Been re-reading The Pursuit of God by Aiden Wilson Tozer. This is about the seventh time I’ve read the book, so you would think it would be memorized by now, but what is striking me more this time is his kind way of saying that we simply do not spend enough time before God.
Tozer himself was known to have five hour prayer times in the morning, from 7 a.m till noon. This is one reason why he knew God so well.
But what about us? How do we “normal” Christians get to that rarified place that so few Christians actually reach: deep communion with God?
There is only one way—time. If we don’t spend time before God, large chunks of it—counted in daily hours, not minutes—then we can forget entering the roster of saints. Churches today emphasize everything but extended time on one’s face before God. We have a million shortcuts to “growth,” but the truth is that they all fail.
Recent conversations with other Christians show a paucity of prayer time. There is simply no way we can walk in any depth on fifteen minutes a day. Others counter that they “practice the presence of God” all day. Now that is fine and a great discipline, but we are always shown Jesus’ example of withdrawing to private prayer. Hours of it, too. I simply cannot see the Lord merely practicing the presence in the Garden of Gethsemane. When it comes down to it, practicing the presence is in addition to prayer closet prayer, never a substitute.
We wonder why the Church today in America is so powerless, but we need look no further than the collected hours we Christians spend in prayer daily. Some argue that life is too hectic for prayer time like Tozer, but I would answer then that perhaps we Christians need to rethink everything else in our lives that draws us away from such committed time. We as a Church need to explore alternative ways of living that allow us to free up that time for every person who claims the name of Christ.
But then again, if Christianity is just something we do, then perhaps we should keep on doing what we are doing, sloughing off that precious time in favor of whatever worldly thing is pressing on us in that moment. Millions have already.