Faith

Somewhere only we know: The sacred intention of time alone

by Gabriel Ong // October 31, 2017, 8:52 pm

A quiet place

Do you have a place that only you and God know of?

There’s a pastor at my church who often tells of a particular spot where God will meet him. This pastor goes for his run, turns at a particular bend, and without fail God will speak to him right there.

Crazy, huh? I wish I had that sort of thing going with God. The truth is I don’t think God and I are that close – He doesn’t speak to me quite so audibly – but I’ve still been building that intimacy with Him by setting aside a place just for us.

THE POWER OF PLACE

You might be wondering: Why be so specific on a place? After all we’re no longer living in the Old Testament where we can only meet God in the Holy of Holies during the “appointed times” (Leviticus 23). Through Christ we now have direct access to God always.

That’s certainly true. But there’s still value in having a special place with God where we can build personal altars unto Him. My Senior Pastor shared over the weekend that whenever a biblical great encountered God in the Old Testament, he’d built an altar to the LORD:

  • Noah (Genesis 8:20)
  • Abram (Genesis 12:7-8)
  • Moses (Exodus 24:4)
  • Joshua (Joshua 8:30)
  • Samuel (1 Samuel 7:17)
  • David (2 Samuel 24:25)
  • Elijah (1 Kings 18:32)

We might not be biblical greats, but the same principles apply. Today, when a person sets aside a place to build an altar to God, he’s opening a door to God. He’s getting ready for a divine encounter and intervention in his life.

“It was at this time that He went off to the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer to God.” (Luke 6:12)

When a person sets aside a place to build an altar to God, he’s getting ready for a divine encounter.

Even our Lord Jesus had his own place. It was a secret mountain retreat where He could seek His Father in preparation for the greatest task in history. So His example is the one I want to emulate — I have my own place which only God and I know of.

And like sharing a lovers’ secret – something only the both of us know – it’s intimate.

When a person sets aside a place to build an altar to God, he’s getting ready for a divine encounter.

In a secret place on this sunny island, I have my rendezvous with an omnipresent God. I leave my phone in the car, take my Bible and make a short trek to “meet” him.

At every big crossroad and decision of my life I meet Him there, and He never fails to give me wisdom. He sees all my fears and anxieties, and as I lay them down before Him — He shows up and gives me peace.

He never fails to give me courage when I face difficult choices there with Him, intimately reminding me I am never alone in my Father’s world.

PRAYERFUL POSTURE OR PIOUS PRETENCE?

While being intentional about a place is a wonderful boon to intimacy with God, I am careful to emphasise the importance in not becoming superstitious or legalistic about a sacred place, because that isn’t nearly as crucial as having a sacred intention to draw near to God.

Do we have such a sacred intention? What’s the posture of our hearts towards intimacy with God? Are we literally, intentionally, on our knees for more of Him?

I believe that one of the great benefits about having a private place with God is the seclusion it affords. Being away from people and being with God really reveals one’s posture towards his Maker when no one else is watching.

“When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. “But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.” (Matthew 6:5-6)

In my life, I’ve often found that when I’m truly alone — I’m truly myself. And what better version of myself to present to God for His use than the real one?

So have a secret place with God where you can build a special altar unto Him. Find a retreat where you can be honest and intimate with God, and there let Him reveal to you the offensive ways (Psalm 139:24) in your life, that you might continue well on the straight and narrow path.

About the author

Gabriel Ong

Gabriel isn't a hipster, but he loves his beard and coffee. In his spare time, he'd rather be on a mountain.