Whenever we think of spiritual growth, it seems the most likely place for such things to happen is during an extended retreat, camp, or wilderness trip, but who has time with a packed schedule and full life! These getaway experiences can only happen every now and then.
So if you long to get closer to God, don’t pack your bags! Instead, take a look at these 14 ways to transform everyday steps to take you closer to God.
1. Start the day with prayer. Develop a daily habit of starting out with a blessing and prayer. At the beginning of the day, I use the Catholic sign of the cross as an inspiration for my daily prayer. I pray, “God, be in my head (as I touch my head), God be in my heart (as I touch my heart), God be at my left (as I touch my left shoulder), and God be at my right (as I touch my right shoulder).” Then I ask God to lead me to do his will throughout the day.
2. See God everywhere. Thank God for his glorious creation. Put yourself in a sense of worship as you behold the majesty and wonder in trees, a hawk, seasonal changes, homes, places of work, and people. Look for God’s fingerprints everywhere.
3. “Wear” God. A beaded prayer bracelet or a cross or butterfly necklace can remind you that God is with you. Seeing and feeling this jewelry can remind you of what God wants you to wear inside: compassion, kindness, forgiveness, servanthood, and love for others.
4. Hear God. Every day, listen to Christian tapes and CDs. Listen to talks by leaders who grow, stretch, teach, comfort, and redirect your life. Play devotional tapes with Scripture readings and beautiful music-in the car, at home, even at work as the climate permits. Or sing along, worship, get all revved up, cry, and praise God with worship music. While in the car, tune into a Christian radio station in your area.
5. Talk to God. Make your day an ongoing dialogue of prayer with God. Thank God and ask for help, forgiveness, insight, and wisdom. Praise God. Ask questions. Wonder aloud or silently about God. Make your journey here on earth a living, breathing, prayerful one.
6. Retreat at home. Find an area in your home to be your personal retreat area. In our four-season sunroom, I designate a chair with an ottoman as a personal retreat space. It’s my prayer chair. I keep a blanket nearby for those cool Minnesota days. I’ve placed a lamp, candle, matches, and reading glasses on a table next to the chair.
I look out into God’s creation through a window. Across the room, I’ve placed a picture of Jesus. In a basket by my chair, I have my Bible, devotional books, paper, pens, and sometimes cards and letters that I’ve received.
I try to get there as often as I can-morning, noon, or night. It’s an area that invites and calls me to come, sit, be, listen, pray, and read. Five minutes or 50 minutes-just be with the great I Am!
7. Serve others. What would the world be like if we all went about our day thinking of ways to serve those around us? Open a door, pick up something that someone has dropped, pray for someone, make a care call, allow the other person to go first, help someone lift something, guard our words, see others as God sees them, tip well, send an email prayer, share words of affirmation or thanks, listen to someone, smile, or talk to people.
Encourage other people in their relationship with God. Affirm them, pray for them, and help others grow deeper with God. Seek to walk as a humble servant to grow deeper with God.
8. Study the Bible. Place Bible verses where you’ll touch, open, or look at them. For example, insert a Scripture card in your wallet with your credit cards. On it, have a verse that you want to learn or remember.
Place Bible verses on a mirror. As you look in the mirror, read the verse and seek to mirror what the verse says. Post Scripture on your walls, on your refrigerator, in the garden, at your doorways, or on a cup, vase, or bookmark.
How about your computer mouse pad or computer screen? Intentionally place the Word of God in places where your eyes fall upon truth throughout your day. Pray that your eyes and heart will be open to see God through these Bible verses.
9. Drink an awareness of God. When you take a drink of water, think of the words of Jesus. He said that he is the Living Water and when you drink of that water, you will never thirst again.
10. Remember the Bread of Life. Whenever you bite into bread, be mindful that Jesus referred to himself as the Bread of Life. When you taste something sweet, remember how God has been there in the sweet times of life. When you taste something sour, think about difficult times in life and how God has been there with you, too.
11. Read for inspiration. Keep Christian reading materials in your briefcase, purse, glove compartment, bathroom, and on tables or a nightstand. When you rest, wait in line, or travel, you’ll have at your fingertips reading resources to help you grow deeper with God.
12. Live in God’s presence. Think about your daily activities-gardening, working on the car, painting, cooking, rocking a baby, walking, jogging, cleaning, and more. Think metaphorically. How does what I am doing remind me of God’s Word, way, life, and love? Stretch your thinking. Ask God to reveal himself to you during these activities.
13. Take a Blessing Walk. Intentionally go on a Blessing Walk into every room of your home. As you walk into each space, pray a blessing on that area and for those who live there.
At your place of employment, walk and pray for workspaces. Pray a blessing for all who work there.
Bless spaces where you live, work, and play. Bless all those who gather. As you pray for the spaces and the multitudes, focus deeply on the mind of God. Then be open to receive God’s blessings within these areas and through the people who are there.
14. Redeem the time. Be alert to God’s touch and miracle. It can move, wake, stir, influence, heal, redirect, and call to you within a second. Stay alert. God can and will get your attention and influence you in quick, brief moments of your day. Stay sharp in looking and listening for God. Lift your eyes off your daily planner and enter into your Savior’s sunrise to sunset schedule. Here, you’ll find what you’re searching for-ways to grow deeper with God and ways to move throughout your day.
God’s desire for us is to grow deeper with him. God wants a passionate relationship with us. In growing deeper with God, he will provide us with the breath and stamina to make the climb, walk the path, and experience growth. Here’s to the journey! cm
Sue Lennartson is a small groups pastor in White Bear Lake, Minnesota.