Many times, we get caught up with the business of life we don’t set aside individual time to just listen and be with the Lord. In this week’s podcast, we discuss the importance of one-on-one quiet time with Him, what the benefits of that time are, and some ways you can enjoy that time. Learn more by listening to Walking Our Talk!
Note: Below is a transcription of this Walking Our Talk podcast. Please excuse any grammatical or punctuation flaws, as the transcription is a written version of our fluid conversation.
Pauly [00:00:07] Welcome to walking our talk with Alan and Pauly Heller. Join our conversation as we discuss practical ways to apply spiritual principles to your everyday life and help you walk your talk. One step at a time.
Alan [00:00:28] We can be tired and weary, emotionally distraught, but after spending time alone with God, we find that he injects into our bodies energy, power and strength. That’s a quote from Charles Stanley in Spending Time with God. And today Pauly and I are going to be talking about how we spend time with God and what it does for us. Hey, Pauly.
Pauly [00:00:53] Hi, hon.
Alan [00:00:54] So when you think back two years ago when you first started your walk with the Lord, did anybody tell you you needed to get some time alone with God?
Pauly [00:01:05] Oh, yeah. That was a very important part about being a new believer in Christ and learning what it meant to walk with him and to be his person. And. I had never spent time alone with God before. My Jewish background meant going to the synagogue and saying very kind of structured and formal prayers. And God was I had a great respect for him, but he was very distant, too. So the concept of spending time alone with him was something brand new?
Alan [00:01:45] Mm hmm. Yeah. I mean, I had people that said you should have a quiet time and then had no idea.
Pauly [00:01:50] My time in capital letters, capital Q. Capital T quiet time.
Alan [00:01:54] So then I finally went to a seminar or something. Where to, how to have a quiet time. So you’re supposed to get a time alone in a certain place at a certain time and you either read scripture, listen to music. But I mean, after a while, I mean, I got the hang of it. But one of the hangups about getting time along with God is sort of the pressure to perform and get something from him instead of just sort of coming and just going, Lord, I just want to listen and be quiet and sort of empty my head of the noise. And that was one of the hardest things. When I first started trying to get time alone with the Lord, at least the person that told me just said, just spend 10 or 15 minutes. You don’t have to do an hour or whatever. And, um, but knowing what to do and when to do it and then expecting results, there’s this balance between what am I going to get out of it?
Alan [00:02:56] And like I was telling somebody the other day, years into my walk with the Lord and I was going to spend two days just trying to get with God and stuff. And I went up to this camp, timber leaves when we were in Wheaton, Illinois.
Pauly [00:03:10] Right. Right.
Alan [00:03:10] And I went up there in the middle of winter. It was freezing cold. I was fasting. So I got chills. And I and the whole time I’m going, oh, God, you don’t speak to me, speak to me. And I came back and he said, So how is that great time with God? It was terrible. I didn’t hear anything from them at all. I was cold and hungry and tired and I just had nothing. Have you ever had times like that?
Pauly [00:03:40] Well, of course. But what I’m thinking is at the beginning, I hadn’t even read all the way through the Bible. When I first became a believer, I didn’t even know the stories of the loaves and the fishes and Peter walking on the water with Jesus and those kinds of things that are just so basic to kids that grow up in Christian homes and have Sunday school classes where these stories are told. I had a lot of Old Testament stories because I knew a lot of things about Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and Moses. But I didn’t know the basic facts about Jesus and the disciples. And so I had to read all the gospels and the epistles and those letters of Paul to the church were mysteries to me because I didn’t understand the basic facts. Even for years about who he was talking to and what it meant.
Alan [00:04:55] So, I mean, you’re saying that you needed to get a foundation in the word of God before you could really get time with God and hear him speak through his word.
Pauly [00:05:05] Well, yes, that I mean, that was what I thought anyway. And there is a combination of that, because if you’re just looking for God to speak to you without knowing what his voice really sounds like, you can have a lot of vain imagination. You can have a lot, especially if you have an active imagination like I do. You can think, as I did at one point, that God is telling you that if you really have faith that he’s not, you’re not going to have to wear glasses anymore. So you can just leave your glasses out in the middle of the field. And if you really have faith, you can walk away. And God’s going to heal your eyes and you won’t be nearsighted anymore. I mean, that was a kind of misconception that I had about how God worked because I just didn’t have the foundation in his word and an understanding.
Alan [00:06:01] So, are there practical things that you started to learn in terms of how to spend time with God? I mean, I think there are times where you spend daily time with him where, you know, you take 15, 20 minutes, an hour or whatever, and then there are times where you get special times. I mean, it’s a relationship. I think that’s the key, is that it’s a relationship. It’s not just checking off a box on the list. And we can do wrote prayers or we can read Oswald Chambers or we can read what’s the other one Jesus calling. Right. Which are all very, you know, nice starter points. But if we’re just doing it out of habit and not really engaging.
