This session was recently prepared for the pastors’ wives at the National Church Planters’ Conference in Mentor Ohio, sponsored by ARCH Ministries. These sessions were adapted from my ladies’ Sunday School series on Biblical Womanhood created for Meadowlands Baptist Church of Edmonton.
Spending time each day with God in personal study, prayer, and worship is called by many names including: a walk with God, having devotions, meeting with the Lord, spending time with God, or having a quiet time.
When we spend time privately communing with God do we delight in that time together? Why, do you ask, are you addressing pastor’s wives on this topic? Aren’t they among the spiritual giants of the church who don’t need to hear this? I may be ‘preaching to the choir’ but in my years in ministry this spiritual practice has at times been a struggle for me and other missionary and pastor’s wives due to our busy schedules and the burdens of the ministry. It’s profitable for us to be reminded not only of our need to walk with God, but to also delight in it.
My devotional time is a specific time set aside each day to meet with God for the purpose of communicating with our Lord – to listen to what He has to say to us through the Bible, and to talk with Him in prayer. The goal of a daily devotional time is to worship God and to grow in the Lord – to adjust our thinking and behavior- as we read how He expects us to conduct ourselves as believers in this world. Too many times we can find ourselves, as my former pastor’s wife used to say, “dragging our eyeballs across the page” when reading God’s word, and not deriving any benefit from it.
So how can we delight in our walk with God? First, we need to define what the word “delight” means. The definition of delight is: to give great pleasure or, a high degree of gratification; to take great pleasure or joy. The scriptures speak of God delighting in His children and of believers delighting in God. Do we take great pleasure in spending time with God?
God Delights in Us and We Delight in Him
God delights in the obedience of His children. Who can forget the scathing words of Samuel the prophet to Saul as the disobedient king tries to justify his actions? “Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.” (1 Samuel 15:22.) We are told several times in the Proverbs that God delights in the prayers and right behavior of His children. (Proverbs 11:20; Proverbs 12:22; Proverbs 15:8.)
God delights simply in those who are His children. Don’t we as parents delight in our children? Our God delights even more in us. (2 Samuel 22:20 & Psalm 18:19 and Psalm 16:3.)
Not only does God delight in His children, but His children delight in the person of God (Job 22:26; Isaiah 58:14; Psalm 37:4,) His attributes (Nehemiah 9:25: Psalm 94:19,) and His presence (Isaiah 58:2.)
There are many verses which speak of the believer’s delight in God’s Word. His law Psalm 1:2; Psalm 119:70, 77, 92, 174; Romans 7:22,) His commandments (Psalm 112:1; Psalm 119:35, 47, 143,) His way (Psalm 37:23,) His will (Psalm 40:8,) His statutes (Psalm 119:16,) and His testimonies (Psalm 119:24) are aspects of God which we should delight in.
All believers should have a daily walk with God. This is a personal, daily, intimate communication with my God where we listen to what God says to us through the Word and speak to Him in prayer. How much more important this should be for those in spiritual leadership.
Meditating on God’s Word
When we listen to the voice of God through reading and studying His Word, the Bible, we need to meditate or think carefully about the words we read. To help us understand what we are reading it helps to ask the following questions: What does the passage say? What is the setting and why are these things happening? What lessons are taught here? How does this principle or lesson apply to me?
The Bible tells us that this process of meditation has results. Your meditations indicate what kind of person you are (Proverbs 23:7 – As a man thinketh in his heart so is he.) We are instructed to place our thinking under the control of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5 – Bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.) In addition, believers are reminded to continually meditate on God’s word (Psalm 1:1-2 – meditate day and night; Joshua 1:8 – meditate therein day and night.)
When memorizing a verse or portion of a verse, it helps to think on it throughout the day. We first read the verse, then repeat the verse, then practice saying or writing the verse, then quote the verse from memory.
Prayer Is Talking with God
Not only does God speak to us and reveal His will for believers through His Word, we have the opportunity to speak with Him and communicate with our creator and Savior. Prayer is talking with God. God did not appreciate the stilted self-righteous prayers of the Pharisees, nor does He rejoice in the impersonal rote prayers of His children today.
Prayer is not just talking for the sake of talking. When we pray we are talking with the One who created us and intimately knows us. He understands our innermost thoughts, desires, and struggles. We need to lay out our heartfelt burdens before Him, as He deeply cares for us and delights to help us.
Praise and Adoration Brings God Delight
Our prayers should first be full of praise for God and His attributes. Too often we minimize this step because our hearts are burdened or we are in a hurry. We should thank Him for His care and His answers to prayer. We must also search our hearts and confess any sin we discover or know of to Him. Not only are we to take our own burdens to the Lord in prayer, we are to remember the burdens of others before God’s throne.
Part of our devotional time should be dedicated to worshipping God through praise and adoration. It is encouraging to sing, read or quote hymns as part of your devotions. Why not take a few minutes and rehearse some of His many attributes and praise Him for them? He is Holy, Just, Omnipotent, Omnipresent, Infinite, Immutable, Eternal, Loving, Merciful, Good, Sovereign, and many more things for which He should receive glory.
Each life is launched down the stream of life. Our walk with the Lord provides delightful fresh, flowing water to help propel us down that stream. The stream bed is full of boulders, logs, garbage, and sandbars. When we do not walk with the Lord consistently the water level drops so that the obstacles stick up and strike our boat as we pass by, causing us trouble. When we walk with God as we should – when we spend time knowing Him, and praising Him, and speaking to Him in prayer, and growing more like Him – our stream is full and flowing. The obstacles are still there, but our walk with God lifts us over them and bears us through them so they do not hurt and damage us the same way.
By God’s grace let us take time each day to walk with our God and delight in Him.
Collier, Mardi. What Do I Know About My God? Greenville, SC: JourneyForth, 2006.
Collins, Nell. To Glorify God. Indianapolis: Colonial Hills Baptist Church, 1999.
DeMoss, Nancy Leigh. A Place of Quiet Rest Journal. Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2005.
DeMoss, Nancy Leigh. A Place of Quiet Rest. Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2000.
DeMoss, Nancy Leigh. Seeking Him: Experiencing the Joy of Personal Revival. Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2004.
Pope, Janet. His Word in My Heart. Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2002.
Ryle, J. C. “How Readest Thou?” Moscow, Idaho: Charles Nolan Publishers, nd.