Question: "Why is it important to spend time alone with God?"
All relationships take time. A relationship with God, while unlike other relationships in many ways, still follows the rules of other relationships. The Bible is filled with comparisons to help us conceptualize our relationship with God. For example, Christ is depicted as the bridegroom, and the Church is depicted as the bride. Marriage is two joining their lives as one (Genesis 2:24). Such intimacy involves time spent alone with one another. Another relationship is that of father and child. Close parental relationships are those in which children and parents have special “alone time” together. Spending time alone with a loved one provides the opportunity to truly come to know that person. Spending time alone with God is no different. When we’re alone with God, we draw closer to Him and get to know Him in a different way than we do in group settings.
God desires “alone time” with us. He wants a personal relationship with us. He created us as individuals, “knitting” us in the womb (Psalm 139:13). God knows the intimate details of our lives, such as the number of hairs on our heads (Luke 12:7). He knows the sparrows individually, and “you are worth more than many sparrows” (Matthew 10:29, 31). He invites us to come to Him and know Him (Isaiah 1:18; Revelation 22:17; Song of Solomon 4:8). When we desire to know God intimately, we will seek Him early (Psalm 63:1) and spend time with Him. We will be like Mary, sitting at Jesus’ feet listening to His voice (Luke 10:39). We will hunger and thirst for righteousness, and we will be filled (Matthew 5:6).
Perhaps the best reason for us to spend time alone with God is to follow biblical examples. In the Old Testament, we see God call prophets to come to Him alone. Moses met with God alone at the burning bush and then on Mt. Sinai. David, whose many psalms reflect a confident familiarity with God, communed with Him while on the run from Saul (Psalm 57). God's presence passed by as Elijah was in the cave. In the New Testament, Jesus spent time alone with God (Matthew 14:13; Mark 1:35; Mark 6:45-46; Mark 14:32-34; Luke 4:42; Luke 5:16; Luke 6:12; Luke 9:18; John 6:15). Jesus actually instructed us to pray to God alone at times: “When you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen” (Matthew 6:6a).
To rely on Jesus as our vine (John 15:1-8), we will need to be directly, intimately connected to Him. Just as a branch is linked directly to the vine and, through the vine, connected to other branches, so we are linked directly to Christ and therefore share in a community. We spend time alone with God and in corporate worship for the best nourishment. Without time alone with God, we will find needs unmet; we will not truly know the abundant life He gives.
Spending time alone with God rids our minds of distraction so that we can focus on Him and hear His Word. Abiding in Him, we enjoy the intimacy to which He calls us and come to truly know Him.