Written by Joe Watson. Media by Max Gensler
Waking up at seven in the morning when you don’t have class until eleven o’clock may seem foolish to a lot of college students, but in order for me to finish everything I have to do for the day, it is required of me. The two most important things that are a part of my day are reading my Bible and prayer. These two things may seem simple, but I am sure there are plenty of students here at Greenville College who don’t partake in these two daily rituals. For those of you who go to St. Paul’s every morning, I commend you. Although, I would suggest some reading of the Bible on your own time. I still find that it boils down to being the same sort of discipline. If anything, it may be better since you are doing it in a communal setting.
For those of you who think it isn’t important to do these things, I have to ask one question: What was Jesus doing when he wasn’t a part of ministry? I think you’ll find two things in the gospels. For one, when Jesus is not with the disciples, he prays. Secondly, when Jesus is away from his disciples he is intentional of doing so.
We see this clearly in Matthew 14:23 “After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone.” Of course, this is not to say Jesus didn’t pray with the disciples. Instead, he was disciplined in finding a time to pray and seek God while alone. If it was important for Jesus in the first century, then I am more than sure it is important for those of us now who live busy college lives
In the age that we live, it is easy to excuse your way out of spending alone time with God. Woke up late today? Oh, well just pull up your Bible app on your phone, and fix it by spending 5 minutes reading and pray for only a few minutes as you walk to class or go to work. Feel anxious about getting your paper done? Don’t worry, God can wait one day because he is omniscient and knows what I want anyway right? Wrong! This is a terrible way to think of your spiritual discipline. I feel like this is something most Christians understand they should be doing, but we love to find ways to be distracted from anything boring, or mundane. Even as I write this article, I find myself wanting to get on Reddit or facebook, but, of course, I just tell myself “I just need a little break to revitalize me.” That’s a load of horse dung! I’m just trying to escape being bored!
What is the solution then? How do we find ways to make sure we are finding alone time with God in the midst of all the great pithy disturbances we love to consume ourselves with? I find the greatest way to do so is to set yourself up for success. I am reminded of a revelation I had recently. I noticed when I go to sleep with my phone next to me, I almost always waited until the very last moment to wake up. Since I wanted to be consistent about getting my prayer and bible time, I decided to put the phone on my desk across the room where I would have to get up to turn off my alarm. Now, I wake up almost every time my alarm goes off, and after it is shut off, I get ready to read my Bible and pray before I have to start my day.
In my Western Christianity class this past spring, I was always used to be annoyed by something my professor would say. Now, I see its importance in everyday life which, in my opinion, is one of the greatest gifts of the class. Dr. Hartley, when talking about early Christianity, would always ask the question, “What is at stake?” Which is what I think we should be asking ourselves when it comes to leading a life of discipline and repetition. Some might think I am advocating a form of legalism. I would say of course not! The point of prayer and reading your Bible is not so you can appease God. If that is how you are approaching your time in prayer, I would have to say you probably aren’t seeing much of the Christian walk with the right lens. It ought to be your joy to do so! Is it always easy? I would be lying if I said yes. However, if you approach these alone times with God as sacred, then you will find that it is almost always rewarding in some sense. God is always looking to be your source of joy and contentment and you should read your Bible and pray to seek him as though you believe this with all your heart. .