Attending church services, taking classes, and joining discipleship groups or Bible studies are all great ways to grow as a Christian, but nothing strengthens your relationship with God like spending time alone with Him. Setting aside time in your day to remove all distractions, open your Bible and just be with Jesus will prove to be one of the greatest practices of your Christian walk. Though each person's quiet time with God is unique, almost all involve the following key elements.
"All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work." 2 Timothy 3:16-17
The Bible is the clearest way God communicates with His children. Through the words of Scripture, God reveals who He is and His will for our lives. He shares promises and strengthens our faith. During your time with the Lord, you may read a verse, a chapter, an entire book, or you may use a systematic plan that guides you through all or part of God's Word over a set period of time. Whatever approach you decide to take to reading the Bible, it is a foundational part of spending time with God.
For examples of systematic Bible reading plans click here.
"And (Jesus) told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart." Luke 18:1
Prayer is one of the most powerful gifts that has been given to followers of Jesus. Christians have been given the gift of being able to communicate with God at any moment from any location. Yet, many Christians are either confused about prayer or uncertain of how to pray.
Very simply, prayer is having a conversation with God. In prayer you can share your deepest burdens and greatest joys. Prayer also involves times of silently listening for God to speak to you.
A very simple outline to follow when praying is found in the acronym A.C.T.S.
Adoration - Worship God by declaring His beauty, power, and majesty. The Psalms are a great place to find examples of prayers of adoration.
Confession - Confess to God things you have done that are sinful. Your relationship with God through Jesus can never be harmed by sins you commit, but fellowship is broken when we sin. Confession of sin is how your fellowship with God is restored.
Thanksgiving - Spend time thanking God for the blessings in your life. As you examine your life, you won't have to think hard to realize how blessed you truly are. All good things are a gift from God (James 1:17), and it is good to give thanks.
Supplication - God knows what we need before we even ask, but the Bible says that when we make our requests known to God that His peace which surpasses all understanding will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 4:6-7)
For more information and resources on prayer, click here.
Devotionals, journaling, and listening to worship music are examples of additional elements people use in their time with God. The key is to find what helps you connect best with God and pursue Him. Don't make this practice mechanical. Realize that God is inviting you to spend time with Him. As you get into the practice of spending time with God, you will soon find there is nothing more enjoyable than being with your Heavenly Father.