Lesson 2 - Growing in Christ
God wants to meet with you personally—just you—each and every day.
That thought may amaze you, but consider it for a moment: When you accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, you become a member of God's family, a child of God. You can call God your Father.
Any good parent wants to spend time with his or her children—sometimes with all of them together, but often with each one alone. That is how one person gets to know another person well—by spending time alone with that individual.
The best way to get to know your heavenly Father is to spend time alone with Him. You can do this each day by reading His Word and by talking with Him in prayer.
Listening to God: Reading His Word
"How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word. ... I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you." —Psalm 119:9,11If you are just getting acquainted with the Bible, you will likely find the gospel of John the most interesting, because it sums up God's plan of salvation most beautifully.
After you have finished reading John, you may want to read the book of Acts to see how the early Christians shared their faith with those around them. Sharing your faith is one of the most important things you can do for God.
If you have not read much from the Bible, you may prefer to use a modern version. Ask your pastor or someone at your local Christian bookstore to recommend one.
While you are reading the Bible, meditate on what it says. To meditate simply means to think seriously about spiritual things. It means thinking quietly, soberly and deeply about God—how wonderful He is, what wonderful things He has done for you, what He is going to do for you, and what He wants you to do for Him.
As you read the Bible and meditate, perhaps you will notice:
- a special promise to claim
- a principle to help you in your day
- a command you should follow
- a searchlight pointing out a sin or spiritual need in your life
- a meaningful verse to memorize
Don't read too fast or try to finish too much at one time. To begin, a good rule of thumb is to read one chapter a day. Take time to look for all that God has for you in the day's passage. There's no need to rush through your time alone with God.
Talking to God: Prayer
"This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him." —1 John 5:14-15
After you have read and meditated awhile in God's Word, talk to Him in prayer. Talk to God as you would to a loving parent who wants the best for you and who wants to help you in every way possible.
You can pray to God any time of the day—driving to work, preparing dinner, washing clothes, studying at school. But you also need to find a time during your day when you can give the Lord your full attention, without any distractions.
Perhaps the morning is best for you—when you are fresh, before your active day begins. Or in the evening—at the close of the day, as you consider the next day's plans and prepare for a good night's rest. Better yet, try to spend some time alone with Him both morning and evening (Psalm 55:17)!
Whatever the time of day, be consistent in your meeting with God. Jesus rose early to pray, and He went somewhere that was quiet (Luke 5:16).
A Prayer Guide
These suggestions may help you know how to start talking to God:
- Praise Him for who He is—Creator and Sustainer of the entire universe, yet interested in you personally!
- Thank Him for all He has done, for all He is doing for you, and for all He has promised to do for you.
- Admit to Him the things you have done or said or thought for which you are sorry. God is both willing and able to forgive our sins (1 John 1:9).
- Pray for your family.
- Pray for others—for friends or neighbors who have needs, both physical and spiritual.
- Pray for yourself. Ask God's guidance for the day. Ask Him to help you with any problem you have. Ask Him to give you opportunities to serve Him.
Try listing your prayer requests, so that you don't forget any, and so you can record God's answers. (He may say "yes," or "no," or "wait"!) Keep your list in a small notebook or on 3" x 5" cards—something small enough to fit in your pocket or billfold or purse.
Remember, you can pray to the Lord any time, anywhere, and about anything—to ask for something you need or to thank Him for something you have received. As any loving earthly father would be, God is interested in all that happens to you.
He is looking forward to His time alone with you!