"I want to get closer to God," he said.
How do I Get Closer to God?
I love talking to people... and so did he.
Carefully sitting down in my airplane seat the other day, I turned and smiled, nodding to the young man next to me. In the zone, I was prepared to work on a Morning Briefing, but he was friendly and in the mood to chat. Fair enough, let's go. And what a rich conversation we had!
One of the great things about airplane conversations is the safe nature of them. Knowing your seat mate is not in your life, you can be authentic and gut-level honest, confident you will never see the person again, unless by intention. In short order we discovered we were on the same team, so we talked about faith in Jesus, and what it looks like in our lives--he, a 20-year-old college student and me. Rich, indeed.
As our airplane was landing, I turned and said, 'So how can I be praying for you?' He thought a moment and said, 'that I will just keep getting closer to God.' And his Father in heaven smiled.
Hmmm...how to get closer to God. Two ways really - learning to communicate with him in prayer and getting to know him through reading and understanding the Bible. Both require some quiet, both require some discipline--learned behaviors, but there is no relationship without connection. A vital connection with anything is what makes it come alive. My backyard roses, tomatoes and herbs are proof that there is no growth without life. Jesus said: “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit.”1
To help me abide, to help me grow and then maintain my connection to God, I sit down with him first thing in the morning – to talk with him and to read His words to me. While there is no one right way to pray, I have found several models--some like the one pictured, very simple--that guard against distraction. And. I. write. my. prayers. to. stay. focused.
In the picture, you'll see I note the date and scripture I am studying. This is a simple prayer covering four aspects:
Praising God, Repenting of sin, Asking God for our needs and others, and Thanking God for his good gifts, naming them--making mention of different things each day.
And because Jesus told us to pray in His powerful name, I close my prayer accordingly.
Gabe, Jen, Ava, Lyly, Nick, there is no better way to grow closer to God than being with him. Finding ways to be in God's presence requires intention, but it is worth it! Email and text messages can wait. People who have been Christ followers for years wonder why their faith seems so lackluster; mediocrity must not be an option, for any reason. Let's train ourselves to be godly... as Paul wrote to Timothy “Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.”2
Many years ago, I learned that my morning time with God was oft determined the night before, making the choice to forego the Late Show, and having my Bible, journal and pen together ahead of time.
Desire + intention + discipline = breakthrough.
These, plus some lady you met on the airplane praying for you!
Make the choice,
My heart...is it yours? The song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7dMpE7rfapc
1 - John 15.5
2 - 1 Timothy 4.8