The Secret Formula: How to Be Closer to God
I don't know about you, but when I grow weary and discouraged, it's often a direct result of distance to my Source of life - God Himself. When I am not intentionally abiding in His presence and Word, I begin to feel as though I lose confidence and peace. Like the story in my last post of the branch trying to produce fruit on its own, I don't have to try do anything on my own. I only have to stay connected to the Tree - to Jesus. I could try all I want but without being connected to the Vine, I will not bear fruit as a lifeless twig lying in the grass.
My sole responsibility is to abide, to keep my connection to Jesus solid and secure.
How is this done?
It's really not that complicated. As cliche as it may sound, the formula for growing close, or abiding and spiritually grafting on to the Father, remains the same today as it has always been:
PRAYER + the WORD + TIME = CLOSE INTIMACY with GOD
So, how does scripting play into this? Let's break it down piece by piece:
Prayer is simply talking to God. Prayer is allowing my heart to cry out to the Lord for guidance, wisdom, peace, my own needs and the needs of others. Through prayer, we are able to focus our heart on Him. We can express our love through praise, declare my absolute dependence on Him, and meditate on His promises.
Here's how scripting helps: In our busy lives, spending even few moments really present in undistracted prayer can feel nearly impossible. During college when I began scripting, I noticed I would begin to pray and before I knew it I was thinking about how I was going to finish my next project or what time my coffee date with my sorority sister was. Add work, job, and a family to the mix of the "to-do's" and concentration in prayer deserves a gold star if you can get through it. Scripting prayer, or the concepts that I wish to pray over, has changed the whole ball game when it comes to prayer. As I script the concepts and prayers, I really focus on what I'm doing. It becomes easier to block out the distracting thoughts that dare creep into my mind during a moment of prayer because I concentrate all of my soul (hence, "soulscripts") on my prayer and worship as I script it unto the Lord.
Let me encourage you to practice prayer this way. To really give yourself five minutes to be present, focus on what you are praying over, and to pray out loud or to yourself as you do so. Then sit still for just a few moments (as long as your attention span allows) and allow His warmth and response to fill your heart. You will feel closer to Him, I guarantee it.
"Fear not for I am with you. I have summoned you by name...you are precious and honored in my sight, because I love you." (Isaiah 43:1-4)
One of the most precious ways God expresses His love for us is through His Word. This is an essential factor for intimacy with Him.
Think of the Bible as one big, fat, multipage, seemingly never-ending, jam packed love letter.
We don't have to wonder what God thinks, how He feels about certain things, or whether He loves us or not. God spells out His love for the whole world to see, right there in His Word.
We are a chosen people, made holy, deeply & dearly loved by God. AWESOME, RIGHT?!
Okay, great. But that big, fat love letter can be a little overwhelming and hard to understand. So how do we harness that awesome love and tuck it in the deepest corners of our soul?
It can be hard to even know where to begin reading the Bible. Studies and devotionals are easily accessible at our disposal via apps, big bookstores, and more now days. So to begin, it takes being intentional and motivated to step out on the water, the great unkown, and begin a study. Just start!
Or perhaps you've started a study that's provided some great guidance. Wonderful!
Now how much of it do you remember? What do you want to remember but fear that in the chaos of life your little filing cabinets in your brain will lose in the shuffle? This is where journaling can come in, or better yet, scripting.
Writing the Word, Scripting Scripture, whatever you want to call it, can be a key tool in committing sweet Truth to memory. Personally, scripting has helped me learn and memorize the Truth of His love on an entirely new level. It's nourished my heart with His promises, tucking truth into the deepest and darkest corners of my soul (again, "soulscripts"). If you're not ready to begin scripting, start journaling.
The point is: Read the Word + Write the Word = Know the Word.
Time is an essential factor for closeness with God for a purely practical reason. If I don't take time to pray, and to learn His responses through His Word, there will be no real communication in our relationship. Sure, I could slap up bible verses on social media and call myself a Christian, but if that relationship is not developed through precious time together, in both prayer and studying His Word, all I am is the squeaking sound of a rusty gate declaring my Christianity.
We cannot love the way we have been designed to love if we do not draw near to the Source of love - If we do not enter into that sweet, constant exchange of love or understand how loved we are.
Meet with God.
If you don't make time to read God's Word, to commit His promises's to memory (scripting/journaling/etc.), you won't hear His loving call.
I want to emphasize one key point to close:
At the end of it all, through all the praying / reading / writing / studying & seeking, if your faith is real, you will not fall away. Not because you are strong in your faith or your faith is strong, but because God has His grip on you & He will not let go. You will remain in Him because as His child, you are His forever." (Nancy Guthrie)
What do you think? What else helps you draw nearer to God? Leave a comment below!
Photos by Kelly Halsh