This is the second article on the subject of spending time with God. The first article can be found here.
As the first article begins, if you have not been baptized then don’t read any further. Get baptized.
This series of articles are a precise approach to discipleship. One step at a time. Not moving forward until the previous discipline has been completed.
This article continues to focus on spending time with God. However, I want to address what spending time with God is not as a way of understanding what it is.
WHAT IT IS NOT
Mention spending time with God to someone else. Most people will automatically equivocate it to prayer. Prayer can be spending time with God if done correctly.
However, many people think of prayer as talking to God. It is talking to God, but prayer should not be one-way communication. In other words, prayer isn’t just giving your list to God of the things you want God to do for you or for someone else.
Recall, we spend time with God to know God and his son, Jesus Christ. We spend time with God to learn from God and to live by his word. Essentially, spending time with God is about relationship.
Relationships are based on two-way communication. It is hard (I’d say impossible) to have a relationship with someone that was only one-way communication.
Imagine if the only time a “friend” spoke to you was to tell you what they wanted you to do. They didn’t stick around long enough for you to reply to their request. They didn’t listen to anything you had to say.
How much of a “friend” are they? Is there really a relationship? Can they know “your word”?
This is exactly how many people treat prayer. They may tell God how thankful they are for him. They may confess a few sins. But then, its down to business – telling God everything they want.
Once they finish with what they have to say, they are done. End of conversation. Amen and go about their way.
Sounds a lot like one-way communication. Sounds a lot like the “friend” in our illustration above. Not much of a relationship.
Spending time with God is not giving God your list of demands regardless of how cordial you may be about it.
WHAT DO I DO THEN?
Let me suggest a second method of spending time with God that involves the common approach to prayer.
Rather than saying your prayer all in one breath, break your prayer down into conversational pieces. Think of how a conversation with a true friend might go.
“How are you doing today?” You ask.
You would pause here to allow your friend to respond.
“I am fine,” your friend might say, “and how are you?”
Your friend would pause and allow you to speak.
“Great. I was thinking that we could go to….”
“Sounds fun. What time?”
And so on would your conversation flow as you talk about the weather, your favorite TV show, etc.
“Really?” You ask. “You really want me to have a conversation with God?”
Yes I do.
You may be pleasantly surprised to discover that God will have a conversation with you if you let him.
You may not hear an audible voice (you might though). God’s spirit may simply speak with your spirit. You may “hear” him in your soul.
Some people say they feel God’s leading.
Others call it a still small whisper.
Some describe a “convincing” as they seek guidance from God.
The point is you must give God a chance to speak. To do that, you must spend time with him.
Give it a shot and see what happens. You may be surprised.