Becoming A Best Friend With God

The Lord wants to show his mercy to you.
He wants to rise and comfort you.
The Lord is a fair God,
and everyone who waits for his help will be happy.

The Lord Will Help His People

You people who live on Mount Zion in Jerusalem will not cry anymore. The Lord will hear your crying, and he will comfort you. When he hears you, he will help you. The Lord has given you sorrow and hurt like the bread and water you ate every day. He is your teacher; he will not continue to hide from you, but you will see your teacher with your own eyes. If you go the wrong way -- to the right or to the left -- you will hear a voice behind you saying, "This is the right way. You should go this way." Isaiah 30:18-21

Pastor Rick Warren

Through constant conversation. You will never grow a close relationship with God by just attending church once a week or even having a daily quite time. Friendship with God is built by sharing all your life experiences with him.

Of course, it is important to establish the habit of a daily devotional time with God, but he wants more than an appointment in your schedule. He wants to be included in every activity, every conversation, every problem, and even every thought. You can carry on a continuous, open-ended conversation with him throughout your day, talking with him about whatever you are doing or thinking at that moment.

"Praying without ceasing" means conversing with God while shopping, driving, working, or perform any other everyday tasks.

A common misconception is that "spending time with God" means being alone with him. Of course Jesus modeled, you need time alone with God, but that is only a fraction of your waking hours. Everything you can do can be "spending time with God" if he is invited to be part of it and you stay aware of his presence.

The classic book on learning how to develop a constant conversation God is Practicing the Presence of God. It was written in the seventeenth century by Brother Lawrence, a humble cook in a French monastery. Brother Lawrence was able to turn even the most commonplace and menial tasks, like preparing meals and washing dishes, into acts of praise and communion with God. The key to friendship with God, he says is not changing what you do, but changing your attitude toward what you do. What you normally do for yourself you begin doing for God, whether it is eating, bathing, working, relaxing or taking out the trash.

Today we often feel we must "get away" from our daily routine in order to worship God, but that is only because we haven't learned to practice his presence all the time. Brother Lawrence found it easy to worship God through common tasks of life; he didn't have to go away for special retreats.

This is God's ideal. In Eden, worship was not an event to attend, but a perpetual attitude; Adam and Eve were in constant communion with God. Because God is with you all the time, no place is closer to God than the place where you are right now. The Bible says, "He rules everything and is in everything."

Another of Brother's Lawrence's helpful ideas was to pray shorter conversational prayers continually through the day rather than trying to pray long sessions of complex prayers. To maintain focus and counteract wandering thoughts, he said, "I do not advise you to use a great multiplicity of words in prayer, since long discourses are often the occasions for wandering." In a age of attention deficit, this 450-year-old suggestion to keep simple seems to be particularly relevant.

The Bible tells us to "pray all the time." How is it possible to do this? One way is to use "breath prayers" throughout the day, as many Christians have done for centuries. You choose a brief sentence or a simple phrase that can be repeated to Jesus in one breath: "You are with me." "I receive your grace." "I'm depending on you." "I want to know you." I belong to you." "Help me to trust you." You can also use a short phrase of Scripture: "For me is to live is Christ." "You will never leave me." "You are my God." Pray it as often as possible so it is rooted in your heart. Just be sure that your motive is to honor God, not control him.

Practicing the presence of God is a skill, a habit you can develop. Just as musicians practice scales every day in order to play beautiful music, you must force yourself to think about God at different times in your day. You must train your mind to remember God.

At first you will need to create reminders to regularly bring your thoughts back to the awareness that God is with you in that moment. Begin by placing visual reminders around you. You might post little notes that say, "God is with me and for me right now!" Benedictine monks use the hourly chimes of a clock to remind them to pause and pray "the hour prayer." If you have a watch or cell phone with an alarm, you could do the same.

Sometimes you will sense God's presence; others time you won't.

If you are seeking an experience of his presence through all of this, you have missed the point. We don't praise God to feel good, but to do good. Your goal is not a feeling, but a continual awareness of the reality that God is always present. That is the lifestyle of worship.

The Purpose Driven Life - What On Earth Am I Here For by Pastor Rick Warren; "Becoming a Best Friend with God," pages 87-90; Zondervan Press, ISBN 0-310-20571-9

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