Alan [00:06:43] I remember talking with a guy and just saying one of my council leads and just ask him. So when you get time with the Lord, are you hearing from him? There was that silence and, you know, it’s like, what are you talking about? I mean, I got my time with them and now I’m off to the next thing and I’m going. But there are issues that you have with rebelliousness and authority and are you reading scripture about that? So I think sometimes reading Paul’s prayers or listening to or reading a story or listening to the story of Samuel who was sleeping and he went to his father and said, I think I heard.
Pauly [00:07:25] He went Eli the priest.
Alan [00:07:27] Right. And he, you know, wondered, what should I do? And he said, Next time, say, hey, nanny here I. Here am I.
Pauly [00:07:35] Yeah, right.
Alan [00:07:36] And do what he says. So the question is, are we getting connected with God? Are we listening? And then are we obeying? Because as we’ve said before, happier those who obey his commandments. James says no. Don’t just be a hearer of the word, but be a doer. And I know for some people, quiet time is a noisy time. I have one pastor who said I just turn up the worship music and I’m dancing and praising Lord. And that’s what gets him going. So you have different ways of getting into a time with the Lord. But I think some of the basics are you do need to have a place where you meet him.
Alan [00:08:16] And for me, sometimes that was going to a hotel where I would sit out on this beautifully manicured lawn with flowers. And it just I had no responsibility to deal with any of the stuff that was out there. So it freed me up to get listening to God. There are other times where you just need a space in your house. We have a friend who ended up taking her garage up in the upper. She had an upper room, literal upper room, just dedicated to prayer.
Alan [00:08:49] And so the routine of finding a place where, oh, that’s where I meet with God can be very helpful. And then having a specific time, a specific place. And then what am I going to do? Because sometimes you just sit there and you go, okay, I’m here, what do I do? And for you there, I think it moves in in sort of waves that there are seasons where I just need to listen and there are other seasons where I need some input from Oswald Chambers or one of the greats from the past or even a contemporary. We’ve read things like Dennis Rainey and his wife Barbara wrote Couples Spending Time Together with God. And James Dobson wrote a book called Nightlight. These are devotions that help sort of give a scripture, a story, a prayer, and then give you like a question. So what’s been most helpful for you and really tuning in to the Lord? Because what I’m trying to do here in this session is just give us some practical tools to how do we spend time with God? How do we connect with them?
Pauly [00:10:01] Well, over the years, I’ve gone through phases too depending on the season of life. And as I said earlier, when I first started out, I just needed to gain Bible knowledge so I would spend a lot of time in Bible study, studying, studying the word, outlining scripture, underlining important phrases and words, and looking things up.
Alan [00:10:28] You have a gift of knowledge. So to you, that really engages you at the same time. How do you relate to God? Do you just relate to him in study or write?
Pauly [00:10:38] Well, that yeah, that’s part of my point, is that I would spend so much time learning about God that I didn’t have a whole lot of time to just listen to what he was saying to me, because I’m such a performance-oriented person that I almost like attacking the Bible as if it were a university course. I have to learn this and I have to get an A.. And I have to do it the right way.
Alan [00:11:06] So when did you learn that it needs to be more than that or different than that?
Pauly [00:11:10] I think it took me to a number of years. And part of what it took was understanding my identity in Christ, which is a topic that we’re going to address in another session.
Alan [00:11:25] We are going to do that in the next session.
Pauly [00:11:26] And but learning who I am in Christ and that I, I have died to myself and that Christ lives in me, gave me a freedom to not have to perform so much and to just receive more from God to welcome his presence and to hear more from him and to relax and just enjoy who I am in him. And I had some of that had knowledge before from studying the word, but I didn’t have the ability to apply it in my life. So in learning to apply it in my life, it gave me the opportunity to just be where I am and to write my feelings down. I have volumes of journals where I would write.
Alan [00:12:22] And that’s another thing, journaling. I mean, you’re saying it like everyone does it, but there are times where it’s easier to write things down and put them in a notebook. And some people go back and look over many times. You never go back and look over them and say you have 20 years of journals and you’re going, oh, it’s the same thing over and over.
Pauly [00:12:43] But it’s not meant to be something that I’m going to pass along to my children. It was a way of processing what’s going on in my life. And so my journals would contain a combination of, wow, this is what’s happening in my life right now. I just don’t know what to make of this conversation that I had or this thing that that’s going on between Alan and me or how I’m dealing with my babies, my toddlers, my children, my teenage years, you know, where is life,.
Alan [00:13:16] Just a way to process your thoughts and feelings.
