SPEND TIME ALONE
To truly get to know someone and build a deep relationship with them – you need to spend time alone with that person. Jesus knows how important this is, so He said to His disciples –
When you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut the door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. Matthew 6: 6
This one-on-one time with the Lord will quickly become the most precious time of your day. Find a regular time and place that works for you – God is available 24/7 !
Read on and find out things to include in your time with God. This deep personal relationship with the Lord is what you were created for and is a 24/7 relationship. However God also yearns to have this special one-on-one time with you as well.
When Jesus was on earth He constantly drew aside to have alone time with His Father as we read in Mark 1:35
Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, Jesus went out and departed to a solitary place, and there He prayed.
Make it a daily priority to spend time alone with the Lord !
Prayer is simply having a conversation with God – either Father, Son or Holy Spirit. It doesn’t require special language or a particular posture. It is as natural as any other conversation you would have. You can speak to Him any time of day or night.
And like any other conversation – prayer is a two way interaction. You talk to God and He listens and you listen when He talks to you. God’s heart is to communicate with you. He wants you to know how He feels about you. He will answer your questions and reveal His plans and purposes for your life.
(You can learn more about prayer and the different aspects of prayer by going to the section on Prayer under Kingdom Customs)
You can pray out loud or quietly in your spirit. When God speaks you He may give you an impression in your mind, a picture in your imagination, lead you to a Bible verse and occasionally even speak to you audibly. Expect that He will speak !
PERSONAL COMMUNICATION IS ESSENTIAL TO BUILD RELATIONSHIP !
You may have heard the expression – ‘He worships the ground she walks on’ – which speaks of a man absolutely in love with a woman. God is so amazing, so beautiful, so perfect and so loving that part of our response of love for Him is to worship and adore Him.
Psalm 100: 4 – Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise.
Thanksgiving and praise are both acts of worship. There are so many wonderful songs of worship you can sing to express your heart towards Him.
However worship isn’t limited to music. You can worship Him as you ‘drink in’ the spectacular beauty of a sunset or smell the sweet perfume of a rose and then glorify and thank Him for His amazing gift of creation. Worship is a lifestyle for a disciple.
WORSHIP CREATES A PATH INTO HIS PRESENCE !
Reading His Word
The Bible is God’s word to you – where He reveals His nature and His heart for you, as well as His plans and purposes. 1 Peter 2: 2 – As newborn babes desire the pure milk of the word.
The Word is not only your food and an instruction manual for life, it is a living and active word that transforms your life.
For the Word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword and piercing as far as the division of the soul and spirit – of both joints and marrow – and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Hebrews 4: 12
When you come to God’s Word, come expecting an encounter with the living God. Ask the Holy Spirit to bring the Word to life in a way that grips you and speaks right into your daily life and current situation. Reading His Word is one way that God desires to speak to you personally.
Here is an exercise for you to experience how God wants to speak to you directly through His Word. Find somewhere comfortable that is free from distractions. Invite the Holy Spirit to activate your spiritual senses.
You will listen to a short passage of scripture twice.
As you listen to the passage the first time – listen for a word or a phrase that chooses you – something that captures your attention – that invites you to linger with it.
Don’t analyse it – just listen to it.
SECOND TIME –
Read through the following section – then play the same audio recording a second time.
As you hear the passage a second time – ponder over that word or phrase that captured your attention.
Chew it and savour it – letting it descend from your mind into your heart.
Why did it capture my attention?
What is God saying to me?
How does that word or phrase connect with my life?
Don’t be afraid of any thoughts or feelings around that word – be honest!
Don’t rush the process. After you have chewed on the word or phrase for a while – begin a conversation with God.
How is God inviting you to pray?
Allow the word you have been pondering to touch you at a deep level as you dialogue with God. Is there something God is asking of you?
Listen for the Holy Spirit’s gentle voice of reassurance as you talk with God about what you have heard.
Finally rest in God’s presence. Let go of the need for words and just enjoy being held in God’s infinite love.
O taste and see that the Lord is good! Psalm 34: 8
God doesn’t want you just to know about Him, He wants you to experience Him in all His fullness. God’s presence is everywhere (Psalm 139) but He desires that you encounter His tangible presence in a personal way.
In the 1640s the Westminster Shorter Catechism was written which poses as its first question: What is the chief end of man? – the answer = Man’s chief end is to glorify God (= worship) and enjoy Him forever. (= spend time in His presence)
Psalm 46: 10 – Be still and know that I am God
While spending time in His presence may include prayer, worship or meditating on a scripture – it can also be about a time with no agenda other than enjoying His presence.
Here are some practical things to do to spend time with God
Set a Time
Set a specific time to meet with God that fits your schedule. Think of it as a non-negotiable appointment – eg. a coffee date with God. If this is new for you perhaps start with 10 – 15 minutes. Of course you can go longer !
Organise a Place
It helps to have a specific place to sit. Have your Bible, worship music, notebook and pen together there ready.
Thanksgiving and Praise
You can begin with thanking God for your day, His presence with you, His love for you – the list is endless. Then move into some praise and worship. Perhaps even prepare a playlist the day before – having sourced some good worship music.
Read the Word
Perhaps start with reading a Psalm. As a new believer begin reading through the gospels – probably starting with John. Always ask the Holy Spirit to bring the Scriptures alive and speak to you. There are also some good devotional books or Apps that give understanding to a passage. Maybe make some notes.
Talk with God
Start a conversation with God. Things you can include are – tell Him how much you love Him etc – how you are feeling – invite Him into your day – express your concerns to Him and ask for His intervention – and so much more. Ask Him what He wants to say to you and then listen for His answer.
Many of you will have heard Psalm 23 – The Lord is my Shepherd I shall not want – He makes me to lie down in green pastures – He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul. Now picture yourself hand in hand with Jesus as He leads you to a beautiful green meadow to rest – see the water next to you. Enjoy time with Him there – allow Him to heal any wounded parts of your soul and bring refreshing