So I was left alone, gazing at this great vision…
– Daniel 10:8 (NIV)
To be alone…
sometimes this may be one of the only ways you will hear the voice of our Creator clearly. Sometimes great visions are cast only to those who choose to be still and listen.
Daniel was left alone, while others fled for fear. He stood firm to see the appointed vision, though he felt weakened by the experience as described in Daniel 10:7-11.
The Bible often reminds us to seek God’s face alone, as it also teaches us to gather in fellowship together. Both are equally important aspects, but it seems amazing things have happened for those who faced tribulations alone, whilst trusting in their Heavenly Father. Jesus himself sought strength from God by entering the garden alone before his crucifixion.
What can we learn from this?
In my devotions times at school with my class, I often remind them that they can, in fact, pray to God at any time. Then I let them know that sometimes it is even better to go into their room by themselves, so they are able to focus and minimise the distractions that may be around them. I read to them from Matthew 6:6:
But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
For me, sometimes my “room” is a room in nature. A quiet, peaceful, secret place where God’s creation is on display for my eyes only. I walk, I sit, I attempt to “be still” and immerse myself in the beauty of His presence.
In our lives – in our busy, demanding, bustling lives – it takes absolute discipline to find that quiet space. Sometimes even trying to close your own bedroom door to have peace appears impossible, when you have young children who demand so much of your attention. I have found, though, even as my own children have grown, it is best for them to see me, their parent, making time to be alone with God. Often you might use guilt as an excuse to spend time with your family over God, but the reality is, if you do that too often, leaving no time for God, then, in the end, your family will suffer, and so will you.
As a teacher, the tasks to be done are never-ending. Even across a Christmas “holiday” break, teachers do not really have the freedom to fully switch off. This is becoming a huge problem worldwide and it saddens my heart, that after almost 10 years of teaching, I find myself on the verge of complete burnout. Starting off part-time in my career while my children were young was wonderful (though not without its complications), yet the last five years full-time (whilst they have been richly rewarding in many ways) have left me exhausted, with very little left to give.
I know now, that during many times of stress due to deadlines and expectations from both my workplace and the government in general, I have neglected my alone time with my Heavenly Father. Whilst there have been times in my career, I have relied on Him heavily to get through each day, there have been other times I have been so consumed with work, that I sacrificed my precious time with my Saviour.
If you want to lead your children into a life-changing and equipping habit, then tell them you are making time to spend with God at a certain time each day and encourage them to do the same. Start by reading a verse together, pray together and then send them to find their own quiet space, whether it be in their room or under a tree in the garden. Give them a special prayer journal and encourage them to fill it with their prayers, Bible verses or lyrics to worship songs they like. I gave my own children these about 3 years ago now, and while they are certainly not filled to the brim, they have tentatively begun to use them with care, and they treasure them as something more than the average notebook. They often read back through what they have written, which is another valuable thing to do – looking back to see the times along the way that you cried out to Him or the ways that He may have answered your prayers and guided you.
The reality is that many people may miss the great vision God has waiting for them, simply due to them not making the time to seek His face.
What is it that God may be calling you to? Has He already put a vision in your heart that you have left by the wayside instead of going back to ask for more clarity and wisdom?
I know I have done this many a time in my life, and my current prayer is, that when I lose my way, God will guide me back so I can make more time with Him… alone.