I never was much of a phone person. I am an all or nothing kind of person, trying to stay busy or relax with my wife and boys. Sitting on the phone for an hour has always seemed like such a waste, especially when I don’t have anything exciting to talk about. However, relationships are built on communication. I am fortunate enough to have friends and family who can just pick up where we left off. But that does not build my relationship with them over the long term. This example is the same with our personal relationship with God. If we are desiring God, more of our time should be spent with Him in prayer. Therefore, we looked at how the average American spends their time to see if we can provide a few life tweaks to better focus our desire on God first.
Daily Pressures and Average Time Spent
Once you take out sleep and work, it seems like there aren’t enough hours in the day to spread out between our relationships, hobbies, and necessary mental breaks. I am always searching for that extra hour each day just to unwind and decompress after a long day. But considering I sleep eight hours and work eight hours, there is still a third of my day left.
In this remaining eight hours, the BBC estimates that the average person spends 4.8 hours a day on their mobile phones. Being so high, one can only assume that people are on their phone at work. Uh oh, secret is out! But I am sure we are spending at least 2 of our remaining 8 hours per day on our phones at a minimum.
Another survey published by Nexalearning.com averaged out our daily household chores. Apparently, Americans spend an average of 18 minutes a day cleaning their home. Eleven minutes per day doing laundry, 34 minutes preparing meals, 14 minutes doing yard and house maintenance, and 45 minutes doing bills, taxes, etc. That is a lot of our time spent before we even start any leisure activities where we spend a daily average of 4 hours and 43 minutes (watching TV, exercising, socializing, etc.).
Relationship with God through Prayer
Since God is our focus and the center of our lives, how long do we spend in prayer with the Creator? How about listening to praise and worship music? Devotionals and bible studies? Discussing our relationship and desire for God with others? The average time spent in prayer for Americans is less than two minutes per day. That means that we spend more time looking at ourselves in a mirror than we spend talking to God.
Pastors spend an average of 30 minutes per day, which includes discussing prayer requests. This is almost worse since this would include their eight hour workday! Prayer is the basis where we build a personal relationship with God and we dedicate less than two minutes to it per day. Think we are just not prayer warriors but focus on God in other ways? Think again. Below, is a chart published by the Washington Post in 2014 showing the breakdown by state of our religious activities.
These numbers are just additional proof that, on a daily basis, God is not the average American’s focus of attention. An outsider looking at these numbers would tell us, God is not important to the average American.
What can we do?
- A personal relationship with God and desiring to feel our Father’s presence doesn’t require us to grab the prayer beads and holy water. You can pray any time of day. Eyes open, or eyes closed. Out loud or internally. But we have to dedicate time to God in prayer. Setting a goal of 15 minutes a day is not impossible and will expand your relationship with God tenfold.
- A few times a week, throw on some praise and worship music during your commute or while you cook. Music can be a form of prayer and it allows you to experience God on a non-verbal level. Feel his presence through your praise and appreciation for all He does in your life.
- Not a prayer person? Try a prayer journal! Physically write down your prayers and take time to see the words spelled out before you and the Creator. This is a great way to dedicate time to Him and focus on nothing else but your desire for God.
- Daily devotionals are a great way to ensure you are giving God time every day. Many can be completed in a few minutes with accompanying bible verses that add to your study. A great option I highly recommend is The Book of Mysteries by Jonathan Cahn.
- Church activities are one of the best ways to build your relationship with God by devoting time to being in His house surrounded by His people. This action alone could bump your average time spent with God up massively. An hour and a half at church twice a week bumps up your daily average to a little more than 25 minutes!
- Family studies are a favorite with us. We even created our book, Immersion, on this concept. We sit and read a devotion with our sons then talk about the photograph that corresponds to that devotional. Our boys are very imaginative and inquisitive, two things that will help build their foundation of faith.
Once I realized how little time I was devoting to God, I began refocusing and taking note of my time spent. This is when I began dedicating photography work to spreading God’s word. I was desiring God but didn’t know how to enter into His presence except through prayer. So, I picked up my camera and started shooting with Christ in my mind. What I discovered is that I can spend time with God in everything I do. Out in the woods on a nature shoot or thinking of devotion topics while editing. I learned to incorporate God into my life. I made my life revolve around God, and that’s when my relationship began to blossom.
Seek God first in your life and you will never live with regrets of time wasted. God brings you clarity, peace, wisdom, understanding, and unconditional love. We are too busy with life and need to slow down and focus on our most important relationships. God first, always.