Part 1 of 3 in our summer series: Staying Connected to The Power of One
Before entering the ministry, I worked in a different industry. Our team had multiple meetings throughout the week, one of which was sort of the "holy grail" of meetings: our weekly conference call.
Every Tuesday at 3pm, our team members called in. And every Tuesday at the end, our boss would remind everyone to be on the conference call the following week by reciting the old phrase from the 1960s Adam West Batman TV show, “Same bat-time, same bat-channel.”
No matter how busy the weeks got, nothing could ever crowd out that meeting. As a result, the meetings continued, plans got made, and our business ran well. In many ways, having the same time and place to connect to God can be the difference between consistency and excellence, and inconsistency and mediocrity.
having the same time and place to connect to God can be the difference between consistency and excellence, and inconsistency and mediocrity
As we enter the summer, we will all encounter various obstacles to spending time alone with God. For many of us, summer is a somewhat more carefree time than the rest of the year. It's a season of relative ease and enjoyment with substantially less stress than at other times of the year.
The only problem with this slower season is that often times our stress, challenges and trials serve as a great catalyst for us to pursue Christ. We sense our need for Him more. We feel the need to be refueled by His word more. We have a more pronounced need to unburden ourselves to him through prayer.
But if we are not careful, the summer can dull our senses and convince us that our need for time with God is somehow diminished. Between vacations, school getting out, and time off, maintaining any sort of regularity with prayer and Bible reading can be difficult. Spiritual growth never happens by accident, but this is especially true in the summer months. If we are not intentional about guarding our time with God, it will fall by the wayside.
Spiritual growth never happens by accident, but this is especially true in the summer months. If we are not intentional about guarding our time with God, it will fall by the wayside.
Let me challenge you to have the same simple approach to encountering God that my former boss did with our weekly conference call—"same bat-time, same bat-channel."
- Look at your schedule, decide what is the most ideal time of day to meet with the Lord, and block it off on your calendar.
Go a step further and set a daily reminder or alarm on your phone or computer.
- If possible, stick with a consistent venue as much as is possible.
Find a location that is as distraction free as possible and do your best to meet with the Lord there regularly. For me it is a long walk in the morning spent praying, listening to the Bible, and occasionally listening to some worshipful music.
- Use a tool, like our quarterly Prayer Guide or a Bible reading plan, to help you stay on track.
In addition to the annual Bible reading plan Shandon provides at the beginning of each year, we also provide a 3-month Prayer Guide every quarter that also includes the Bible reading assignments for those 3 months. Our third quarter Prayer Guides (July-September) will be available in the Gathering Place starting this Sunday. These have proven to be an invaluable tool to many in our church who have found it helpful to focus, stretch and grow their prayer lives.
Pick one up this Sunday or the following Sunday and join us in reading the Bible and praying daily. Whether you started reading through the Bible in January and stopped at some point, or you've never taken up the challenge, you can start July 1!
I pray that daily time with the Lord in prayer and in His Word will prove to be a difference maker in your relationship with Christ this summer.
Mat Saxon, Minister of Adults & Prayer