One of my passions is to encourage women to get into the Word of God for themselves. It’s not that I don’t think women read their Bibles, but we could all use the encouragement. Sometimes we struggle with making time for devotions either due to busy schedules or having small children at home; or, if we have a regular time, we can be tempted to go through the motions without really being “tuned in” and engaged.
It helps me to look at our having devotions from a communication or relationship angle. We’re told when we first become Christians that Christianity is not just a list of rules or a system of activities: it’s a relationship with God. But sometimes we can lose that focus and end up just doing things rotely. Remembering that we’re communicating with a Person can transform our viewpoint.
The Bible says that the marriage relationship pictures that of Christ and the church. So let’s compare the two in the realm of communication. Husbands understand if a wife has a super-busy day or if she is tired. But if that happens all the time, if he just wants to spend some time with her, and she is frantically running around taking care of children, housework, even outside ministries, and never has time to just sit down with him, he’s not going to feel loved and wanted. If she spends the time they do talk in losing focus, daydreaming, pondering what to put on her grocery list, he is not going to feel heard. If the only time she communicates with him is on the run while doing other things or when she needs him to do something, or if their only conversation is in the last few minutes before sleep when they’re drifting off in mid-sentence, their relationship is going to suffer. Sometimes couple just need one on one time with each other.
There is nothing wrong with those types of communication in and of themselves — we are to pray without ceasing, all through the day, even while doing other things, and He wants us to come to Him with our needs, and ending the day talking with Him is lovely. But there needs to be some times of just pure focus on Him, on worship and learning from Him. Even though God doesn’t “need” us in the same sense a husband does, He wants to fellowship with us, and He knows we need to hear Him.
We can see this in other parallels, too: a hostess who prepares a sumptuous meal that no one shows up for, or, if they do, they rush through it; a parent whose child only wants “things” from him; a friend whose friend is drifting away because of a lack of time spent together.
Relationships are built on and maintained by communication. May we keep in mind that our time in prayer and the Word of God is not just one of the duties on out to-do list: it is communication with the One who loves us more than anyone else could and desires our fellowship and worship. May our desire and prayer be along the lines of Joe Zichterman’s hymn, “A passion for Thee, O Lord, set a fire in my soul and a thirst for my God. Hear Thou my prayer, Lord, Thy power impart. Not just to serve, but to love Thee with all of my heart.”
O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is. Psalm 63:1
I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word. Psalm 119:16
In the secret of His Presence
How my soul delights to hide!
Oh, how precious are the lessons
Which I learn at Jesus’ side!
Earthly cares can never vex me,
Neither trials lay me low;
For when Satan comes to tempt me,
To the secret place I go,
To the secret place I go.
When my soul is faint and thirsty,
’Neath the shadow of His wing
There is cool and pleasant shelter,
And a fresh and crystal spring;
And my Savior rests beside me,
As we hold communion sweet:
If I tried, I could not utter
What He says when thus we meet,
What He says when thus we meet.
Only this I know: I tell Him
All my doubts, my griefs and fears;
Oh, how patiently He listens!
And my drooping soul He cheers:
Do you think He ne’er reproves me?
What a false friend He would be,
If He never, never told me
Of the sins which He must see,
Of the sins which He must see.
Would you like to know the sweetness
Of the secret of the Lord?
Go and hide beneath His shadow:
This shall then be your reward;
And whene’er you leave the silence
Of that happy meeting place,
You must mind and bear the image
Of the Master in your face,
Of the Master in your face.
~ Ellen L. Goreh, 1883
(I didn’t know until trying to find a video of this hymn that there was a new tune to it. The one I am familiar with is this one, only done a bit slower and more meditatively.)