I love God and value my relationship with Him, but I have periods in my life when I struggle to make time to focus on being with Him. I do really well when I have a lot of structure surrounding my own faith. This was great when I was in college and I had built-in daily chapels, church on Sunday, and a weekly Bible study with my dorm floor. After I graduated I lost some of that built-in structure, and now I find it more difficult to make time to focus on God’s presence.
It can be helpful to think about my relationship with God like other relationships in my life. I love my friends, family, and husband, but spending quality time with them doesn’t happen automatically. It takes intentional planning and time. It’s similar with my relationship with God.
We see this truth in Scripture. Many times in the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), Jesus sought out quiet time to pray and speak to God the Father because He loves Him. Sometimes this involved getting up early in the morning or walking away from a crowd to climb up a mountain. Jesus also went to the temple to be with God’s people and hear Scripture being read aloud. Even when Jesus was hanging on the cross, He cried out to the Father multiple times, communicating until the very end. And when Jesus rose from the dead and ascended into heaven, God the Father sent us the Holy Spirit so He can be with us all the time, whether we’re intentionally focusing on His presence or not. He loves us so much that He never leaves our side.
The way Jesus prioritized His relationship with the Father is a great reminder to me of the importance of spending time giving God my intentional focus. This time could be used in prayer, serving others, learning, spending time with God’s people, tending to creation, or lots of other ways. But I know myself, and if I’m not purposefully setting aside time to focus on God’s presence with me, that time gets gobbled up by something else in my life. Just like my other relationships, my relationship with God flourishes with intentional time, energy, and planning.
Remember, Jesus loves us, and He made the way to be with us always. He enables us to spend time focusing on His loving presence. And that’s always time well spent. • Naomi Zylstra
• If we know Jesus, He is always with us through the Holy Spirit. So, in every moment of our lives, we can be sensitive to His presence. Additionally, there are many ways we can set aside time to focus on His presence with us, including prayer, church, communion, music, time in nature, Bible studies, etc. What are some ways you like to focus on Jesus’s presence?
[Jesus] went up into the hills by himself to pray. Matthew 14:23b (NLT)