As a follower of Jesus, you’re going to go through seasons where God feels distant, and you may be left wondering how to get closer to him again. Luckily, one simple habit can help you close the distance and experience a renewed sense of God’s presence in your life: How to get closer to God
Jesus modeled how to get close to God, and he utilized one crucial habit to do it: prayer. Jesus was the closest to God of any of us by a long shot, and he made it a priority to pause and pray.
In simplest terms, prayer is a conversation with God. Jesus knew that, like all relationships, conversation is the key to closeness – and the same applies to our relationship with God. So how can we use prayer to get closer to God?
Decide when and where you will pray
Pete Greig, who wrote a book called “How to Pray: A Simple Guide for Normal People,” gives us an impactful insight about prayer. He said, “99% of prayer is just showing up: making the effort to become consciously present to the God who is constantly present for us.”
The first step to making prayer a daily habit in your life is simply deciding to show up. When and where that happens is up to you! It doesn’t have to be complicated. Take a look at your daily routines, for example: is there a part of your routine where you can have time with God, or a habit you can stack prayer on top of?
Here are some times and places you could try incorporating prayer:
- On your drive to work
- While you do dishes
- While you walk the dog
But just because you know when to pray doesn’t mean you’ll always know what to pray for.
Deciding what to pray for
“Ok, God, I’m here...now what?”
If your prayers have ever started like that, you’re not alone. It can feel awkward trying to talk to God, especially if it’s not something you’re used to. You may want to try one of these conversation starters to get your talk with God going:
God, help me.
Prayer is a great opportunity to ask God for help. In the book of Psalms, a collection of prayers, we see cries for help like this one in Psalm 109:26: “Help me, O Lord my God! Save me because of your unfailing love!” God is always ready to help us when we need it (Psalm 46:1), and prayer is one way we can invite God’s help in our lives. Next time you have a persistent worry or concern, take a couple of minutes to pause and ask God for help.
God, thank you.
When we think of prayer, we often think of asking God for things. But we can also tell God about the things we’re grateful for when we pray. Gratitude can make a big difference not just in our relationship with God, but also with our mental and physical health. Praying about the things you’re thankful for is a great way to increase your gratitude and reap its benefits.
God, I'm sorry.
In just about every relationship, there will come a time where we need to apologize for something. The same is true for our relationship with God. Confessing our sins is a key factor in staying close to God. When we tell God about our mistakes, we’re agreeing with him that what we did was wrong. As we do this, we have the opportunity to receive God’s forgiveness and get a fresh start (Colossians 2:13-14).
God, I want to stay close to you.
We can ask God for help when we’re scared or worried, but we can also ask him for help when it comes to things like wisdom, discernment, and even our relationship with him! If you want to grow closer to God, try asking God to help you. James 4:8 reminds us that God will come close to us when we come close to him.
On our end, committing to prayer is essential to becoming closer to God. But be encouraged by the fact that God’s already present in our lives (Psalm 139:7-10)! We may drift from time to time and get frustrated, but God hasn’t gone anywhere. When we do get distracted, remember that God is “close to all who call on him” (Psalm 145:18).
As you’re diving deeper into prayer, here are some other resources to help you develop a consistent prayer habit and grow in your connection with God:
Does Prayer Work?
What Does the Bible Say About Prayer?
Bible Reading Plan: Pray Through the Psalms
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