In an age when we are equipped with every imaginable gadget and buckets of advice covering every subject known to man, we are just as lost and unproductive as we have ever been.
Perhaps the answer to success is not in the latest organizational tool or in time management techniques. Paganini had a formula that he claimed was the secret of his creative power: toil, solitude, and prayer. In the end, there is no better way to excellence than to unplug from all of life’s distractions and spend time in meditation and prayer.
David was well aware of the benefits of time alone. As a shepherd, he had plenty of time to ponder life and commune quietly with Jehovah. Read the following lines from one of his psalms and ask yourself if he would have been able to write them with an iPhone plugged into his ears as he browsed the internet on his laptop:
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. (Psalm 8:3-5)
Even Jesus in all his omniscience made solitude a priority in his earthly ministry. Before he chose the twelve apostles he spent the entire night alone in prayer (Lk. 6:12-16). In Matthew 14 we see him ordering the disciples to get into a boat and go away to the other side of the Sea of Galilee and dismissing the crowds that had been thronging around him. Then he retreated to a mountain to be alone with his Father and pray (Mt. 14:22-23).
F.B. Meyer writes,
There is no short cut to the life of faith, which is the all-vital condition of a holy and victorious life. We must have periods of lonely meditation and fellowship with God. That our souls should have their mountains of fellowship, their valleys of quiet rest beneath the shadow of a great rock, their nights beneath the stars, when darkness has veiled the material and silenced the stir of human life, and has opened the view of the infinite and eternal, is as indispensable as that our bodies should have food. (David: Shepherd, Psalmist, King, 36-37).
If life feels hectic and you’re not growing in your spiritual maturity, a cluttered and distracted life is at least part of the problem. Turn the television and cell phone off and get away from your computer. Go outside for a walk, or find a private place to be alone. Dwell on the Scriptures and spend time in prayer with God. This is essential. You’ll die without it.