It is amazing to me how much American culture has transformed in the last 20 years as a result of the internet and cell phones. It has changed the nature of our relationships with people and it has changed how we use our time. People seem to fill every moment of the day with activity, much of it including some kind of electronic device, at least in the periphery.
This shift, unfortunately, has seemed to adversely impact the spiritual life of many of the people who follow Jesus. Our attention spans are shorter than they used to be, and it has become much more difficult to find uninterrupted time with which to focus on talking and listening to God.
Prayer has always been an essential component of the life of faith. Even in a busy world, most of us still manage to shoot up emergency prayers for help for ourselves or others in desperate situations. But fewer of us are making time to actually listen to God speak to us, and the time we devote to listening is shorter than it used to be. This is our loss, because the deeper things — the life-changing things — that God would say to us are often said in these times of purposeful, active listening.
And it grieves God’s heart! He made humans to have fellowship with him. He sent Jesus so that we might be reconciled to him — that the depth of relationship with him might be restored. He want us to share our hearts with him and listen so that he might share his heart with us. It is in this connection that true spiritual formation takes place in our lives in which we are transformed into his likeness. It is through our connection to his heart that we are rejuvenated.
So how do we get reconnected to what we’ve been missing out on? Here is a simple proposition that will get us started: have a cup o’ joe with Jesus every morning. (I don’t get paid by the coffee industry, so feel free to have a tea, hot water, or anything else that will let you pause from the fast pace of life.) Just calm your heart, and talk and listen to Jesus during this time. If it helps, read the Bible a little bit to get you focused, but don’t forsake listening by reading the whole time.
I have my Bible on cell phone now, and fortunately first thing in the morning people don’t text me. But if you use your cell phone as a Bible and people do contact you early, try putting your phone in airplane mode to let you stay focused on God.
Even 10 or 15 minutes with God is better than no minutes. If it works for you, you can do a similar activity in the evening before bed. Imagine getting to have intimate connection with God once or twice a day like this. Imagine what it will do to your spiritual life. And God says to you that it blesses him, too.