It is so very easy to be distracted in today’s world of technology and immediacy. Putting aside anything which requires waiting or patience or nurturing in favour of something which brings quick results has become a preferred option.
In Chemistry there is a technique based on a principle called the partition coefficient: solvent extraction. This technique involves the separation of a solute dissolved in one solvent by mixing that first solution with another solvent in which the solute is more soluble. In other words the substance that is wanted is removed from one mixture and placed into another.
It has been found that patient, repeated extractions done with smaller volumes of solvent produce better extractions than a single extraction done with a larger volume of solvent. The use of a larger volume may bring quicker results but the use of several, smaller volumes is more efficient.
Similarly in a quest for a profound relationship with God, one has to use a method which may require more effort but which ultimately will establish a stronger foundation and hence more meaningful experience. In this post, I will outline three simple steps which are not exhaustive, but which are essential if you desire a more sublime relationship.
Step 1 Start your day earlier.
The most productive, cranial time of the day is the morning time. At this time there are less distractions, you are more alert (once you do get moving) and, chances are that, you may be the only one up, or at least you may be able to find a spot where you can be alone.
The coolness of the morning, the stillness and the utter tranquility is conducive to making a connection with your Maker. You may choose to awake at a particular time each day. This may be anywhere between ten minutes to an hour earlier than you normally would awake. You will be able to determine the best time as you sustain the effort and as you begin to hear the still small voice of God more clearly.
Awaking earlier is not a task anyone likes. It can be easier though if you make the effort to get to bed earlier at nights so as not to lose hours of sleep that are critical to lucid thinking. As you persevere, the habit will take root and, after at least three weeks, you will discover that awaking at your fixed time no longer seems difficult.
Step 2 Start your meditations with prayer.
So you are up, what now? The beginning of your day ought to begin with prayer. Prayer quite simply is speaking with God: giving Him praise and thanks, telling Him of your goals, your fears and concerns, asking for His guidance and continued blessings and asking for understanding of His word as you read.
For me, the Lord’s Prayer is a critical part of my daily routine. Simple but effective. The bible tells us that there is no need to be like those who stand in the temples praying loudly long prayers for others to hear. Prayers ought to be done quietly and in secret. God knows our thoughts even before we voice them but to develop our relationship with Him, just as we develop human relationships, we need to speak with Him.
Prayer must be simple, quiet and fervent. It ought to be the first thing we do in the morning, what we do throughout the day and the last thing we do at night.
Step 3 Read the Bible daily.
Finally, to get to know someone, we speak with them, ask questions and ask others about them. In this technological age, some even use the internet to gain information about people. We can learn about who God is, what He has done and what He can still do by reading His word in the Bible. It is not always a simple task to read and understand the Bible. This is where prayer for understanding comes into play.
For those of us who are newly embarking on this spiritual journey, the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are good starting points. I have learnt so much from the letters of Paul that I would highly recommend them for those who may be struggling with reading the Bible. As your relationship develops, the Psalms, Proverbs, the book of Daniel and others in the Old Testament provide valuable insights and background information.
As I said, these steps are not exhaustive but they are critical. Any relationship of substance must have a time of meditation, prayer and scripture reading. You must devote your attention to these three steps assiduously if you desire to walk in the light of God.
What do you do to build a meaningful relationship with God? I would really enjoy hearing what you do. I may learn something that could help me to draw closer to Him!