Alone

Written by cycleguy on June 11th, 2012

Say that word to many and it brings up ugly feelings.

Alone in a crowd

Alone in  a family

Alone in a church community

We will hear words like:

“It wasn’t supposed to be like this.”  

“I thought when I became a part of something I was becoming part of a team.” 

“I am more alone now than when I was living for myself and didn’t care what people thought or how I existed lived.”

Ever been there?  There now?  I feel for you.  Then again, I don’t really understand.  It is hard from me since I am a social creature.  God created me as an extrovert, so I have very few moments of being alone, or even of feeling alone.  I ride my bike alone a good part of the time, but even then, I am so aware of what is going on around me (listening for cars, etc) that I have very little time to suffer being alone.

BUT THERE IS ONE TIME BEING ALONE IS GOOD!!

That time is when it is just you and God.  There is a discussion on some of the blogs that shall remain nameless, not because they are right or wrong, but simply because I don’t think it is a big deal.  They don’t like the idea of calling a daily time with God a Quiet Time  (QT for short).  I really never gave it any thought until that post, so I began thinking: what could would  should I call it?   It got me thinking about the purpose of a daily time in the Word and prayer.  What do I want to accomplish?  Is it to get rid of the negative bird inside my head?  Is it to get rid of the legalistic nag inside my head that says, “A real Christ-follower spends time in Bible reading and prayer every day.”

Here is what I have come up with (for what it’s worth): What matters is not what you call it, but whether you take time to be with God.  My time alone with God is for me, and me alone.  It is not for sermon prep.  It is not so I can brag saying, “I  spent time alone with God today.”  It is not to silence that little accusing voice that wants to dog my tracks.  It is for me.  For my relationship with God.  It is for me, and here is what I have come to realize and call it:

ENCOUNTER TIME.

I want to encounter God.  I want to have an encounter with God.  I want God to encounter me…changing me, reworking me, challenging me, probing me, convicting me.  I want to encounter His holiness.   I am guessing by now you get my drift.  🙂  So, from now on, it is no longer my Quiet Time.  I want it to be my

ENCOUNTER TIME.

I know this is miniscule. See why I didn’t link to any discussion of it?  But, I would like to know what you call your Quiet Alone Time.  Do you have one?  How important is it to you?

 

34 Comments so far ↓

  1. Jan says:

    Not miniscule. Very important. Alone time, I dislike very much, got used to having 5 kids & chaos around me, now I’m adjusting to my alone time….haven’t quite gotten there yet, but I’m sure at some point I will start enjoying it. 🙂

    I like that you call it Encounter God. Having an encounter with God is a growing experience, not to mention pretty cool. I used to call my quiet time with God, “God time”, now I’m calling it my “Growing Time” because it seems that’s where He has me right now, growing in His word & love.

    Now that we got our dose of spoiling on Sunday, I will try to give the pastor my full attention on Sunday, instead of wondering what Bill’s message is today, I’ll have to listen to it on the web. 🙂
    Great post Bill, as always.

  2. lindaM says:

    Hi Bill,
    My encounter time is for me but it is also for God. I want my voice to come before God several times a week. I want to be faithful in the using of this gift of prayer. I believe that this is what prayer is. A gift that God has given us in order for mutual communication to occur with Him.

    I haven’t gotten to the place that many saints in times past have found, of being able to pray in prayer for hours at a time. It’s a gift that comes with practice, I believe.

    Great inspiration stories of these past saints wearing down grooves in wooden floors made by the knees of praying men and women. I’m inspired and convicted. To pray this long, I believe a saint needs provision from God. These people found it. These people knew God intimately. These people sacrificed and put themselves on the altar of burnt offering for God’s purposes and plans.

    If we’re hitting an iron ceiling with our prayers we need to examine ourselves and be sure that we are focusing on the true God in our lives. That we have no other gods that we are serving. Next we have to check for sin. Are we crossing some gray areas with our decisions and acts?

    My time in prayer is important to me. But it should be more important. Right now I’m getting to 30 minutes of continuous prayer every second day. I read pretty regularly every day. I am praying here and there throughout the day talking to God. If I read something in scripture and I feel I want to respond, I pray to God. I pray about what I am reading in the Word that is ministering or speaking to me that day.

    Any Christian who is negligent in these disciplines of reading and prayer is missing out. Their walk with God will be farther away. Broad and wide rather than narrow and deep. Just some thoughts from me.

    • cycleguy says:

      The time with God is also for Him to speak. You do bring out a good point Linda. He wants to meet with us. As for praying hours on end: I have never been able to do that. I think it might even be a spiritual gift for some. I also agree that those who are negligent are missing out.

  3. Bill, I try to have that time first thing every morning. I get up before everyone else.

  4. Daniel says:

    The first thing I do at work upon arrival is to make up my “to do list”. The first item is always “say prayers”. I dutifully pray and then get to check that off. But I don’t really view this necessarily as my “quality” prayer time. It is just a mechanism to get my day off with the right focus. The best prayer times are when I feel a burning need just to find a quiet place to say thanks or ask for help for myself or someone else. It is that feeling that I need to pray and I just cannot wait another moment to get alone with my God and talk to Him.

    • cycleguy says:

      I hope you aren’t kicking yourself for being dutiful in this Daniel. Least you are setting aside time to do so. But i certainly agree with your thoughts on the best prayer times.

  5. Craig says:

    so you have ET instead of QT? 🙂

    i’m like you in that I’ve never really thought about it. I do spend time with God every day. Not that I’m legalistic about it – or I try not to be. That is a fine line for me.

