What keeps you from spending time with God? Maybe it’s the chilly morning air, your warm snuggly bed, a few extra minutes under the sheets which turn into longer than planned. Maybe it's social media, maybe it’s a series you enjoy watching or maybe you’re just too busy with stuff – I don’t know.
I was listening to a Q&A session and someone asked a Pastor when he had his devotions, his answer was profound to me, he said his devotion is “throughout the day.” Often when we hear devotion we naturally assume it’s something done in the morning but the reality is our devotion, our time with God shouldn’t be solely compartmentalised to the morning but should be interwoven throughout our day.
But let’s be honest, mornings can be tough especially in the chilly winter months. Throughout the day is tough too, especially if you’re a student or you work full-time. But let’s also be honest, whatever our reason, the reality is we make time for that which we value and care for. Maybe we don’t value our time with God or we don’t see it as a top priority. For Daniel however, time with God was his number one priority.
Daniel was one of three Prime Ministers in the reign of King Darius of the Medes (Daniel 6:3), as you can imagine he was a busy man with a plethora of responsibilities; his job was probably nonstop from the moment he woke to when he lay in his bed. Although Daniel had a busy schedule, he still manifested excellence in all that he did and was known to be exceptional. But Daniel wasn’t exceptional because of nothing, the key to his “excellent spirit” (Daniel 6:3) was his quality time with God throughout the day. You see despite how busy Daniel was he intentionally made time for God, praying and giving thanks to Him three times a day (Daniel 6:10).
Unfortunately however, Daniel’s co-workers were jealous of him and tried to find a way to get him dismissed from office, but they couldn’t find any fault with him. So the only way they could catch him out was by seducing the king to make a decree that banned anyone throughout the whole kingdom from worshipping anyone else but Darius for thirty-days (Daniel’s co-workers knew he was practising Christian)(Daniel 6:5-7). Anyone found doing contrary would have an appointment with death in the lion's den.
After smooth-talking the King, the decree was passed: being one of the presidents, Daniel was well aware of the new unchangeable legislation that was in place as well as the consequences of not adhering to it. It was crunch time for Daniel, but what would he do? What would you have done?
Would you have chosen death or devotion? Prayer or prey to the lions? Would you have compromised in some way? Stayed low for thirty days? Break your habit and pray secretly instead? What would your response have been?
Daniel’s response was exemplary:
“Although Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he continued to go to his house, which had windows in its upper room open toward Jerusalem, and to get down on his knees three times a day to pray to his God and praise Him, just as he had done previously.” Daniel 6:10.
Daniel would rather have died than give up his devotional time with God.
He chose to become prey rather than give up on prayer. He preferred communion with His maker over conformity to the laws of the land. That’s how important devotional time was with Daniel!
What is also noticeable from verse 10 of Daniel is that he was not afraid to have devotional time with God. Whatever the situation, whatever the location, whatever the time, it was business as usual. He had to have quiet time with God.
I don’t know about you, but for me when I am away at a friend's house, or I’m on holiday or I’m away from home where I have my own space and my own routine, my devotional time is heavily disrupted. It is thrown out of sync. I get too busy, I forget, there is too much fun and excitement that I forget to come apart a while and spend time with my heavenly Father.
This wasn’t the case for Daniel. He intentionally made time for God – whatever the cost.
I can imagine if Daniel was in 2023 he would have regular reminders on his Apple watch to pray.
I can imagine Daniel being that guy who when on a lad's night with Shadrach, Mishach and Abed-nego, would be the one that would stealthily slip away unnoticed to catch up with God. I can imagine Daniel rising early on his three-day weekend to commune with God. I can imagine Daniel in a packed festive season, despite the hustle and the bustle that it comes with, taking time apart to have quality time with God. I can imagine Daniel isolating himself on a packed Sabbath day to have a needed one-to-one session with God, because for him communion with his Creator was the air that kept him breathing.
Whatever the situation, whatever the location, whatever the occasion – Daniel intentionally made time for God. Is this the same with you?
Spending time with God during the course of the day makes a difference. It rejuvenates us. It prepares us for the gusts of circumstances that may come our way during the day. It helps us to be still and remember that amidst all that we do and face, He is still God. Time with God reminds us not to worry and be anxious, because He is in control.
Maybe the reason why we get so stressed and anxious throughout the day is because we are not entering into our Father’s throne room.
After choosing death over devotion Daniel was dashed into the Lion's den. Just picture the scene or put yourself in his sandals.
Daniel wasn’t frantically walking around trying to escape the jaws of the lions, but he was probably calmly strolling through without a care in the world. I can imagine him composed and unfazed by the laser sharp claws, unhinged by the dagger-like gnashers, why? Because when we intentionally spend time with God throughout the day, when we keep our eyes stayed upon Him, all the storms that try to ruffle our feathers aren’t able to move us (Acts 20:24), we are rooted and kept in perfect peace (Isaiah 26:3).
That's what spending time with God does for us. It makes all the difference, trust me.
Don’t be a one spiritual meal a day type Christian, there is no need to fast, feast on God throughout the day.
This week, my challenge for you is to intentionally schedule periods of time aside each day for prayer and praise as Daniel did (Daniel 6:10). It doesn’t matter where it’s done, God isn’t bothered about where you do it. All He desires is quality time with you, all He wants to do is to have that time with you, His child.
This week try it and you will see the difference it will make in your day. If a busy president can do it, you can do it too.