Ezra 7:9-10 (KJV)
9 For upon the first day of the first month began he to go up from Babylon, and on the first day of the fifth month came he to Jerusalem, according to the good hand of his God upon him.
10 For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.
2 Chronicles 19:3 (KJV)
3 Nevertheless there are good things found in thee, in that thou hast taken away the groves out of the land, and hast prepared thine heart to seek God.
Many years ago, I was the youth pastor at Kerwin Baptist Church. I came up with the great idea to take the teen guys hiking and camping. I decided to take them to an area around grandfather mountain. This area was rugged. There were no bathrooms, showers, power, or comforts. Despite this the guys seemed to be having a great time. I made a big error. I did not realize how much teen guys eat. It was not long before I realized we would not have enough food to last the trip. We had to hike about a mile and drive about an hour to get more food. We lost a good amount of time trying to fix a problem caused by a lack of preparation. The trip would have been a much more enjoyable experience if it was properly prepared for.
Why do some people have amazing personal devotions while others do not? Why do some people seem so much closer to God? I believe the answer is found in these verses. The difference between the two is preparation. Both of these great men prepared their hearts to seek the Lord.
What exactly is preparation? Preparation is planning. It is putting things in place to make the time effective. Daniel prayed in his house three times a day. The times he prayed were not accidental. The space in his planner was built around his prayer times. Daniel had a specific place, time and method to use his time with God.
How can we prepare our heart? There are several ways to prepare your heart before you seek the Lord. One way is to listen to music that draws you close to God. Another way is to think of all the things you can be thankful for. Speaking to yourself of how you look forward to your time with God also helps. When we anxiously anticipate our time with God, we will more quickly experience God’s presence.
How much preparation goes into our devotion time? Do we have a specific place we go? Do we quickly pull out our bible and find a chapter to read quickly? While God can speak to us in a small amount of time, a deep sustained relationship can only come from quality time together. The verses tell us about the preparation not the seeking of God. The men in these passages were greatly used of God. If we would like to experience God on a different level, maybe we should put a little more effort in our preparation.
Ezra 7:9-10 (KJV)