Pauly [00:13:16] Right, and a lot of times it would be just pouring out my heart to God, which is really a lot of what David would do. And just the Psalms are all and write and say, oh, God, my God, my enemies are chasing after me or help me. I don’t know what to do. How long, oh, lord. Am I going to have to put up with this? And ultimately in the Psalms, David would end up coming back to. But you oh God are king. I will praise you endlessly no matter what is happening in my life. And that’s what I would see it in my journals too, if I every time I finished one, I would go back and read it from the beginning to the end. And then I, I put them away and probably someday I’ll just shred it.
Alan [00:14:07] So in Paslms 32, David said, how blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered? How blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity? And in whom spirit there is no deceit. When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long for day and night. My hand was heavy upon me. My vitality was drained away. As the fever heat of summer, I acknowledged my sin to thee and, my iniquity. I did not hide. I said I will confess my transgressions to the Lord and found its forgive the guilt of my sin.
Alan [00:14:48] And sometimes just reading a scripture like that can help you get into a time with the Lord. Thinking about applying this to yourself. Have I sinned and am I covering it up? And maybe that’s why I’m all drained and tired and and and then I acknowledge my sin to you, Lord. So I acknowledge my sin to you Lord that I have been willful in this area. So I think at times, you know, there may be worship that helps you get into your time with the Lord. There may be reading scripture, maybe just being silent. But the point is that you get a time. It’s sort of like dating your wife. I mean. So at the beginning, before you are married, you’re really excited as a man to have this woman that’s giving you attention and you want to do anything and everything. And there are notes and candy and flowers and everything. And then you the hunt is over, you get married and then people are saying no. The thrill is gone, you know. But the thrill takes passion. It takes work. It takes intention. And I think the same is true of our relationship with God.
Pauly [00:16:03] Right. Having a relationship with God is not just about studying the Bible. It’s almost like, okay, we’re going out on a date and we’re sitting there in a restaurant. And I’m reading to you a letter that you wrote to me or I’m reading your biography. Look, somebody wrote this about you.
Alan [00:16:23] When you’re ready to have date in a booth and drink a good wine and drink coffee. Right?
Pauly [00:16:31] Right. So it’s not mechanical. The idea of quiet time is that it will possibly include some Bible study or some time in the word, but it’s not the same as having an intensive Bible study and learning. This is what the word says. I’m going to look up all the Greek and do all this research. That’s that could be part of it. And it’s an unnecessary underlining part of understanding who God is. But it’s not the same thing as spending time with him and allowing his Holy Spirit to speak to you through and out of your own understanding of who he is as a result of knowing the word. So it’s all these things, these bits, and pieces that are kind of wrapped up together. And yesterday, I listen to a podcast by Dr. Timothy Keller from Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City. This is a podcast from 2014. So it’s a few years ago, but he was talking about meditating on scripture and how much time it takes to just sit in maybe one verse and allow that one verse to speak to you. And thinking about all the aspects of what it has to say to you. And it just takes time and it takes quieting your heart and thinking about what the truth of God’s word is really speaking to you. And the longer you sit there and quiet, the more opportunity you have for the spirit of God to really.
Alan [00:18:13] So I think that’s very uncomfortable for most of us in America because or whether you’re in Korea or wherever you are. I mean, we’re just such a busy society and we have our iPhones and we have our Iclouds and we have our computers. And that may be a very big discipline that you have to learn.
Pauly [00:18:32] Right.
Alan [00:18:33] And I just think sometimes, just like Psalm 23, the Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want. I mean, to think about Lord. What are all the things I want? And am I really satisfied in you? And he makes me lie down in green pastures. I always think he makes me lie down because I won’t lie down. And so sometimes we need to learn to lie down in those pastures, even though we don’t feel I get any leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul. God of the universe wants to restore our soul. And yet he can’t restore it if we don’t even recognize that we need to have Sabbath to have time with him each day, each week. Maybe quarterly get extended time away with him.
Pauly [00:19:22] That’s right. If we don’t get the quiet time with him, we don’t have that opportunity to have quality time with him.
Alan [00:19:30] So we’re talking this is Walking Our Talk and if you want more information, get some resources and stuff. Please go to our Web site: walkandtalk.org.
Alan [00:19:45] And we’ve been talking about how to spend time with God. Ari Tory, a preacher from another generation said we are too busy to pray and so we’re too busy to have power. We have a great deal of activity, but we accomplish little. Many services, but few conversations, much machinery, but few results. So that was from the nineteen hundreds, I believe. So, you know, this problem has been the same. No matter wherever you are. The human condition is one of we want to be busy, we want to be Martha instead of Mary. So I’d encourage you take time to spend with the Lord, not just in study, not just for what you can get, but just to listen to him and say, Lord, hear me.
Alan [00:20:33] So this has been Walking Our Talk and we look forward to seeing you next time. Actually, we won’t see you. We’ll probably hear you keep walking your talk.
Pauly [00:20:43] This has been walking our talk with Alan and Pauly Heller, where we put into action those principles. We know from God’s word one step at a time. You can find more help at our Web site: walkandtalk.org.