Presence Devotion #20

Doing Time

David Breen – General Manager of Training, Discovery Community Care


Matthew 14: 22-36

After he had dismissed them he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray.  When evening came, he was there alone…


Do you like being alone? Is your preference being with the lots of friends and having great fun? Or do you get your energy from being on your own? Jesus was a totally balanced human being – he spent time alone with God, time with his close friends and spent time with massive crowds who wanted his attention.

Jesus was not religious – he was relational. Spending time with his Father was not “doing time” it was based on a mutual love relationship. He wanted to be with His Father for spiritual strength and to hear what the Father wanted him to do. Jesus’ being alone was for the purpose of prayer, not to run away from people. He prayed and then went back to being with the disciples and the crowds to train them and meet their needs.

Jesus had a hierarchy of time and relationships that ordered his life and kept him on track with his life calling and purpose. He spent time with his Father, with his close friends, disciples and the crowd (including his opponents). We see the overflow of this in comments like, “I love the Father and … do exactly what my Father has commanded me“ (John 14:31). The output of his life and actions were a direct result of his time with his Father in prayer and waiting on His instructions.

The time we spend with God the Father and our other relationships needs to be based on this same hierarchy. Our highest relationship priority is God the Father, through Jesus Christ – getting to know Him and understanding what he is like and how we can do the good works he has for us. When we make Him our priority and seek to know him (making time to be with him) we get to know him.

One way to do this is to practise the presence of Jesus throughout the day. This is especially helpful in our busy lifestyles and hectic schedules. Brother Laurence wrote a classic about this many years ago and it has helped many Christians over the years. It is simply being aware and calling to mind the name of Jesus and his word often during the day. It does not take the place of focussed prayer or Bible study but it helps us to keep our minds on Him and all that is good in our busy lives.

From that place we can give ample time to loved ones, family and friends too (beware of neglect and assumptions as all things naturally atrophy – relationships decay unless we work on them).

It’s about heart and relationship; not doing time. Being religious will feel dry and burdensome quickly, but being with someone who loves you unconditionally is like being in a cool stream on a hot summer’s day. Be with the Father and he will reveal to you his love beyond imagination!

Sitting in a chair with God for 15 minutes should not be religious but relational – make it your aim to spend time with God out of delight and joy at being in His presence. God is after your heart as the greatest love of your life. You are not alone – He is with you and longs for you to be with Him!

Reflective Questions

  1. What does being alone with God look like for you?
  2. What do you need to change to balance your time hierarchy?
  3. How are you practising the presence of Jesus in your life?