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Time Out: Hanging out with God

Topic / Time Out

Time Out (by Jerry Schmoyer)

I’ve been thinking about a phrase that is very common today,: “hanging out.” As best as I understand, it refers to socializing with others, spending times with friends. It seems to have a connotation of doing whatever – nothing specific planned, just being together. It focuses on friends spending time with each other. The emphasis isn’t on the activity itself, but one being together. In our very busy, production oriented and often impersonal world, that sounds nice! Unfortunately I’m not very good at it myself.

But I’ve been thinking about this whole concept of “hanging out” more in context of my relationship to God than to other people. Perhaps because I’m not real good at hanging out with people I’m not real good at hanging out with God, either. Working toward a common goal is fine, sacrificing to benefit God’s work is great, even times of deep conversation and serious discussion come easy to me. But just hanging out, not doing anything special, focusing on enjoying each other’s presence — that’s what I need to cultivate more with God and with others. It seems to me that’s what Paul’s praying without ceasing it all about (1 Thessalonians 5:17). That’s the essence of the branch abiding in the vine (John 15). And that’s what I need more of in my life. So I’m trying to learn how to hang out with God during the day. No matter what I am doing, I try to be more conscious of Him, more aware of His presence, more in connection with Him emotionally and spiritually. I don’t have to have a work project going with Him or a deep conversational prayer structuring the time. I just need to enjoy His presence all day every day. I think that’s what He wants from me more than anything else. It certainly sounds easy enough. I’m looking forward to doing a lot more hanging out in the future – with the God of the universe!

Scripture
Ephesians 6:18, “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”

Colossians 4:2, “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.”

1 John 1:3, “We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.”

Reflect

  • How would you define hanging out?”
  • What does the principle of praying without ceasing mean to you?
  • Have you been hanging out with God lately? If not, what can you do to improve the quality and quantity of your time with Him?

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Jerry Schmoyer has been a minister in Pennsylvania for over 25 years and has worked with teenagers for 14 years, ever since I became one myself. He authors the weekly Time Out series here at Life in Student Ministry in hopes to spiritually refresh your soul as you continually pour so much of yourself into students. God bless!


Posted on September 14, 2008

  • Tim:

    Great quiet time. I made a move to a new ministry this year. It’s a completely different environment than the one I left. Not that my former church was bad, but the place I find myself now is almost the opposite. What I love is that I have daily interactions where I experience God.

    Those moments are like what you mention, “No matter what I am doing, I try to be more conscious of Him, more aware of His presence, more in connection with Him emotionally and spiritually.” When I find myself in one of those moments I just sit back in amazement, and I thank God for His presence.

    Thanks,
    Joel

  • Scott Stoops

    I define hanging out very much like you: we have no real agenda and the only necessary reason to be together is because we like being together. I wonder if that is not how Mary viewed it when she sat at the feet of Jesus just listening to him.

    I’ve heard a few people try to define ‘praying without ceasing’ and I think some have come close. Actually, the best definition I’ve heard was from a monk called Brother Lawrence in The Practice of the Presence of God. Basically it was that we should live aware of the nearness of God. Praying with ceasing is living knowing that God is near and always ready to listen. I can speak with him at any time. I also think it has to do with being diligent in prayer. We pray and we continue to do so.

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