Do you sometimes feel so busy that you don’t have enough time for God? Many of us feel the same way. This is especially true in today’s fast-paced world where busyness is considered “a badge of honor, an accomplishment, or [a] sign of a superior life.”1 But the truth is, no one is too busy to find time for God. Spending more time with God is just a matter of setting priorities, making a conscious effort, and being consistent. All of us can spend more time with God by following a few simple steps.
Put God as Your Priority
Spending more time with God starts with making Him your priority. Your time for God should not be the time when you are just free or when it is convenient – after going home from work, finishing an assignment, or watching a favorite TV show. God should be the first, not the last part of your day.
A good way to make God your priority is by planning your day first thing in the morning. Identify all of your things-to-do, then rank them based on urgency and importance. Make sure to set aside time for prayers, reading the scriptures, or quiet contemplation.
There will be days when you will have too much on your plate, and you will not accomplish everything on your list. And that’s okay. This is where setting priorities comes in. When you have your priorities set, you’ll accomplish the most important things for the day, and leave others that are not that urgent and important for the next day.
At times, you might be tempted to skip over to Priority # 3 when you have not yet finished Priority #2 because it is easier and more fun. Don’t do it. Be firm in following your priorities. Over time, you will learn that you have more time than you thought of. You will also notice that you accomplish more during the day, even when you set aside significant time for God.
Give God the best part and not the leftovers.
Evaluate How You’re Spending Your Time
Sometimes when you say you don’t have enough time it just means you are not using your time effectively. For example, is it unreasonable for you to say you don’t have time to read a verse or two from the scriptures when you just spent two hours on social media? Evaluate how you are spending your time every day. It will be an eye-opener.
You might find that you are spending more time than you thought on things that don’t matter much, such as computer games, watching TV, and social media. You may want to change your routines and develop better habits. I am no way saying that you need to eliminate these things entirely from your life nor I am suggesting that they should not be important to you. However, compared to spending time with God, they should take a backseat.
You can still do the activities you enjoy and like by strategically scheduling them over the week or month. But, in the process, make sure that it does not affect your time with God.
“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven (Ecclesiastes 3: 1).”
Understand that God is Not Only For Sunday and Church
The Zoramites in the Book of Mormon had an interesting way of worshipping God. One by one, they would stand on an elevated place called the Rameumptom, stretch their hands toward heaven, and offer a repetitive prayer. After doing this, “they returned to their homes, never speaking of their God again until they assembled themselves together again to the holy stand, to offer up thanks [to God] after their manner (Alma 33:23).”
For these people, worshipping God was only confined to a specific place and day of the week. In a modern-day setting, this is just like saying you can only worship God during Sunday at church, which should not be the case.
After witnessing this type of worship, the prophet Alma in the Book of Mormon asked two questions:
“Behold I say unto you, do ye suppose that ye cannot worship God save it be in your synagogues only?
And moreover, I would ask, do ye suppose that ye must not worship God only once in a week (Alma 32: 10-11)?”
You know well the answers to both of these questions. Worshipping God involves spending time with Him, and it should not only happen during Sunday at church but every day, anywhere.
Look for a Quiet Time and Place
One of Jesus Christ’s names is the Prince of Peace. This clearly explains what He did and what He prioritized during His life. Jesus Christ understood well that in order to commune with the Father, He needed a peaceful time and place. Therefore, as recorded in the scriptures, He would often rise up early, leave the company of others, and go to solitary places to pray (Matthew 4:23; Mark 1:35; Luke 5:16).
You can do well to follow the example of Jesus Christ in order to spend quality time with the Father. The Father speaks in a still, small voice. Other times, He puts feelings into our hearts. If you are distracted, you will not hear or feel Him.
The definition of a quiet time and place varies for everyone. For some, it is six in the morning while reading the scriptures on a study table. For others, it may be late at night, kneeling by the bedside for a long prayer when the kids are sleeping. Some opt to go to a library or spend time with nature. It does not matter when or where your quiet time and place is. What matters is that it should be your time to just be with God.
Be Realistic When Making Your Schedule
If your plate is full but you want to make time for God, be reasonable with how you plan your schedule. For example, it is not good to immediately block off one hour for reading the scriptures or 30 minutes for praying when you have three young children to take care of. It is not the length but the quality that matters when you are spending time with God.
This is especially true when you are just starting to prioritize God more in your daily schedule. Do it gradually. You may, at first, set aside 15 minutes for God. Then, as you get your footing, you might want to increase it to 30 minutes as time goes on. As you learn to manage your time more effectively, you may be able to give one hour of undivided attention to God and so on.
Pacing is important so you will not get burned out, or discontinue your efforts to spend more time with God completely. With time, you will learn what works and what does not work for you.
Make Use of Reminders
You might get up in the morning and feel absolutely confident that you will spend 30 minutes reading the scriptures later that night. However, as unexpected events arise during the day, you may completely forget about it, and find yourself sleeping soundly in your bed without doing the thing you promised yourself you would do.
It is easy to forget your spiritual goals when things get busy. It is also easy to put things off until tomorrow. As humans, we are bound to forget a lot of things. My suggestion is to make use of reminders.
You could set an alarm on your mobile phone, post sticky notes in places where you will easily see them (e.g. your bathroom mirror), or ask people to remind you verbally. What the old adage says is true – “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”
Keep Your Appointments with God
Just as you try hard to honor your commitments with other people, you should also do it with God. Your plan to spend time with God is your appointment with Him. Do everything you can to keep it.
Jesus showed us a perfect example of making time for God. Aside from waking up early and leaving the crowd for a quiet place, he also climbed up a mountain to show His willingness to talk with the Father (Matthew 14:23).
Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ do not require us to climb mountains just to be with Them. What They ask of us though is to make time for Them in our daily lives and to bring our spirituality to a higher level. Spending more time with Them is as simple as saying one short prayer, reading a scripture verse or two, or just sitting still and waiting for inspiration and revelation to come from above.
These are just a few suggestions to give you a head start. You can spend more time with God as soon as right now if you make the conscious decision to do so.
Can you think of any other practical ideas to add to this list? Share your thoughts below. We would love to hear them.
1 Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Of Regrets and Resolutions,” Liahona, October 2012, https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2012/10/of-regrets-and-resolutions?lang=eng