By Dennis Wiggs
Mark 1:35 declares, “in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.”
After a busy and tiring day healing Simon’s mother-in-law, ministering to many sick people, and casting out demons, Jesus arose early the next morning to spend intimate time with His Father. This quiet and personal time began another full day of preaching and ministering.
The young pastor also needs personal, quality time with the Lord. These are days of much activity. Many demands are made on his time. Yet, just as the Jesus found it necessary to schedule time with God the Father, so must the young preacher arrange this appointment. It is the most important hour of the day.
Christ rose early, slipped away from His disciples, and prayed. He planned this event. The young preacher must feel compelled to begin the day with the Lord. For example, select a certain book of the Bible to read for a month or two. Or study a specific topic, such as grace, trust, or faith.
Place a piece of paper and a pen beside you. When thoughts or obligations come to your mind, jot them down and quickly return to your Scripture reading. Recording your personal application of Scripture will prove helpful in years to come.
Then pray. Praying with a prayer journal in hand would keep the requests before you. Designate certain days to pray for certain subjects. Divide the church roll into Monday-Friday divisions and pray for the church family. The same can be done for missionaries, pastors, evangelists, and other Christian workers.
How long should the quiet time last? As long as possible! Begin with 15 minutes. Stretch it to 30 minutes. Regardless of how long you read the Scriptures and pray, you will probably leave the quiet time wishing you had another hour.
Jesus chose a “solitary place.” He personally selected the right place to spend time with His Father. The young preacher must find the proper location with few distractions. If you rise before your family, maybe a quiet room in the home could be designated. You could go to the church altar. The church study may not be a good location if a telephone call or a knock on the door will distract you from this vital devotional time.
When we pray, we speak to the Lord. When we read the Scriptures, God speaks to us. We need to keep this two-way street open. Entering quiet time with a hurried spirit will rob us of the spiritual blessing. Even sitting or kneeling and meditating upon the Lord and His greatness for several minutes is profitable.
Matthew 6:6 says, “But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.”
Read the Scriptures expecting direction and instructions from the Lord. Pray expecting the Lord to answer for your good and His glory.
Setting aside devotional time each day will accomplish much in our lives. For example, it will:
- Keep us from sin. Psolm 119:11 declares, “Thy word hove I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
- Give us directions in our day-by-day living. Psalm 119:130 states, “The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.”
- Give us power in prayer: John l5:7 states, “. . ,Ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.”
- Make us “thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”
The young pastor must learn early in the ministry the value of a daily quiet time with the Lord. George Mueller wrote, “l have known my Lord for 57 years, and there has never been a single day that I have failed to gain an audience with the King.”
About the Writer: Dennis Wiggs retired in 2004 after many years in ministry.
Adapted from Contact magazine, November 2000.