For many, the vast majority of their time with God is in a public setting — either in church, Bible study, or prayer meetings. However, we need as much substance beneath the surface of our lives as we have above the surface.
Deep roots create stability and confidence in times when winds buffet us. There can be tranquility and serenity deep within us because we have tapped into the source of strength. When everything in our Christian experience is above the ground, we have very little depth of stability. No wonder we lack confidence in God. We can be so easily tossed back and forth.
It is in the quiet times in the presence of the Lord worshiping, waiting, praising, and listening that we enter the highest levels of prayer. We have left business outside the door and simply opened ourselves to commune with our Father. These are the times God will speak to us and show us His wisdom and His will. Notice Psalm 81:13-16, again from the Moffatt translation:
“Oh that my people would listen to me, that Israel would live my life! I would soon subdue their foes, and strike at their oppressors; those who hate them would cower before them, in unending terror; and I would feed them with the finest wheat, with honey from the rock to their heart’s content.”
God makes clear what we will experience if we will listen! Our enemy would be subdued, and God would supply us with the finest in life. The Lord offers His wisdom and direction when we reach out and obtain it. It comes to us when we listen and follow as He leads.
We find many references in the life of Jesus where time alone to hear from His Heavenly Father was vital. In fact, His life was characterized by continually looking to His Father for guidance, direction, and fellowship. The night before He chose His twelve disciples, He went alone to the mountains to pray. He said, “…the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner” (John 5:19). Jesus would see what the Father did as He separated Himself to be alone in prayer.
Communion with God sharpens our sensitivity to Him and to other people. G. C. Bevington was a man who deeply understood this. He was an itinerant preacher who lived around the turn of the twentieth century. On one occasion he went to the woods to get the mind of God. He felt impressed to go to a certain town and conduct evangelistic meetings, but he wanted to be sure he was being led by the Lord.
He said, “I continued to wait long before God, so as to be definite and sure. I spent 48 hours longer in this commodious hotel — the hollow log — making 120 hours, getting things straight from headquarters. I tell you it pays to know what we are doing when it comes to dealing with God. This is where the trouble is with so many; they jump to conclusions when they should go slow.”
He spent five days in a hollow log alone in the presence of God to obtain complete confidence that he was hearing from Heaven. Another time he spent nine days under an oak tree in prayer. Of that instance he said, “You may ask, ‘Why did it take nine days to get an answer?’ Simply because I could not get still enough any sooner.”
If we want to be confident we are hearing the right direction from the Lord we must be willing to wait. Kenneth E. Hagin said, “If you are willing to wait forever, it won’t take very long.”