Every good relationship thrives on shared experiences and a true knowledge of each other. In its essence, Christianity is a relationship between the people of God and the Living God. By revealing Himself to us and reconciling us to Himself through Jesus Christ, God has sought us out and begun this relationship. In response, we are to actively pursue God and cultivate our relationship with Him. We can do this by spending time with Him.
Just as our most significant relationships are the ones in which we share our lives at deep levels over a long period of time, so our relationship with God works the same way. You develop closeness with God by regularly paying attention to Him, by conversing with Him and by opening your life to Him.
But people often ask, “How do you spend time with God when you can’t see Him?” Fortunately, God has shown us how. He’s given us His Word–—the Bible—and He meets with us in prayer. As we consistently read the Bible and pray to God, we grow closer to Him. As we see how He interacts with people in the Bible, we come to understand His character, His values, and His personality. We recognize His truths and how His Kingdom functions. Through our time in His Word and prayer, God embraces us and transforms our lives.
Interacting with God through His Word
Reading and contemplating the Bible can be a powerful experience. Unlike other books, God’s Word is living and spiritual, practical and dynamic. Consider this: God, our Living Creator, has spoken! He has begun a dialogue with us, revealing His infinite thoughts to our finite minds through the Bible.
The Book of Hebrews says God’s Word is living and active (4:12). Through it, God engages our whole being—soul, spirit, body, mind and heart. As we read and obey His Word it has a profound influence in our lives. Psalm 19: 7-14 tells us that God’s Word is able to revive our souls, make us wise, encourage us, and guide us. More than just good advice, God’s Word is a significant part of His conversation with His people.
Unlike other books, God’s Word is living and spiritual, practical and dynamic.
Spending time with God’s Word is like having an audience with a king. This means we must approach the Bible as we would approach God Himself: humbly and obediently. Jesus told His followers, “Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.” (John 14:21 NIV) Spending time with God’s Word is not simply an exercise in scholarship or self- improvement but a faithful expression of our reverence and love for God Himself. With a teachable attitude and a willingness to be changed, we come closer to God through His Word.
God’s Word is just that—His Word. As such, it bears the full integrity of His character and the limitless strength of His sovereignty. In Psalm 37, David tells us that God will accomplish what He promises. He also exhorts us: “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” (verse 4) Therefore, we ought to look to the Bible with expectant hearts and minds, eager to see God reveal His truth and accomplish His will among us. Do you expect God to reveal Himself to you in His Word? Does loving obedience result from your time with God in His Word?
Interacting with God through Prayer
Unlike our earthly friendships, our communion with God doesn’t have to have interruptions. Our lives can truly be an unending dialogue with the Lord. Praying to God continues our conversation with Him, building upon
the time we spend with God in His Word.
But what is prayer? Prayer, the Apostle John writes, is our response to God’s outreach to us. The Lord says, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” (Revelation 3:20). Prayer is a yielding to God and an acceptance of His fellowship, as simple as a word of welcome or a cry for help.
Nevertheless, a life of prayerful attention to God doesn’t always come easily. Part of the struggle and the joy of our lives comes from learning to persevere in habits of prayer. God, in His grace, teaches us to pray and gives many examples of prayer in the Bible. For example, Psalm 25 shows some of the roles prayer can have in our lives. Prayer can be a way of entrusting yourself to God, expressing your hope in Him, seeking guidance, asking forgiveness, gaining His perspective and receiving His comfort.
We also see elements of prayer in other Psalms. Psalm 100 is a brief expression of thanksgiving, calling us to worship the Lord with gladness and joyful songs, to acknowledge Him as our creator and leader, to praise Him for his enduring love and faithfulness. Psalm 51, David’s song of contrition and hope, is also a model of faithful prayer. He confesses his sin and pleads for mercy (verses 1-9). Seeking God’s help, he entrusts himself to His goodness and sustaining power (verses 10-15). He seeks the establishment of God’s Kingdom and asks God to bless others (verses 16-19).
Part of the struggle and the joy of our lives comes from learning to persevere in habits of prayer.
At its simplest, faithful prayer is how we thank, praise and worship God. It requires no great programs or resources. As the Apostle James says, “Come near to God, and he will come near to you.” (James 4:8a) This nearness of God is truly the essence of your relationship with Him. When you interact with God through His Word and in prayer, you’re coming closer to God. By setting apart a time and place to devote your attention to God, you’ll establish habits that will transform your relationship with Him.
Christianity is essentially a relationship with God. By spending time with God in His Word and in prayer, we can grow closer to Him.
• God reveals His character, will and goodness through the Bible.
• We should approach God’s Word with gratitude, humility and obedience.
God uses His Word to help us and change our lives.
Prayer is our response to God’s beginning a conversation with us.
The Bible gives many examples of the roles prayer can have in our lives.
It helps to have specific times to meet with God in His Word and in prayer.
For time with God to be most effective, it is important to decide on a specific time and place to meet with Him.
The best time is often in the morning before the day begins.
The place should be quiet with no distractions, where you can be alone.
A good starting goal is to spend 10-15 minutes with God and extend the time as you are able.
Decide on a specific time and place for your appointment with God, and someone to pray that you will be faithful to meet with Him.
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