Anyone would ask; what is private covenant time?
It takes us back to the question; what is a covenant?
A covenant is simply an agreement. In the case of this article, it’s an agreement between us and God.
Private covenant time is, therefore, the time we individually spend with God. It entails leaving everyone else and going to a secluded place solo to pray.
We grow our relationship with fellow humans based on our day-to-day tasks and activities. The same replicates with God. For us to bond, the talks and activities we engage in play a role.
So, how do we talk to God?
Let’s look at it from a wide perspective.
Is Private Covenant Time Necessary?
I believe it is and I’ll tell you why.
We all get into private agreements with God whereas the execution of those accords takes place in unison.
This is what I mean.
It doesn’t have to be in writing.
Somehow, we have agreed with God we will attend mass every Sunday unless an unavoidable issue prevents us from doing so.
Praying with family before bedtime or before taking meals, are also covenants we execute in a group.
Now, this is what I mean when I say private covenant time is necessary.
Getting to the core of prayer requires alone time.
Private covenant time presents much more freedom. We can tell God everything we wouldn’t want anyone to know.
The time we spend doesn’t interfere with anyone's plans since we are the sole decision-makers.
What happens when we pray in a group?
There are those people who start fidgeting when we pray for too long. It’s a silent way of trying to register their impatience.
During private covenant time, we enjoy peace of mind due to the absence of the fidgeters.
Adoration is one of those powerful Catholic prayer sessions that looks more like private covenant time but it isn’t. The presence of more than one person in the chapel wouldn't allow us to pray aloud if we wanted to!
Private covenant time is like a secret we only share with God.
Now, let me give you a reason why it’s very necessary.
If Jesus, did it, we’ve got to do it.
Jesus went up a hill, spent a whole night praying to God, then confidently chose the twelve disciples when the day came (Luke 6: 12-13).
Private covenant time brought forth the team God wanted Jesus to work with.
There are many other incidences when Jesus left His disciples to spend time praying alone in the Bible.
As much as God answers prayers in all prayer sessions, privacy provides room for intense concentration.
How much time should we spend praying in privacy?
It’s mesmerizing to imagine how a friend is so committed to almost all church activities. But the worst we can do is to 100% copy their religious lifestyles.
Sounds like an unexpected twist, right!
We need to, first of all, understand who we are and what God brought us into this world to do!
I have always said and will keep saying, as much as we want to remain committed Catholics, we cannot separate our religious lives from our day-to-day living.
Look at what God told Jeremiah!
Jeremiah 1: 4-10: The LORD said to me, “I chose you before I gave you life, and before you were born I selected you to be a prophet to the nations.”
I answered, “Sovereign LORD, I don’t know how to speak; I am too young.”
But the LORD said to me, “Do not say that you are too young, but go to the people I send you to, and tell them everything I command you to say. Do not be afraid of them, for I will be with you to protect you. I, the LORD, have spoken!”
Then the LORD stretched out his hand, touched my lips, and said to me, “Listen, I am giving you the words you must speak. Today I give you authority over nations and kingdoms to uproot and to pull down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.”
So, why this scripture!
Why we need to Identify our Calling
God chose us before we were born. Our private covenant time cannot be similar whatsoever and this is why.
Factors like school, work, business, family, and marriage among others, play a big role in helping us set a private covenant time. We don’t expect a doctor who is on call most hours of his day to have a similar private covenant time with an employee who works from 8 am to 5 pm!
A nursing mother’s private covenant time cannot be compared to that of a mother whose teens are all in boarding schools!
Private business people have all their time in their hands compared to employed people whose time is partly controlled by their employers. Their private covenant time cannot be similar!
All the people I have mentioned in these examples are called to serve in different capacities just like Jeremiah was called to serve as a prophet!
The calling is the major service to humanity.
If we were all prophets, to whom would we prophesy?
Would we need to consult if we were all doctors?
Who would serve who?
We need to focus on our calling while at the same time honoring our private covenant time with God.
Why our friends Private Covenant Time may not work for us
Some of us are in a position to allocate plenty of time in a day to private covenant time with the Lord.
What God called us to do on earth can also eat into our private covenant time with God!
That said, it’s important to schedule private covenant time with God while serving humanity according to the will of God. The Catholic Life Institute has written a very good article here that helps us balance work and prayer without having to worry.
Copy-pasting a friend’s schedule with God may work if we have similar work schedules. If not, we are likely to end up with a clogged mind, fatigue, and too much unnecessary pressure.
A 5-minute private covenant time with God and a 3-hour covenant time with God will both be rewarded.
But let’s remember, God is watching. He knows how much time we can spare to spend with Him in privacy. We need not compromise our private covenant time for little worldly pleasures.
Private covenant time with the Lord is more like humming the most beautiful song while taking a walk in the Garden of Eden. Let’s do it as much as we can.
Similarly, our relationship with God is not a competition with each other. It’s a private journey planned and walked with God. Someone’s packed private covenant time schedule with God should never send us into panic mode thinking we are not doing enough.
Private covenant time with God does not disqualify the other prayers of the Catholic church. It’s a worthy fulfilling addition.