How much time should we spend with God?
The Bible never specifies how much time we should spend with God each day, however, it does give us a few principles to follow when it comes to our time with God. These principles are: (1) we should have secret alone time with God daily and (2) prayer is meant to be fellowship with God throughout the day.
Every man and woman of God in the Bible lived out these principles, but we see it especially in the life of Jesus.
Regarding the first principle of time with God, the Bible tells us that Jesus would wake up early in the morning, well before the sun rose to spend time with His Heavenly Father.
“Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed.” (Mark 1:35)
The whole point of Him doing this was to be sure that He would be alone so He could spend time with God. This is why the Bible specifies that He went to a solitary place.
Notice that Christ woke up “a long while before daylight.” Obviously, they didn’t have alarm clocks, so most people probably woke up when the sun rose. Jesus made sure he was up well before them so He could get alone. Now we don’t know exactly how long “a long while” is, but we can conservatively assume it is anywhere between 2-3 hours.
It’s also important to mention that just the night before he was healing a large crowd of sick people well into the night (Mark 1:32-34), so it wasn’t like Jesus got a full eight hours of sleep. This means that He put a priority on getting alone with God on a daily basis, so much so that He even sacrificed sleep on some occasions.
Not only did Jesus practice alone time with God, but He also taught His disciples to do the same.
“But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.” (Matthew 6:6)
Every intimate relationship requires alone time. A good example of this is marriage. I’m pretty sure everyone would agree that there is no way that I can have a good relationship with my wife unless I get alone with her and spend quality time with her. It is no different with God.
If we want to know God, hear His voice, and experience His presence, then we need to get alone with Him and have quality time with Him.
How much time? Well, that is up to you.
There is no set-in-stone law that tells us to spend x amount of time with God. The reason there isn’t is because it is a relationship, and since God is silent on telling us how much time we should spend with Him, I will be as well.
However, what I will say is this; five minutes of prayer coupled with one scripture in the morning is NOT quality time with God. Although God doesn’t give us specifics on our time with Him, the Bible does give us examples through people’s lives.
And every time it mentions men or women of God who set aside time to seek the Father, it is apparent that it is not for a short while because like all relationships they require time, intention, and consistency.
I have an article that covers a similar topic like this, it is titled How to Spend an Hour in Prayer (8 Helpful Tips) you can check it out by clicking the link.
The other aspect of our time with God is our prayer life throughout the day. The Bible makes numerous mentions that we are to make a habit of communing with God on a constant basis.
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.” (Psalms 91:1)
“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.” (John 15:4)
Notice how these passages of scripture exhort us to dwell in the secret place, abide in Christ, and to pray without ceasing. This type of terminology suggests that prayer is meant to be an action that we never turn off, and that we are to pray on a continual basis. (Related article: Dwelling in the Secret Place: What it is and How to do it)
However, we will never be able to achieve a life of one continual prayer unless we learn first to get alone with God and seek Him. It’s important to remember that our outer life will always flow from our inner life. This is what Jesus meant when He said that we must first learn to clean the inside of the cup and then the outside will be clean also (Matthew 23:26).
How should we spend our time with God?
We should spend time with God by doing two things: (1) spend time with God in secret prayer, and (2) spend time reading God’s Word. The most important thing to remember is that we spend time with God not to fulfill a religious duty, but rather we are there to get to know Him.
To have a vibrant relationship with God these two things need to be present.
The reason being is that it is impossible to know God apart from His Word because He has already revealed Himself as “the Word made flesh.” (Related article: How to Start Reading the Bible)
And it’s impossible to know Him apart from prayer because no one can have a relationship without communication.
We also see these truths in the life of Jesus. As mentioned earlier, Jesus made it a priority to spend time with God on a daily, moment by moment, basis. Not only that He also knew the Word of God. Notice how Jesus responds to the temptation of the devil by quoting scripture.
“And the devil said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” But Jesus answered him, saying, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.’ ” (Luke 4:3-4)
He quoted scripture to satan not only this time but also three times to repel his temptation. Also, notice the first scripture He quoted, “man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.” Just by judging from this single instance, we can see that the Word of God was a high priority in the eyes of Jesus.
So, let’s learn from the life of Jesus and obey His example.
Every day should consist of a set time to spend with God in secret prayer and every day should consist of a set time where we are devouring His Word, by doing these two things on a consistent basis, not only will we get to know God more, but we also will begin to grow in God so that we can bear much fruit the Kingdom.
How often should we spend time with God?
When it comes to how often we should spend time with God that is completely up to us and our schedule. For example, if it’s more convenient for you to spend time with God in the morning, like Jesus did, than for you to spend time praying three times a day as Daniel did, then that’s perfectly fine.
Here is a list of examples of men of God and their times with the Lord:
- As mentioned earlier, Jesus would often wake up well before anyone else and spend time with His Father (Mark 1:35). Not only did He do this but the Bible also mentions that He would withdraw frequently throughout the day to go and pray (Luke 5:16) and He would also pray at night on some occasions (Luke 6:12). (Related article: Prayer Life of Jesus & How to Pray Like Him).
- King David and the prophet Daniel both prayed three times per day, this was also a Jewish custom in their day (Daniel 6:10, Psalms 55:17).
- The apostle Paul encouraged all the churches to pray without ceasing, this is something that He practiced as well (1 Thessalonians 5:17). In addition to this, He would often spend time praying in the evening or whenever He had the opportunity to (Acts 16:25, 16:16, Acts 18:9, Acts 23:11). (Related article: The Prayer Life of the Apostle Paul & How to Pray Like Him).
As you can see, it really doesn’t matter when we decide to pray just so long as it is a consistent discipline in our life that causes us to come closer to God each day.
What happens when we spend more time with God?
The more we spend time with God, the more we will become like Him. God designed us so that when we spend time Him His nature and our nature begin to become one. His love, wisdom, and power will begin to rub off on us so that when we encounter the world, God’s presence will be with us.
This is exactly what the apostle Paul was saying in His second letter to the Corinthians.
“Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place” (2 Corinthians 2:14).
Paul was using this “fragrance” as an illustration to describe the presence of God. When we become people who spend time with God on a daily, moment by moment, basis we become a people who carry an aroma of the atmosphere of Heaven.
Read carefully what Paul says next.
“For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life.” (2 Corinthians 2:15-16)
Paul reveals here that God’s presence is on us for a reason. That reason is to become a fork in the road for everyone we encounter.
You see, Paul boils down the entire world into two categories: saved and unsaved. And as we walk in the presence of God, we carry an aroma that brings conviction to those around us. For those who are being saved, we carry an aroma of life. But those who are perishing, we carry an aroma of death so that they may repent and find salvation.
So, in short, the more we spend time with God, the more we become like Him, the more we become like Him the more we carry His presence, and when we carry His presence we bring conviction to everyone we encounter.
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