February 27, 2012

Time With God

In order to have a strong relationship with our Father, we need to work at it. Relationships, good ones, are based on knowledge and honesty and trust. It's tough to trust and love someone that you don't really know.
God is with us always, patiently waiting to be known. Always willing to pass the time with us. Not some up-in-the-sky overlord, but our own personal God walking beside us.  We only need to take the time to know Him.

There are some simple things you can do to increase your knowledge of our Father and to strengthen your faith. None of these need to take much time but give as much time as you can. All of these suggestions can be done separately. Start with one that appeals to you and go from there. You'll find the more you repeat an action, the easier it becomes to remember it. Not only because it becomes habit but because you will find yourself looking forward to these conscious moments with God.

Say Good Morning to God.
Say it silently in your mind in the groggy first minutes or say it out loud as you open your eyes. If you don't remember until you hit the shower, say it then.
He is with you from the first moment you open your eyes (indeed, he never really left while you were sleeping) and we greet people we love with a Good Morning. This can easily become a meaningful habit to put Him in the front of your mind at the start of your day.

Read your Bible.
No it doesnt matter how much you read or whether you start in the Old or New Testament or in what order you read the different books. It doesn't matter which version you prefer. Just read. Read a bit each day even if it's only one verse. There are many different Bible reading plans online that you can follow should you choose to do so but don't get all hung up on what you need to read and when and if you read enough and so on. Don't let it stop you from reading. All the details are only that. Most importantly, pick up a Bible and read.

Talk to Him.
Tell Him what you hope to accomplish today. Talk about your plans, your hopes, your what-ifs. Express your admiration as you notice His work in the colors of the sky or the fragrance of spring lilacs. Sing Him a song. Thank Him for your blessings. Share your fears and worries. It's true God knows all, but actively talking to him is not an action to inform him. It's an expression of awareness; a conscience, purposeful sharing. No matter what you talk about, no matter the mood you are in, when you remember... talk to Him.

Create a Prayer Book.
Use a notebook or a blank journal. Add prayers you wish to say, scripture that speaks to you, and pictures that inspire you. This book is an ongoing project and wont be built in a day. Add to it slowly as scripture and life inspire you. Try to read your book each day. Perhaps when you wake, after lunch or before bed. Leave it out where you will see it and when you see it, pick it up and read it. Even if you only read through one entry.

Use a Prayer Card.
Write out a Bible verse you like on a recipe card or piece of cardstock. On this card also include prayer requests. Maybe you have a sick friend or a distressed family member who could use a prayer. Make a note so you don't forget. Keep the card with you, or make multiple copies to scatter around the house, and refer to it throughout the day.

Memorize a Book of the Bible.
Perhaps a Psalm or a Proverb, or one of the letters by Paul or by John. Whatever your choice, break it up into manageable parts and write them out on recipe cards. Keep a card with you and learn a bit at a time, until you have the entire selection committed to memory. As you learn the words, think about what you can learn from them, what they meant to the writer, what they mean to your life and how can you make them not only a part of your memory but a part of your everyday actions.

Follow a Bible Study Plan.
A Bible study plan reads through a part of the Bible over a period of time to discover the lessons found in that part of scripture. The same scripture is read repeatedly, each time with different purpose. To start, initial thoughts and observations are considered. Then the revelations, the promises and the laws found in the verse are examined and thought about, and perhaps talked about. How we can apply our new knowledge is considered. Some Bible plans are provided by communities working through them as a group. If you need help finding a Bible plan, please leave a comment and I can recommend some resources.

Take Time to Listen.
Take time to listen to God. Not to pray or to ask for help or to thank him (although those are all important), but only to be quiet, and still, and to listen. Give him a chance to lead you and a chance to speak to you without all the daily interference. If your thoughts wander and you become side-tracked, pull them back when you notice and try to clear your mind. This won't be easy at first but keep trying.

Say Good Night
Take the time to say Good Night to God. Talk with Him a moment. Thank Him for your day and your blessings. Lay your worries to rest with God and sleep easy.

I will lie down and sleep in peace,
for you alone, O Lord,
make me dwell in safety.
~ Psalm 4:8
There are other ways to spend time with God. This is just a small list to encourage you. As I said, pick one and work on it. Don't try to do it all. When you choose one, stick with it until it is no longer new and it has become a part of your daily life before adding anything else. I hope this encourages you to build on your relationship with God. Blessings.

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