What does time with God look like? How can we know Him? Over the years, I have been the queen of excuses regarding the time I intentionally spend with God. I’ve said ‘life is busy, I don’t understand what I’m reading in the Bible, I’m too tired, I’m distracted’ and so on. However, I have come to realise that being intentional in spending time with the Lord is needed, worthwhile, life-giving, and it’s where we know our God who loves us. All of those excuses may be true in part and felt more strongly in certain seasons of life, but they can all be addressed. This isn’t a guilt trip! God knows your heart and where you are at. But we miss out on so much if we don’t spend time with Him. FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) with God is a real thing! If we want to know God more, we spend time with Him. Speaker, author and entrepreneur Nick Vujicic says it well – watch below in this short 5 minute video:
Jesus spent time with His Father – and we can too
Spending time with God alone is something that Jesus modelled. He often got up really early and withdrew by Himself to pray and speak with His Father. When we place our hope in Jesus, trusting in all that He said and did, turning from our sin and turning towards Him (repentance) we become children of God and heirs with Him (Galatians 4:7). We can come to God like children and speak with Him ourselves.
As we spend time with God, we will grow in faith, we will be refreshed, encouraged, challenged, convicted. It is an opportunity to thank Him for the blessings that we have, even in our hardship. We should be honest before Him and confess those things that we think, say and do that can hinder a growing relationship with God – our sin. It’s a time to reflect and to ask the Lord for those things that we may need or want, but trusting Him with the outcome and knowing that He knows what we need and that He will provide.
How can we hear God’s voice?
Primarily, we can know God more by reading the Bible. When we become a Christian we are given the Holy Spirit – the Spirit of the Living God that lives in us. He will help us to understand what is true. The Spirit will transform our heart and mind over time as we yield to Him. God will meet us in its pages and there will always be something new to discover about Him and ourselves – no one can exhaust the treasure of truth found in the Bible.
What if it’s hard to spend time with God?
There are seasons in life which can make spending time with God look different to the way that we would like. We should not beat ourselves up and live under a strict law. His grace abounds! But if you are serious about knowing God more, it’s not going to happen when the Bible is closed and you do not open up to Him in prayer. There may be times when you are struggling and feel distant from Him. I’ve experienced this first hand. However, time and again, when I came before God honestly in prayer and had time in His Word, my attitude changed and my heart softened. I didn’t make that happen because I am naturally bent toward being moody! God is in the business of changing hearts and minds.
Just like any appointment we make with someone, we keep it. Make an appointment with God at some point in the day. I am only now getting into a consistent rhythm again. When I was sick, I would spend time talking to God from bed or just reading a few verses here or there. With sleep deprivation, it was pockets of time as and when I could.
I have started to set my alarm for 5.30am every morning (I used to love sleeping in). I have a busy day ahead with two young children, a husband working from home and a house to run and it can be overwhelming. In the morning the house is quiet and peaceful so I make the most of it. I make a cup of coffee and sit in my big armchair. God is the reason I get out of bed every morning. He is literally the reason as He sustains my life.
There is grace for those mornings when I am exhausted and hit snooze on my alarm. However, I don’t want it to stay snoozed or for me to become lazy. I really, desperately want to hear from God that day, so I will be intentional about making time for Him. Here is a short video animation on the unifying story found in the Bible:
Is the Bible the only way God speaks to us?
I have heard stories of God speaking to people in dreams and they have given their lives to Jesus. I have known people feel close to God when they are out and about in nature, soaking in all its beauty or gazing at the vast expanse of the universe (Romans 1:20). I often will pray when I am outside at some beautiful location. Others have come to know God when someone told them about Jesus and prayed with them. The Lord knows what He is doing in how He chooses to reveal Himself. He has spoken across the centuries to different men and women in different ways. The Bible tells us about Jesus who leads us into all truth by His Spirit (John 16:13). He is the one that the Bible is pointing to. In these days, God speaks to us through this written word.
Final thoughts on spending time with God
I hope you can see that time with God is important – and most certainly not another ‘thing’ on the to-do list. Like any relationship, if we truly want to know that person, we make the effort. God is always with us. Time with God for you might look different than it does with me. But if you are wanting to know Him more, then that happens by intentionally spending time with Him reading the Bible and in prayer. It may look different in different seasons of life. If you’re struggling with this today, why not start there and tell the Lord that you do want to know Him more. Ask Him to help you and speak to you as you read the Bible. Find others who can encourage you in this. If you would like to talk to someone about this more, please feel free to contact me and I would love to chat with you. Here are a few final thoughts/tips to wrap up:
- Be intentional, make time and keep the appointment.
- Have a space or place where you spend time with God. Mine is currently an armchair, but it has been my bed, a bench, a tent… God is with us wherever we are!
- Open the Bible and read it! You may find it helpful to have a Bible plan or just choose a book in the Bible to look through. I have started reading a chapter from the Old Testament and a chapter from the New Testament each morning, with the help of a commentary. There are some great tools and resources online that can help explain verses and help us to grow in our understanding. Check out my ‘Resources‘ page for more information.
- Study the Bible with a friend or in a group. It’s great to have someone look at the Bible with you, whether in person, online or just a catch up over the phone about what you’re learning. There’s also a goldmine of wisdom from older Christians who have walked with Jesus for a while and are passionate about Him and His Word.
- If there’s something you don’t understand, look into it further and ask God to make it clear.
- Spend time in silence. We love to be distracted and live in a noisy world. Listen as God speaks to you.
- Leave your phone on the other side of the room so you are not tempted to keep scrolling, unless you are using your Bible from it (see resources below). Make notes of anything you want to explore further and research it later.
- Go outdoors and pray as you walk in beautiful places!
- Keep a prayer journal. I have a few that I’ve written in over the years, and one of the great things is I can look back and see God’s faithfulness throughout my life. At the moment, I’m not really writing down my prayers, just speaking them directly to God. I miss journalling, so maybe I’ll start again.
Other resources that may help
- Buy a Bible from The Good Book Company; 10ofthose or your local Christian bookshop
- The Bible Society
- Christianity Explored
- Why is it important to spend time alone with God?
- 321 – The Story of God, The World and You
- Bible.com – free Bible for your phone, tablet, and computer