Christian life is nothing but friendship with Christ. Before Christ came, there were only a few who were called the friends of God. But the coming of Christ has opened a new era of man’s relationship with God. Jesus came to make God and man friends. The very first thing Jesus did when He began His work in public was to recruit a handful of men from all walks of life to whom He could demonstrate the friendliness of God. these men, called disciples (followers), addressed Jesus as Lord and Master, He said, "I will not call you servants. You are My friends!" (Jn 15:15). Blessed privilege!
Everyone who has repented of his sin, turned to God, and believed on Christ the Mediator, has been reconciled to God. He has become a friend of God. Any friendship must be nurtured. It cannot develop of its own. The most important requirement to grow deep in friendship is spending of time. Unless we spend quality time with God, we cannot enjoy His friendly character. This article explains how to spend time with God.
SET A TIME
Choose a fresh hour. King David was a busy ruler. But he had set aside the early hours of the day to meet with God. "O Lord, in the morning my prayer comes before You" (Psa 88:13). Both in the Bible times and throughout history, men and women mightily used of God had been early risers. They met God before meeting men. John Bunyan said, "He who runs from God in the morning will scarcely find Him the rest of the day!"
It’s important that you stick to this time whatever the reason. You must take this seriously as an appointment with the King of Heaven. Daniel was a young man taken captive to Babylon. Folks there were hostile to his religious beliefs. There was even a civil law which banned prayer to any god. But Daniel cared the less for all these. Nothing could stop his holy habit. "He knelt down on his knees three times and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his CUSTOM since early days" (Dan 6:10).
We see another example in the Book of Acts. The Church had experienced a bursting growth following Pentecost. Three thousand people were baptized on a single day. This suddenly multiplied the pastoral responsibility of leaders. But they never became too busy to go apart to commune with God. "The hour of prayer" was too precious for them to be sacrificed for anything sacred or secular (Acts 3:1). This they had learnt from their Master who often withdrew Himself into lonely places to pray when great crowds had come to Him for hearing and healing (Lk 5:15,16). Aren’t you strict with your class hours or meal-times? So should you be with your time with God. It honors Him.
LISTEN AND SPEAK
The time with God is usually called the Quiet Time. But this is not a "silent" time! Noise there is not, but voice there is. We listen to God, which means we meditate the Bible. We speak to Him, which means we pray.
It’s fitting to begin with Bible meditation. We must hear God speak to us before we speak to Him. The preacher son of David spoke these words of wisdom: "Walk prudently when you go to the house of God; and draw near to HEAR rather than to GIVE the sacrifice of fools... Do not be rash with your mouth, and let not your heart say anything hastily before God. For God is in heaven, and you on earth; therefore let your words be few" (Eccl 5:1,2). The saintly F.B. Meyer pointed out, "It’s more needful for you to hear God’s words than that God should hear yours, though the one will always lead to the other." Yes, prayer or praise is actually our response to God’s revelation.
The model prayer Jesus taught begins with the praise: "Hallowed be Your Name!" We are commanded to "enter into God’s gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise" (Psa 100:4). You may sing a song of praise (v 2). We have so many worship songs and choruses these days. You will experience a new release as you lift up your voice to bless the Lord. The presence of God will be real because He inhabits the praises of His people (Psa 22:3).
Praise can take two forms: worship and thanksgiving. When you praise God for who He is, that’s worship. Praising God for what He has done or is doing is thanksgiving. Do both. The first two verses of Psalm 103 are memorized by most Christians from childhood. Verse 1 is a call to worship: "Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name." Verse 2 is a call to thanksgiving: "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits." It’s said, "The pulse of prayer is praise and the heart of prayer is gratitude."
God reveals Himself primarily through the pages of the Scripture. Let what you learnt about God from your passage of meditation be turned into praise. You might have read in that portion about God’s Omnipresence, Omnipotence or Omniscience. Praise Him for that. Or you might have met Him in that passage as a Creator, Savior, Restorer, Lover, Keeper or Giver. Exalt Him in praise with appropriate words.
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer!
When you kneel before God in the morning, you can stand up to anything during the day!