The demands of full-time ministry will always exceed our capacity to respond. We could serve people and the mission of the church from the moment we wake up until our head hits the pillow in the evening. You might disagree with me, but I don’t think God only wants our service. In fact, I believe that before he wants our hard work, he wants our heart and our sole attention.
Before Jesus rushed into the needs of the day and ministering to people, he got alone and sought God. In Mark 1:35 it reads: “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” Jesus had a habit of seeking God before he served people for him. As leaders in ministry, we need to make sure we model this same behavior – seeking God before we serve on behalf of God.
Serving God without seeking him is like working out on an empty stomach – there is no benefit. We have to make a commitment daily to seek God in the sacred place. This is not a post about how to seek but rather when and where to seek him.
The sacred place should never be second place.
Start early. I’m a huge fan of encouraging people to seek God in the morning – after all, Jesus did. I grew up in a church culture that encouraged you to “find a time of day that works best for you,” but I’ve grown to disagree with this teaching. Visiting the sacred place is not about our daily plan – it’s about his plan for our day. Your ability to visit the sacred place in the morning will determine the direction of the rest of your day.
Do you control your schedule or does your schedule control you? I know moms who wake 30 minutes before their children to start their day with God and dads who are found reading their Bible at the kitchen table first thing in the morning. For me, spending time in the sacred place requires scheduled time.
The sacred place should never be just anyplace.
Jesus left the house and went to a solitary place to pray and the Gospels record him doing this often. Too many Christians have attempted to hit the easy button on communing with God. I’m not saying that listening to God’s word while driving is bad, I just don’t believe that it is enough. The sacred place should be a place where distractions are extremely limited, and where one can focus solely on the Holy Spirit’s presence. Everyone is seeking more quiet spaces: a recent NBC poll showed that 81% of Americans confirm they need more quiet in their lives. Intentionally creating a place to commune with God could radically change how clearly you hear his voice and sense his presence.
Regularly visiting a specific, routine sacred place in your home or outdoors can totally change how you approach your time with the Lord. While the actual location of the sacred place may move from time to time, we cannot neglect to visit it altogether. Ignoring the sacred place reveals a hole in our theology, that we can work apart from the Holy Spirit’s work in us.
Make it your highest ambition to know God rather than to serve God. Lance Witt
What about you? Is there a time of day or a special place that has kept your sacred place active and alive?