It is our glorious privilege as God’s children to approach His throne of grace at any time of the day or night. We thank God for this blessed access to our Heavenly Father through the atoning work of our Saviour and Mediator, Jesus Christ at Calvary (I Tim 2: 5; Heb 4: 14-16).
In his epistle, the apostle James exhorted the suffering believers to “draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you …” (Jas 4: 8). “This declaration contains a great and important principle in religion. If we wish the favour of God, we must come to him; nor can we hope for his mercy, unless we approach him and ask him for it. …We may address him directly in prayer; we may approach him by meditation on his character; we may draw near to him in the ordinances of religion. We can never hope for his favour while we prefer to remain at a distance from him; none who in fact draw near to him will find him unwilling to bestow on them the blessings which they need” (Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible).
How true it is that whenever and wherever we seek Him, our gracious Lord will be there to meet with us and to minister to our needs. This precious truth is reiterated by the prophet Jeremiah: “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart” (Jer 29: 13).
Sadly, however, some Christians view their time with the Lord as a burden rather than a blessing. With so many things to do, we rush through our day with nary a thought for Him. As a result, we are spiritually weak, with little appetite for the things of God.
o Christ – our perfect Example
Our Lord Jesus Christ has set us a wonderful example of spending time with God. During His earthly ministry, our Lord faced constant pressure to meet the needs of the crowd in each city or village He entered. Walking for miles between destinations, He barely rested before beginning His ministry. Multitudes thronged around Him, waiting to be taught or to be healed.
Despite the heavy demands of the ministry, our Saviour often withdrew from the eager crowds, not just to rest, but to commune with God. The Bible tells us that, after an exhausting day of serving the people, Jesus awoke early the next morning to pray: “And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed” (Mk 1: 35). Though fully occupied with the ministry, our Saviour knew His priorities. Although He is the Lord of Heaven and Earth, Jesus found it necessary to draw nigh to His Heavenly Father.
“During His ministry on earth, the Lord Jesus chose to limit the exercise of His divine attributes. He was fully God, but He chose to depend on the Father and the indwelling Spirit working through Him. He did this to show us how we are to depend on God. That dependence can be seen in the way Jesus sought time alone with the Father” (Keeping our appointments with God – Discovery Series, RBC Ministries).
o Our daily appointment with God
Joseph Alleine, a 17th Century English pastor and author, was known for spending much time alone with God.
“Alleine would often rise early in the morning, lamenting that others were already at work before he prayed to his Master. His wife commented that he would be much troubled if he heard smiths or other craftsmen at work at their trades, before he was at communion with God: saying to me often, ‘How this noise shames me! Doth not my Master deserve more than theirs? Alleine would customarily have private devotions and meditation upon God from 4 to 8 am’” (https://www.apuritansmind.com/puritan-favorites/joseph-alleine-1634-1668/).
Like his Master, Alleine was wholly devoted to the work of the ministry. Yet he took time from his many duties to seek the Lord first. Let us emulate his fine example.
No matter how busy we are, we should determine to keep that daily appointment before His throne of grace. Let nothing distract us or draw us away from that all-important time of communion with our Lord. Many things battle for our time and attention every day – work and family responsibilities, hobbies, television, internet, newspapers. It is easy to give the excuse that we have no time. If we truly love the Lord and believe that He is our Sufficiency in life, we will put Him first in our day.
Let us start by being disciplined. Choose a time when we can wholly focus on the Lord. The morning hour is best before we start our day. It is good to seek God’s blessings and guidance before we set out to fulfil our daily duties.
Cultivate a consciousness of God throughout the day. Review what we have read of God’s Word in the morning; maintain a consistent spirit of prayer. We do not know what perplexing situations we may face or what trials may come our way. Commit each concern to the Lord. Pray for a right response in every situation. May our gracious Lord help us to draw nigh to Him each day. Amen.