September 12, 2013
As you think about bringing your friends, neighbors and family members to Christ through My Hope America, spiritual preparation and sharpness are crucial! Billy Graham knew and practiced time alone with God every day, so he could be ready for the spiritual challenges. Here is a core teaching that he repeated time and again when he instructed his team and the local believers in how to prepare for a major evangelistic outreach.
By Billy Graham
If I could only give one piece of advice to a new Christian, it would be this: Develop the discipline of spending time alone with God every day. Whether you call it your quiet time or daily devotions or some other term, there is no substitute for a daily time alone with God.
How can you develop this practice?
First, set aside a time. Yes, it may seem impossible to find even ten extra minutes in your busy day. But the real question is this: how important to you is your relationship with God? You find time for meals and other things you think important. Every day has exactly 1,440 minutes; can’t you find even ten of them to be with your heavenly Father? Don’t wait until you have some spare time; you’ll probably never have any! Instead, set aside a regular time each day, a time when you are fresh and won’t be interrupted (even if it’s only a few minutes at first). Don’t wait until you’re too sleepy or too preoccupied. Doesn’t God deserve the best minutes of our day?
Second, have a pattern. My daily quiet time always includes at least three things: Bible reading, prayer, and reflection (or meditation). From time to time, I may vary the order or spend more time on one than another, but all three are important to me. When we read the Bible, God speaks to us – and we need to hear His voice. When God speaks to us, He should have our full attention. Prayer and reflection are likewise important. When we pray, we speak to God – and we need to share our deepest joys and burdens with Him. When we reflect, we meditate on God’s Word, and we ask God to help us apply it to our lives.
Finally, practice God’s presence all day long. The psalmist said, “Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long” (Psalm 119:97). The Bible tells us to “pray continually” (I Thessalonians 5:17). When I talk with someone, I often find myself praying silently for them. Frequently during the day, a Bible verse I read that morning will come into my mind. If something unexpected comes up, I can commit it immediately to God and seek His wisdom. The Bible says, “The LORD is near to all who call on him” (Psalm 145:18). Learn to practice God’s presence every waking hour.
*Excerpt from The Journey: How to Live By Faith in an Uncertain World by Billy Graham.
As you spend time daily alone with God, continue to pray by name for those in your life – and on your Matthew list – who need to begin a relationship with Jesus Christ. Ask God to provide you with opportunities to reach out to them.