A colleague who is a pastoral counselor recently returned from a national conference for his profession. He told me it was reported at this conference that scientists have found a place in our brain in which in a single photon starts firing rapidly only at the onset of a single thought. The word that initiates this response is ‘God’. Studies have shown that when a person starts thinking about God, there is a specific place in the brain that begins sparking in response. As a person of faith, this makes sense to me because I believe every human being is hard-wired to connect with God. The only question is if and when each of us chooses to activate this process.
Imagine how different our lives would look (as well as our marriages, families, communities, and world) if there were daily internal sparks firing in the most important relationship of our lives: our life with God.
The starting point of a dynamic and spark-filled life of worship happens when we make the decision to meet with God every day: regardless of our circumstances, perceived abilities or lack of abilities, schedules, or obstacles. I know from personal experience that the obstacles and distractions to meeting God can be numerous and daunting: frenetic households, sick or crying kids, pressing work schedules, assignments to do, and much more. You probably also will feel awkward and prayer-challenged as you start on this new journey of worship. That’s okay. Begin by asking God to teach and help you as you commit to meet with Him. Remember, He loves to reveal Himself to people who diligently seek Him.
I intentionally stated that setting a time to meet with God is “the starting point of a dynamic and spark-filled worship life” because the decision to meet God daily doesn’t necessarily guarantee that we will actually worship God. There is always the danger that our daily time with God can turn into a legalistic or formulaic exercise rather a life-changing time of entering into the presence of God.
However, the fear of this happening shouldn’t prevent us from making the decision to daily spend time in God’s presence.
The importance of choosing to worship God on a personal basis begins by making time to meet with Him. Jesus did this. The Bible tells us He regularly went off to a solitary place to be with God in prayer (see Luke 5:16). When you think about it, cultivating a healthy relationship always involves making conscious choices to get together. My wife Terese and I have found that the lunch and dinner dates we regularly schedule with each other are strong investments in our marriage. During these dates we get to know each other better. We also find they add more spark to our relationship.
Once you’ve committed yourself to meet God daily, finding a time and place to connect with Him is not only important but also uniquely personal. The question is, “Where do you find a sacred place, and what does it look like?”
The definition of the word sacred is “to set apart or dedicate to God.” A sacred place is anywhere we set apart to go and meet God: a desk, car, a trail, lawn chair, easy chair… you name it.
I can’t tell you where or when to meet God. My only advice is to find a time and/or place where you can meet with God uninterrupted, then spend time with Him. It made a world of difference to Isaiah, and it can for you as well.