Tom Lane

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28
Aug
2012

Me, God, and Mickey D’s

Written by Tom Lane  |  Found in: Main Articles

Most mornings I begin my day by meeting with God at McDonalds. 

 One of the most important disciplines we can develop as followers of Christ is to have a consistent quiet time.  “Quiet Time” is a term that describes a set apart time to read the bible, meditate on God’s word, and talk to God in prayer.  When I first committed my life to Christ and began to develop my relationship with Him I was told by mentors of the importance of a “quiet time” in developing my relationship with Christ. 

 

When my mentors and other respected believers talked about their own “quiet time” I realized that it was as individual as the people doing it; some had it in the morning, some did it during the day or before they went to bed.  The length of time varied along with the format.  I came to understand the individual nature of a “quiet time” is reflective of the friendship with God it reflects.  Method and form always take a back seat in friendship to individual connection of heart between friends.  At its core a “quiet time” is a set apart time to connect with God our father, savior, and friend.

So, I worked to establish a “quiet time” but struggled with the quality and consistency of my connection with God.  I found that if I didn’t start my day with a set apart time to connect with God it didn’t happen.  Unless I put it first in my day I was inconsistent in making it happen at all.  If I stayed up late, when my alarm went off, I chose to sleep until the last minute and by-pass “quiet time” that morning.  When I forced myself to get up and go into the other room I was asleep in the chair I set in before I finished the first verse or sentence of my prayer and the connection with God I was seeking was replaced by additional sleep. 

I also needed structure in my “quiet time.”  On the days when “quiet time” took place it was more a duty than an exciting aspect of my growing relationship with God.  It didn’t seem to serve a productive purpose to let the bible flop open randomly as a method for determining where I should read that day.  Nor did I feel that my prayers accomplished much when they lacked a guided focus but were the result of a manufactured list of items to be covered.  In short my “quiet time” was boring and lacked both focus and purpose.

Over the years my friend Jimmy Evans talked about how he journaled as a part of his “quiet time” and he had encouraged me to do the same.  Out of the frustration and dissatisfaction I felt I asked him to tell me again about what he did with journaling so he explained how it gave structure to his time with God.    How it enabled him to talk with God and record what He said to him.  I was desperate for something different that would help me find quality time with God and something I could do consistently and joyfully. 

I made my first attempt at journaling as part of my “quiet time.”  It amounted to a diary with God’s name on it.   I made myself sit down and tell God, as I wrote in my “God Diary”, all that happened in the previous day and how I felt.  If I missed a day I felt I had to remember and catch up to record what took place.  It was laborious, lifeless, and worse than the non-system I used previously.  This method of journaling didn’t resolve my “quiet time” issues with inconsistency, lack of systematic bible reading, and non-focused prayer.  I remained frustrated but pushed forward determined to find an answer.  I had come to realize that I needed a place to go away from my house and work responsibilities so I could focus on God and I needed a format to follow that really helped deepen my relationship with Him. 

That is where McDonalds comes in to the picture.  As I sought to find and connect the pieces of an effective quiet time I started looking for a place to go that was open early in the morning.  Preferably a place I could go even when I was out of town.  McDonalds become that place.  When I began, breakfast was not my favorite meal of the day, but that changed as I deepened my friendship with God through a consistent quality time with Him.  The second piece was a format to follow.  I found the Victory Bible Reading Plan (a small pamphlet that identifies a chapter in Psalms or Proverbs, 2 Chapters in the Old Testament, and 1 Chapter in the New Testament for each day of the year and if followed enables the reader to completely read through the bible in a year) and incorporated it into my quiet time routine. 

 

I changed my approach to journaling from recording the events of my life into my “God’s Diary”, to writing my prayers to God in a journal; recording things I felt He was saying to me, about situations I was dealing with, and about my family.  What had been difficult and lifeless became powerful and engaging with this new approach.  I began developing this process over twenty years ago.   When I began I thought it had to be legalistically enforced to be effective but, as with all things, legalism kills.  Through this process my time with God began to be life giving reflecting a friendship with Him.  If I miss a day the world doesn’t end I just miss a time with my God and friend and I come back to it the next day or as quickly as I can. 

 

I start my time with God by reading scripture and I take a verse from my reading and that begins my journal entry for the day.  My prayer follows a simple format: I express my love and worship to God, I affirm my commitment and surrender to Him, I pray for my needs and concerns as I listen and record His comments impressed on my heart as we speak (communicating with God is two way communication), I acknowledge my sin and forgive people who have hurt me.

 

I now have journals going back fifteen or twenty years.  In the last few years I have begun using my laptop to journal recording my journaling in a word file.  I file the entries by month and year for easy review and retrieval.  It is fun to go back and read journal entries from years or months past as it gives a chronology of my growing relationship with God and records specific things He has said to me about events in my life.

 

Have you got a place and a format that works to help you build and deepen your relationship with God?  Here are a few steps to help you get started:

 

  1. Find a private place to meet God.
  2. Select a bible reading plan to make sure you read the whole bible.
  3. Meditate on God’s word in addition to reading it.  It is the only book that reads you as you read it.
  4. Use a journal to write your prayers and record God’s words to you.
  5. Enjoy the time as a part of developing your relationship with God.

 

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