Debbie Salter Goodwin
Four Ways to Find Intimacy with God Through Prayer
Updated: Jan 20, 2021
Is there anything more important we could learn in 2021 than how prayer could transform our lives?
I fear we ask the wrong questions of prayer too many times. We ask how we can get more answers to our prayers. Instead, we should ask how our prayers can give God more of us.
Don’t misunderstand me. God answers prayers. Always. There isn’t a single prayer we have ever prayed that He does not address. Unfortunately, we have a low tolerance for prayers that aren’t answered the way we want.
But what if we took a new look at prayer and what God wants us to receive from this gift of intimate communication with our Creator? What if we weren’t so self-absorbed about what we want out of prayer and started asking what God wants from our conversations with Him?
That's why I'm beginning a discussion on intimacy with God. Prayer is the name we attach to conversations with God. However, just talking to God doesn't establish intimacy. That's why I'm starting with a short list of ways to revitalize those conversations, turn it on its head, address our focus so that we bring ourselves to God in prayer, not just our wants. For if prayer is supposed to be a transforming tool in our lives, we should always leave prayer . . . changed.
1. Use praise that connects to God’s character, not just His gifts.
Remind yourself of Who God IS, not just what He has done for you. Nothing brings you to true adoration more than understanding God is above all in every way. He loves better, knows more and can give you what no one else can give—exactly what you need in any moment!
By connecting to God's character, prayer becomes my bridge to all the help I need, no matter what I thought I wanted.
2. Pray scripture.
Scripture helps us keep our requests centered on God’s will and His ways. Scripture directs our hearts to the big picture issues that bring spiritual growth. We may bring our requests, but if we see our requests through scripture’s focus; we loosen our hold on what we think we must have to receive what God knows we need. One of my favorite scriptures to pray when I need help is James 1:5.
Scripture revises the way I approach God with an issue. It reminds me what I am adding that gets in the way of hearing from God.
3. Pray first about anything.
Don’t fall into the trap of keeping one list of things you talk to God about and another list you can handle on your own. I like the way The Message paraphrases it in Romans 12:1 as a priority prayer action: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. We need to pray that first; then, ask God specific questions that will help us set good priorities or boundaries for the day. We need to pray this way until it becomes an unforced rhythm.
4. Pray action prayers.
These are prayers that are answered as God empowers us to act on them. The action becomes the prayer. Praying for more compassion or sensitivity or understanding can only be answered in actions we take. We leave these prayers looking for the obedience God asks us to complete. If we have asked God to lead us, then we should not question His nudges in directions we had not planned to take.
God created us for intimacy with Him. What did He want from Adam and Eve before anything else? A heart-to-heart talk between friends. God would not have given us the same opportunity if He didn’t want the same intimate relationship. It is this intimacy that brings transformation. The closer to God’s heart we get, the more eager we are to grow like Him in every way.
What does intimacy with God look like to you? Share a comment below and let's learn together.