeth!
We Are In a Rat Race.
In the western world we all fall into macro-habits, along with the rest of our nation. Generally, we let the world squeeze us into its mold. Conformity keeps us from standing out like sore thumbs. George Barna, of the Barna Research Foundation, has found that by in large American Christians are not much different than the culture around them. They spend money the same, they watch the same amount of television, and the same programs. They have about the same stated values, incur about as much debt, read the same newspapers and magazines, and go to church 2.5 times per month. It is as though we were automatons, mass-produced clones of a post-industrial age,.or cookie-cutter Christians stamped out in the same factory with little or no variety from the rest of the cheaply produced wares of an over-commercialized society.
Did You Ever Watch a Gerbil?
It is fascinating what a little rat can teach us! Gerbils are glorified rats, domesticated as house pets, shoved in cages, fed pellets, and basically stink up the house. Gerbils are known for their nocturnal hyper-activity. Every night, though they should know better by now, they climb aboard their spinning wheel and begin the race of a lifetime, chasing who-knows-what to get who-knows-where, just as fast as their little stinky feet can carry them. So what’s the point? Who knows but they all do it, and always have as far as we know, so the habit goes on and on generation after generation. Parents teach it to their children (monkey see monkey do), those children in turn pass it on to their offspring and so on it goes.
We are just like gerbils. We run the same gambit of spinning wheels that our ancestors did before us. We pattern ourselves to run the rat race, perhaps believing against hope that we will somehow run it faster than our predecessors and win some glorious prize. (Yummy! Another box of pellets!) What is the point anyway?
We see Christians falling into the same ruts with the rest of the world, running faster and faster, earning and spending more than their predecessors, and all the while asking themselves, "What am I doing anyway?" Heart attacks, strokes, nervous breakdowns, divorces, are just as prevalent among Christians as with their counterparts in the world. STOP THE WORLD I WANT TO GET OFF!
It Was Not Always This Way.
There was a time when Christians found the secret of a fulfilling life. Years ago saints on every continent knew the secret of joy and true satisfaction that comes from an intimate walk with God. There is a cost to that walk. It cannot be had while with hold hands with the world and run to the beat of their drums. God speaks to his children of every age and calls to them in quiet whispers, "Be still and know that I am God." and again, "In quietness and confidence would be your strength…" Unfortunately, as with the people of Israel, so it is with us. The epitaph is the same, – "but you would not." Throughout the centuries God has had his called-out-ones, the Augustine’s, the Francis of Assisi’s, Madam Guyon’s, and the AW Tozer’s, who longing and heart’s desire is to know God.
Choose Ye This Day
Solomon said it well for all of us, "There is a way that appears right unto man but then end of it is the ways of death." The choice is yours. It is chosen every day of your life. We are not talking here in this booklet about a newfangled prayer fad, or some fantastic or novel prayer technique or discovery. We are talking about a decision to change our lifestyles, beginning with our prayer lifestyle. It is a decision to become "men and women apart," ones who dain to walk with God as Enoch, Moses, and Elijah. Men and women who consider it more important to be known at the throne in heavenly places than to be rich and famous in earthly values. Men and women who are willing to trade all the riches of Egypt to sit at the feet of the Master and know Him, whom to know is life eternal.
In this book we will talk much about time and stillness for that is the crisis of our age – so many time-saving technologies, but little time for the Savior. Our challenge is not so much of strategy as it is of priorities. We challenge you to change your life, by changing your life aspirations. We challenge you to change the way you do prayer, and begin living a life of prayer. We challenge you to sacrifice sacred time – minutes, hours, yes, even days and weeks, to the Savior’s call to come apart.