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Generation to Generation: Taking Time to Talk with God

Each week  we’ll be writing about different ways that we, as leaders, can effectively be examples to our students,  and we’ll discuss different topics to talk over with our students.  These topics range from relationships to being active in a small group. All of these topics are nuggets every leader can apply to his or her life. It’s our hope that you’ll check back to see what next week’s topic is, and that you can apply what we’ve learned in your own life as a fellow volunteer youth worker.

He shows mercy from generation to generation to all who fear him.” Luke 1:50

Today’s blog is about the importance of spending Time with God each day

One of the most powerful tools you can use as a volunteer youth leader to strengthen your connection with God is to spend some daily time with Him.  For some that may be Bible reading, prayer, or both.  You also need to find a “quiet time” to spend, just you and God, where you pray and listen for God to guide and direct you. Quiet times reveal so much about your relationship with God, and it’s the clearest way to open the communication lines with Him.  If you’re spending time with God on a daily basis, then you will know how important it is for students to spend time with God each day.  It might be five minutes or it might be an hour, the amount of time is not important. What is important is that you take time out of your life each day to spend with God. This is yet another way that we can pass on what we know as leaders from generation to generation.

Matt: Quiet time for me has turned into a part of my daily routine.  It didn’t use to be. I would hear people talk about their quiet time think to myself, “I need to do that someday.”  I would do a quiet time for about five minutes every day….for about three or four days and then slowly I would find less and less time as my daily life intruded into my quiet time.  Then about a year ago, that all changed.  At first, I literally scheduled into Outlook my quiet time each night so I made sure I had time blocked out.  Yes, I am that regimented, don’t judge me!  Soon my quiet time went from five minutes to fifteen minutes and then to a half hour.  Now my quiet time that I spend with God will vary from 15 minutes to 45 minutes.  I begin by reading my bible, usually looking for verses that have to do with how my day went.  I then pray and after that I just lay quietly and listen for God.  If you’ve never done that, listened for God, it might take a while to realize when he is guiding or directing you, but over time I have learned to know when he is speaking to me.  It’s not a loud James Earl Jones voice, it’s more like thoughts and ideas that come to me.  I have learned to decipher where He wants me to go, or what He wants me to do.  Each day, before I get out of bed I say a short prayer.  “God, today help me to know You more and love You more.”  The end of my day is when I spend the bulk of my quiet time.  It might be different for you, you might have more time in the morning or in the middle of your day.  It’s not important when you do it, it’s important that you do it.  Each week with my Small Group students, I’ll pass on something that happened to me during my quiet time that week.  It’s my way of showing them how important quiet time with God is to me, and my way of passing down the importance of quiet time from generation to generation.

Steven: Quiet times are the single most important thing that I’ve been doing in just the last sixth months. They used to be something for me that I would have to force myself to do, but even then it wouldn’t be very productive. These days, I look forward to pulling out my Bible and reading God’s word, then talking to Him about it after. One of the things I do is make sure that I never go to bed without spending time by myself hanging out with God. If I don’t get to it before the day is over, I’m going to spend time right before I go to bed. Even though we’re supposed to give the BEST time of our day to God, sometimes I just have no time during the day, so it has to wait until the end. The point is, I still take time to spend ONLY with God. I do my best to turn off all the distractions – my phone, my TV, my email, everything. I do my journaling at the end of the day on my computer, but even then I turn off my internet so I don’t get distracted by Facebook or Twitter.

One of the things I’ve learned that is so important when I do my quiet times is to talk WITH God, not TO God. Prayer is a conversation, so we should be spending as much time listening for what God has to tell us as we do talking to Him. A lot of people, including myself, are fine with the prayer part and we can talk to God forever, but it’s sometimes difficult to listen to what He has to say. I’ve gotten some of the best instruction from Him just by making sure I spend as much time listening as talking. I don’t want to cheat God out of His time communicating with me just because I don’t audibly hear anything coming from the heavens in James Earl Jones’ voice. If you give God a chance to speak to you, He will. He just needs the opportunity and He will show up big time.

Editor’s note: When we write these blog posts, we write our individual parts completely separate from each other. Today’s post just goes to show how interconnected our brains are… we both used a James Earl Jones reference!

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dennisbeckner@churchleaders.com'
Dennis Beckner has served in youth ministry leadership for Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, CA since 1999. Dennis is a contributor and speaker to youth training events, writing projects and other engagements. Contact him at his blog, VolunteerYouthMinistry.com.