    One of the things I’ve noticed is that a lot of folks don’t have time with God every day. I’ll hear comments about how they need to read the Bible more…it’s been 2 weeks…

    I couldn’t do that. I don’t know if I could explain what God does with me in that morning time but I know that I don’t want to live without it. I couldn’t go days or weeks without spending time in the Word.

    thanks for your thoughts Bill!

    • cycleguy says:

      yep. My ET is out of this world. *groan* That is as bad as Jay’s Bad Sheep comic strips. 🙂 I really feel it if I don’t spend time every day. Vacations are tough on me actually because I am often so involved that I fail to “get apart.” I have no doubt Juli and the boys are glad you spend that time alone with God also.

  6. I normally call it quiet time or devotional time – not that those are great labels, but people know what I’m talking about.
    I’m reading EM Bounds’s Power Through Prayer – and it’s pretty convicting in this regard.

    • cycleguy says:

      I know what you are talking about Loren. I really don’t know why people don’t like Quiet Time. 🙂 Bounds has written a lot on prayer hasn’t he? Any you particularly recommend?

  7. I call it “solitude” the time when my “tude” needs to be solely with the Father. This is far different than my daily time with Him. It usually feeds and frees me like no other time does.

  8. Ryan says:

    Quiet Time, Encounter Time, Alone Time, God Time, Solitude Time…

    The real issue for me is not figuring out what to call it, but just doing it…

    I am not sure what we call it matters much at all… but that we are engaged with God and seeking His will.

    I often fail miserably when it comes to setting a dedicated part of my day aside to spend time in reading the Bible, praying, etc… I like to be busy… I like to be moving. Interestingly enough my “??? Time” comes when I am active… Some of my deepest encounters have been while mowing the grass.

    This has got me thinking though… perhaps if I were to just take a walk/hike/jog every morning and make sure I invite God to join me.

    I am curious if others find it necessary to “be still” during their “??? time”… Is it just preference, conviction, or a scriptual reason?

    • cycleguy says:

      You are 100% absolutely correct Ryan. I mentioned that “What matters is not what you call it, but whether you take time to be with God.” You are stating that in spades. I admire people who can be active and have “their time with God.” For those of us who don’t/can’t multi-task, it doesn’t work. I have to be still. But I sure do envy those who can. 🙂 I would also be interested in hearing some answers to your question. My answer: a necessary preference.

      • lindaM says:

        My thinking Ryan is that if you need to move find a prayer room big enough to walk around in it while you pray. Sing, pray, raise your hands, bow down, lay face down on the floor, clap, shout, weep, rejoice, express thankfulness to God, put on some worhip music and praise with it to God, etc. These are just suggestions but the stillness is certainly gone if you work these into your prayer time.

        God is looking for worshippers, God is looking for relationship and communion. I think you can pray while jogging, walking on a path, etc but I wouldn’t necessarily use that time of prayer as your main source of prayer with God. Maybe you could alternate. One day in your prayer room pacing and one day praying on the jogging path.

        The important thing in my thoughts about your question is that you are focused and that your mind isn’t being distracted by alot of other things in the environment.

  9. floyd says:

    Being somewhat of a simpleton, I don’t call it anything. But I cherish it more than anything. It is my lifeline, He is my lifeline.

    Regardless of what’s happening in my world, after time alone seeking God’s will in my life, the storms of life turn into ripples on a kindly pond…

  10. tcavey says:

    I must have alone time with God on a daily basis.

    How would my marriage work if I only talked to my spouse every now and then? How would my marriage work if I only talked and didn’t listen?
    It wouldn’t.
    And I can’t expect my relationship with God to grow or to be intimate if I don’t spend time with Him. I love my Lord and Savior. I want to hear from Him, I want to spend time with Him. It’s really not an option.

  11. I’m more the opposite. The word alone is not bad to me at all. It’s how I recharge, but I also know that I need others in a profound way. I love and crave true community.

    That said, I definitely see quiet time as important. I need time for reading Scripture (that is not directly related to sermon prep). I need time for worship and prayer. If I don’t have that, everything else I do suffers and eventually will unravel.

    Thanks Bill. Good discussion.

  12. Stephen says:

    Right on, Bill! If it was important enough for Jesus to withdraw and get alone time with the Father, it must be important to us as well. It was in these times that Jesus submitted His will to His Father’s will, and ought to be a place where we humble ourselves and become vulnerable as well.

  13. jeff says:

    Time with God would be nice if only God showed up. Otherwise I would feel like I am just talking to myself.

  14. Allen says:

    I spend 45 minutes to an hour either on the Harley or in my truck driving to work in the dark. I find this a good time to pray and be quiet. I have a few minutes when I get to the office before my day starts that I read a devotion from “Our Daily Bread”, meditate on the devotion, and pray. I find a lot of value in the drive to and from work by quieting my mind and giving Him praise.

    -Peace

    • cycleguy says:

      I am glad there are people like you, Allen, who can drive/ride and pray. I have trouble doing that. I lose my concentration. I do use ODB during my Encounter Time as well. Quieting the mind and giving Him praise: two great reasons for being alone.

  15. Tom says:

    Doesn’t matter to me what people call it. As was Jesus’ custom I have found this is the time that I begin my day with Praise of the Father and open my spirit to Him and His Spirit. Seeking to align myself with His purposes and confess my need for His daily bread and seek to know His will. I will just call it His time and have found this to be the best time of my life.

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