Walking with God – in Scheduled and Unscheduled Ways

By: Beth Doohan

“As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for You, O God. I thirst for God, the living God. When can I go and stand before Him? But each day the Lord pours His unfailing love upon me, and through each night I sing His songs, praying to God who gives me life.”  (Psalm 42:1-2, 8)

“Yes, in the way of Your judgments, O Lord, we have waited for You; the desire of our soul is for Your name and for the remembrance of You.  With my soul I have desired You in the night, yes, by my spirit within me I will seek You early.”  (Isaiah 26:8-9a)  

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I read an article several years ago that asked what prayer and time with the Lord looked like for the reader in a typical day.  It then gave a scenario of a person, let’s say Joe, going about his day. Joe woke up and got ready, said a prayer before breakfast and read a passage of Scripture. He listened to the news on his drive to work and prayed a blessing over his day while walking into the office building. At work, he faced daily tasks, a few disgruntled customers and an on-edge boss with a short fuse. Joe did his best and navigated situations with care. Before returning an upset customer’s call who had a misplaced order, he said a quick prayer asking for wisdom and good communication with the customer. Joe was able to connect with the customer and correct the problem.

As Joe drove home that day, he unwound with the Christian music station, then played his favorite pick-me-up song from the 80s on his phone. Joe spent time with his family that night, listening to his wife share about her conversation with her sick sister. They said a prayer for her sister and family, that God would minister to them and give the doctors wisdom to help her. Joe put his kids to bed and said a goodnight prayer with them—that they would know God’s love for them and have sweet sleep. Then, Joe and his wife went to bed.

Now, all in all, let’s say Joe spent about ten minutes in prayer, ten minutes reading the Bible and five minutes listening to worship music—25 minutes total.  Since there are 1,440 minutes in a 24-hour day, is this really “enough” prayer and time with the Lord?  While Joe’s day was busy, he was intentional with his time. He set aside specific moments to be with God and looked to the Lord for strength even when he was busy.

Ladies, how do we spend time with God in a typical day? Is it both scheduled and unscheduled? Do we have the discipline to set aside specific time for God? On the other hand, do we walk with God and include Him in the events of the day outside of those “scheduled” times? Just what does it mean to “walk with God”?

Think about God’s character and design for us. We have the Father who created man in His own image so that man might know Him and bring Him glory. Man has a free will and sadly chooses his own way—sin—which separates us from God and brings suffering to this world. Yet even in that moment when God’s heart is grieved and He must discipline man for his disobedience and rejection of Him, God created a plan for us to know Him again and His gracious love is shown. Genesis 3:15 says, “And I will cause hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.” This was God’s plan from the beginning—to send His son Jesus—that we might know Him and have life.

Again, we see God’s great love and grace for us through the giving of the Holy Spirit. Before Jesus surrendered Himself to death, He had supper with the disciples and told them what was to come. John 14:16-18 says, “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive Him, because it isn’t looking for Him and doesn’t recognize Him. But you know Him, because He lives with you now and later will be in you. No, I will not abandon you as orphans—I will come to you.” Verse 27 says, “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”

Jesus calls the Holy Spirit our Advocate who will lead into all truth. John 16:7-10, 13-14 says, “But in fact, it is best for you that I go away, because if I don’t, the Advocate won’t come. If I do go away, then I will send Him to you. And when He comes, He will convict the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment. The world’s sin is that it refuses to believe in me. Righteousness is available because I go to the Father, and you will see Me no more. When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on His own but will tell you what He has heard. He will tell you about the future. He will bring Me glory by telling you whatever He receives from Me.” And so we see that the Father is Lord of all, that Jesus made a way for us to be righteous and know God, and that the Holy Spirit speaks to our hearts through God’s Word and prayer—He advocates for us, working on our behalf.

These passages show us who God is, the desired relationship He wants with us and the great, sacrificial lengths He went to for us to know Him. We see from the Scriptures that God’s character is one of faithfulness, unconditional love, peace, blessing, wholeness and healing. Knowing God’s character and the extreme lengths He has taken for us to be with Him, how can we not yearn to spend time with Him and to know Him more?

There is a beautiful example in the Psalms of God drawing on our hearts to spend time with Him out of love. Psalm 27:8 says, “My heart has heard you say, ‘Come and talk with Me.’ And my heart responds, ‘Lord, I am coming.’” Also, Psalm 42:1-2, 8 says, “As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for You, O God. I thirst for God, the living God. When can I go and stand before Him? But each day the Lord pours His unfailing love upon me, and through each night I sing His songs, praying to God who gives me life.”

God wants us to spend time with Him in prayer and devotion, not out of obligation, but out of love for Him!  Isaiah 26:8-9a says, “Yes, in the way of Your judgments, O Lord, we have waited for You; the desire of our soul is for Your name and for the remembrance of You.  With my soul I have desired You in the night, yes, by my spirit within me I will seek You early.” In all things, is the desire of your soul to love and glorify the Lord?  This is called cultivating a heart of worship.

Let’s remember—God knows us, every detail, because He designed and takes delight in us. It hurts God’s heart for us to ignore Him. Any time I have felt myself pull back from time with the Lord, I have stopped to recognize that something was causing me pain, and I was allowing that pain to have a greater influence in my life than God. Once I fixed my eyes on the Lord and reflected on God’s character, my heart was drawn to Him, not away from Him. When we feel hurt, anger or brokenness, we must draw near to God. I have had to pour my heart out before God and study Scripture to remind myself of His character and of our broken world. In my deepest hurt, I know that God is close to me and will restore my broken heart.

We know that God is the author of life, not death. He will never abandon you or me. Jesus Christ willingly sacrificed Himself for our sin to be covered and calls us to follow His commands for our benefit. He promises never to leave us and protects us as we follow Him. For these reasons, we can put our trust in Him and want to please and follow Him. Because He is worthy of our trust, we have made Him our Lord and Savior, and we love Him.

One final reflection is found in Psalm 139. Verses 1-2, 5, 23-24 says, “O Lord, You have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head. Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends You, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” We encourage you to read the entire Psalm 139 passage and let God minister to your heart. He loves you and is longing for you to come to Him. He is more than enough; He is all that you need. Intentionally invite God into both the scheduled and unscheduled times of your life. He is waiting and yearning for all of your heart and wants you to know and love Him more.

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