How much time should we spend alone with God each day? Robert Noland uses an everyday object to illustrate the amount of time we might consider.
In my book, The Knight’s Code, as well as in my live teaching event, I illustrate a commitment to spending time alone with God by using an object lesson.
I have a plastic chain with large links that I bought at Lowe’s. I intentionally counted out and bought a chain with 168 links. Why 168? That’s the number of hours in a week. 7 days X 24 hours each. The particular chain I have is between seven and eight feet, so when I hold it up, 168 links looks like a lot.
Then I ask this question, “What is a realistic amount of time a growing Christian man should allow each day to spend time with God? I typically get answers from ten minutes to an hour. Let’s go for a solid spiritual time of 30 minutes a day. That would be about three links. 30 X 7 = 210 minutes or three-and-a-half hours. Let’s allow that a busy day gets started off late each week and we skip a day.
So I grab somewhere in the middle of the chain and, with both hands, hold up and mark off three links. It does not look like very much at all, with the rest of the chain hanging down almost to the floor on each side. And, in the span of 168 hours, I suppose it isn’t much time. But most all guys would agree that a half hour a day would make a great prayer time and, over the months, make for some strong spiritual growth.
One of the interesting things about guys being both visual and competitive is that they look at those three links and think, “I can do more than that! That looks pitiful.” But the truth is, for most of us, the commitment to a half hour a day of undistracted and focused time alone with God would saturate and change every hour of the week—all the other 165 links of the chain.
Last week my friend Chip Bateson sent me a picture of an addition to his pickup. A small necklace chain with 165 links, with 3 links separated and visible, anchored by a small wooden cross. Chip said he wanted to remind himself daily of the time he has in the week, the commitment he has to spend time with God, and that the cross is what the 168 hours are ultimately all about. . . . Amen.
Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. —Mark 1:35 NIV