Fear of God, not friendship, was more common in the Old Testament. With Jesus, this changed—He said: “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you”.
Knowing & loving God is our greatest privilege, and being known & loved is God’s pleasure. But what does it mean when God wants me as a friend?
Here we’ll learn six secrets of friendship with God—2 in this chapter and 4 in Day 12.
1. Through constant conversation—It won’t happen by attending church once a week, or establishing the habit of a daily devotional time with God. He wants more than an appointment in our schedule. He wants to be included in every activity, every conversation, every problem, every thought. “Praying without ceasing”.
It’s a common misconception that “spending time with God” means being alone with him, or that we must get away from our daily routine in order to worship Him. How do we learn to develop a constant conversation with God? Brother Lawrence, a humble cook in a French monastery, wrote Practicing the Presence of God in the 17th century. He was able to turn the most commonplace, menial tasks into acts of praise and communion with God. What you normally do for yourself you begin doing for God, whether eating, bathing, working, relaxing. Brother Lawrence didn’t have to go away for special spiritual retreats—Because God is with you all the time, no place is any closer to God than the place where you are right now.
Another helpful idea from Brother Lawrence was Keep It Simple: pray shorter conversational prayers continually thru the day instead of long sessions of complex prayers.
How can we pray “all the time”? Using “breath prayers” throughout the day, as Christians have done for centuries. Choose a brief phrase that can be repeated to Jesus in one breath—such as “You are with me”, “I want to know you”, “Help me trust you”, “For me to live is Christ”. Ensure your motive is to honor God, not control him.
Practicing the presence of God is a skill, a habit we can develop. We need to train our minds to remember God. Create reminders to regularly bring our thoughts back to the awareness that God is with us in our moments. Benedictine monks use the clock’s hourly chimes to remind them to pause & pray “the hour prayer”. What can we use?
Warren reminds us we aren’t seeking an experience of His presence thru this, but a continual awareness of the reality that God is always present.
2. Through continual meditation. A second way to establish a friendship with God is by thinking about His Word throughout our day–meditation. The Bible urges us to meditate on who God is, what he’s done, what he’s said. Meditation isn’t some difficult, mysterious ritual practiced by isolated monks & mystics, but simply focused thinking.
When we think about a problem over and over in our mind, it’s called worry. When we think about God’s Word over & over in our mind, that’s called meditation. When we hear a sermon, let’s not just forget it and walk away—let’s develop the practice of reviewing the truth in our minds, thinking about it over & over.
Start today by practicing constant conversation with God and continual meditation on His Word. Prayer lets us speak to God; meditation lets God speak to us. Both are needed in becoming a friend of God.
Question to Consider: What can I do to remind myself to think about God and talk to Him more often throughout the day?
* Weekly we will be writing about what inspires us from each consecutive chapter of Warren’s Purpose Driven Life. If you read along with us, please share your inspirations. There’s no need to catch up, just jump right in.