Summary: This sermon looks at three aspects of Developing A Quiet Time with God. I. The IMPORTANCE of a q Quiet Time II. The ELEMENTS of a Quiet Time III. The PURPOSE of a Quiet Time (Sermon 4 in this series)
Building A Relationship With God – Developing A Quiet Time
This morning I am going to break one of the rules of good communication. When I was working on my degree in public communication one of the first things I was told was – never begin a speech (or a sermon) with an apology. This morning I want to apologize to you. Last week I preached a sermon titled: “The Bible – God’s Word For Discipleship”. I began that sermon by saying: “There is no Spiritual Discipline more important to the Christian, than the intake of God’s Word.” Folks as I have reflected this week on the importance of developing a quiet time with God – I realize that the top spiritual discipline – the one that we must work building above any other - is building a relationship with God – developing a quiet time. Why do I say this? I say this – because as I have reflected this week – all the other Spiritual Disciplines are dependent of your Quiet Time with God. During your quiet time with God – you can read your Bible – study your Bible – meditate on God’s word – memorize God’s word – pray – fast – sing – dance – laugh – cry – praise – lament – basically enjoy the presence of God in your life. Building a relationship with God is the most important aspect of your spiritual development. Without developing your relationship with God all other spiriutal disciples become academic and ritualistic. It is your relationship with God - that will bring life to your Bible study, meditation, prayers and fasting. Without a reltionship with God you will be powerless.
Around 1610 a child was born in France by the name man Nichols Herman. Later in life he would become known as Brother Lawrence. As a young man he fought in the Thirty Years War and sustained a near fatal His injury to his sciatic nerve. The injury left him quite crippled and in chronic pain for the rest of his life. Young Nichols was educated both at home and by his parish priest. He felt drawn to a life of faith and love for God.
Before entering the monastic life – he spent a period of time in the wilderness living like one of the early desert fathers. At mid-life he entered a newly established monastery in Paris where he became the cook for the community. In time the monastery grew to over one hundred members. After fifteen years, his duties were shifted to the sandal repair shop but, even then, he often returned to the busy kitchen to help out.
Brother Lawrence discovered and followed – a pure and uncomplicated way to walk continually in God’s presence - to maintain a quiet time with God throughout the day – no matter what his schedule had in store for him. For some forty years, he lived and walked with the understand that God was at his side. Yet, through his own words, we learn that Brother Lawrence’s first ten years were full of severe trials and challenges.
A gentle man of joyful spirit, Brother Lawrence shunned attention and the limelight, knowing that outside distractions "spoils all". It was not until after his death that a few of his letters were collected. Joseph de Beaufort, counsel to the Paris archbishop, first published the letters in a small pamphlet. The following year, in a second publication which he titled, ’The Practice of the Presence of God’, de Beaufort included, as introductory material, the content of four conversations he had with Brother Lawrence.
In this small book, through letters and conversations, Brother Lawrence simply and beautifully explains how to continually walk with God - not from the head but from the heart. Brother Lawrence left the gift of a way of life available to anyone who seeks to know God’s peace and presence - that anyone, regardless of age or circumstance, can practice – anywhere – anytime. Brother Lawrence also left the gift of a direct approach to living in God’s presence that is as practical today as it was three hundred years ago.
Brother Lawrence died in 1691, having practiced God’s presence for over forty years. His quiet death was much like his monastic life where each day and each hour was a new beginning and a fresh commitment to love God with all his heart.
Folks – Brother Lawrence demonstrated the importance of maintaining a relationship with God. I don’t expect all of us to go out and join a monastery – but I do ask you to spend some quality time – each day with God.
If there were one word to explain the American culture today I would use the word – “Busy”. We fill our calendars with all types of stuff – we are constantly doing something – activities that keep our lives running and rushing from one event to another – yet God calls us to spend some quality time each day with Him. No relationship is more important than your relationship with God. None! How much time in your busy daily routine do you put aside to spend quality time with your Heavenly Father?