Sitting on the pew, looking at the cross placed on the pulpit, it reminds me of how Jesus sacrificed His life for us sinners because of His love.
Do you spend time praying? I do…
“Lord, please help me with my upcoming exams. ”
“Lord, I have some issues at work that need your intervention and help. ”
“Lord, I pray that my health improves.”
As I reflect on my prayers thus far, I realised that my prayers tended to revolve around my needs and desires.
It seemed timely that I found myself asking the Lord, “How do you want me to grow to be more like you?”.
“Be still and draw near to me.”, a gentle whisper responds.
And yet, how do we draw near to God?
How do we love Him and build a deeper relationship with Him?
“Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”James 4:8-10 (NIV)
Scripture assures that when we draw near to God, He will draw near to us too. However, we cannot be walking in sin and expecting to draw near to God.
He wants us to have a pure heart.
Spending Time with God
We spend time exercising to keep ourselves fit and healthy; Exercising is, in fact, of no difference to spending time with God.
We need to set a goal and stay focused.
Perhaps a realistic goal such as devoting five minutes a day to reading God’s word?
We must exercise discipline to have quiet time and pray.
Just like an athlete who eats well, we need to feed ourselves with spiritual food and keep ourselves nourished.
It is not always easy with so much distraction and worldly stuff to attend to, but the struggle will pay off.
“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”Hebrews 12:11
Scripture and Communication
Reading God’s word is important for us to know God’s heart, his character and to learn to be like him.
The bible has everything we need to know to navigate through life.
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.”2 Timothy 3:16
We can start by being in a place we enjoy, a room in the house where there is no distraction.
Pick up the bible and start reading, it can be about a certain bible character or from any specific book of interest.
Make it a top priority in life because there is power in it to change your life and transform you to the kind of person God wants you to be.
Communication with God can be done through prayer.
We can pray by speaking to Him directly.
Similar to how we want to know our loved ones and friends better, we need to communicate with Him.
We share our thoughts with God, we cry out to Him, we laugh with Him.
God desires to hear from us.
We want to hear from Him too.
As we spend time praying, God will speak to our hearts and it is from here that we start developing deeper relationships with him.
Praise God, Serve Others
What we have and are blessed with comes from God.
Be thankful and praise Him for all that He has done for us.
My group of friends used to come up with the 26 adjectives to praise God using the alphabets A to Z.
This helps to remind us of how great God is as we spend time praising Him.
“Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them. But I, with shouts of grateful praise, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the Lord.'”John 2: 8-9 (NIV)
One way we can stay close and grow to be more like Christ is to serve others.
In Matthew 22:37-39 (NIV), Jesus extorts: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”
Let’s have a serving heart.
Ask God to help us to see people as how He sees them.
Learn to be sensitive to the needs of others.
It could be just a simple text to check in or ask for their prayer request(s) so that you can help to pray for them.
Furthermore, just simply being present in a cell group is also a means of serving.
Your presence will be an encouragement to the group too.
Let us press on in this exciting journey of drawing a deeper relationship with God.
Prayer & Reflection:
- How can scriptures help in your prayer life?
Have you tried praying with scriptures?
Take a Psalm and start praying with it.
- What can you do to make spending time alone with God your first priority when it comes to spiritual discipline?
- Think and pray through how you would like to establish a deeper relationship with God.