“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens...”
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It‘s an interesting time to be alive. A time when we’re being told how to move, how to behave and how to interact with others. A time to abide by the rules, no matter how restrictive they seem, for the sake of humanity.
The Coronavirus has sent the world into hysterics and may be the beginning of a new normal. This pandemic has pushed people beyond their limits, tested our sanity and brought out the worst in some. There’s nothing like a global crisis to reveal the true colours of humanity. Will we band together in unity and support one another or will it be every person for themselves (cue the side eye)? Time will tell. My prayer is that, particularly for those of us who are believers, we would put aside our own self-interest and be the light during these dark times. That we would seize this opportunity to point people to the only One who supplies us with perfect peace in the midst of calamity - Jesus. May we come together with one voice, one mission and see hope restored in our world.
“How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!” | Psalm 133:1
As much as we need to be intentional with maintaining connection with one another (praise Jesus for technology!) I believe that there is also blessing in this period of isolation. Sure, it’s an opportunity to slow down, get some much needed R&R and reflect on our priorities. But even more so, it’s an opportunity for us to re-connect with the Lord. I don’t mean that brief prayer in the morning full of requests or that single verse bible reading plan to tick a box, before we go about our day without giving God another thought. I mean deep, dedicated, uninterrupted connection with the One to whom we owe everything.
With orders to stay at home as much as possible and the closure of many public and private services, gone are our excuses that we’re “too busy” to give God our time. There are 3 spiritual disciplines in particular that I believe should be cultivated when in isolation:
With our increasing connectedness, we have grown so used to constantly being around others that we’ve become uncomfortable with being alone. I can’t tell you how many times people have asked me if I get lonely living by myself and look at me with pity, as if being alone is a curse rather than a blessing! I beg to differ. In fact, my living situation has made it easier for me to practice the discipline of solitude and something I look forward to when life gets crazy. I even schedule a Saturday of Solitude ahead of time to ensure I don’t miss out!
There is a difference between loneliness and solitude.
“Loneliness is inner emptiness. Solitude is inner fulfilment” Richard Foster
Solitude creates a temporary margin between us and others, creating more space to meet with God. Over the last few years of solo living, my default has become going to God on every issue because even if no one else is around, He is! If you don’t believe me, I encourage you to try it for yourself.
Jesus himself set this example for us on the numerous occasions he withdrew from the crowds:
“When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place...” | Matthew 14:13
“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.” | Mark 1:35
“At daybreak, Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them.” | Luke 4:42
2. Private Worship
Many of us are familiar with the discipline of worship. We have our favourite worship songs to which we lose all inhibitions when we hear it on a Sunday, like “that’s my jam!” Yet we seem to limit worship to a Sunday service rather than engage in worship throughout the week. We hold corporate worship in high regard and miss the importance of private worship.
“Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshippers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshippers the Father seeks.” | John 4:23
There’s something sacred about private worship. It’s those intimate moments shared between you and God. It’s raw. It’s vulnerable. It’s real. Authentic worship doesn’t rely on the worship leader to get you in the mood or the band and lights to set the right atmosphere. Worship is our response to the overwhelming love of God. It’s an invitation from God to soak in His glory. The more we engage in private worship, the more we bring to those powerful moments of corporate worship on a Sunday.
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So, turn on that Spotify worship playlist and simply sit. Watch that YouTube video of live worship and belt your heart out. Bring out that guitar and serenade the Lord with those acoustics. Trust me, you’ll walk away feeling full.
Prayer is a beautiful exchange with the Lord. Like communication with friends or family, prayer nurtures our relationship with God. It’s a way of inviting God into our day, into our messes and into our triumphs. As we pray the will of God, our hearts are transformed to reflect the heart of God.
Despite knowing the power of prayer, we can so easily form the habit of praying only when we need something rather than praying before we do anything. I’m as guilty of this as the next person, life gets full and as a result our prayer time becomes shorter and shorter. What if we scheduled a non-negotiable time for prayer each day? What if prayer became as much of a necessity as eating our main meals?
Prayer is an opportunity for us to partner with God to see our world changed for the better. There’s no better time than the present!
“Obviously, God can do anything He chooses without anyone’s help, but He has committed Himself to partnership with His children and that is amazing. If we want to do much for God, then we must ask much of God...” | Joyce Meyer
Let’s come together in agreement and prioritise prayer. Pray for our world leaders, our health care workers, our teachers, those who are vulnerable and those who are unwell. May God hear our prayers and heal our land!
“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” | James 5:16
If you made it this far through the post, thank you. Thank you for taking time out of your day to read. I pray that this has both encouraged and challenged you (in a good way). I also pray that these tough times draw you closer than ever to God.
Please stay at home and wash your hands! As someone with a compromised immune system, thank you for your obedience!
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