5 Ways To Develop Friendship With God
I schedule my blog posts out a month in advance, and today I had planned to write a book review for Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy With God by Timothy Keller. I read the book recently and it was revolutionary to my prayer life. But right now I’m in Indianapolis at The Gospel Coalition Women’s Conference and this morning I sat in on a session on prayer taught by Tim Keller! So instead of sharing my review of the book, I thought I’d just share part of my notes from his sermon, in the hopes that it’s as encouraging and convicting to you as it was to me ::
Five Ways to Cultivate Friendship With God
You are my friends if you do what I command you. —John 15:14
If I had cherished iniquity in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened. —Psalm 66:18
- Friendship is all about having something in common. When we obey God, we become more like him, and friendship comes more naturally.
- Friendship is also about accepting others as they are. We must let God be God, accepting the reality that if he is God, then he deserves our obedience.
Believe in justification through faith alone.
Without understanding that God saves you, not because of the good things you have done, but because of the good things he’s done for you, then God will never be your friend, he’ll be your boss.
A dynamic, two-way communication
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. —Hebrews 4:12
If you want to know your friend (God) is talking, then go to the Bible. God’s word is his reality coming into your life.
The Psalms is a collection of prayers in the Bible. The very first psalm, Psalm 1, indicates that if you want to have a deep prayer life, then you need to go deeply into the word of God. The two-way conversation is reading the Bible and then responding to it in prayer.
What is essential in prayer is not expressing yourself, but responding to God. —Eugene Peterson
A felt experience of “seeking God’s face”
One thing have I asked of the Lord,
that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
and to inquire in his temple. —Psalm 27:4
The psalms use sensory language to describe prayer. There’s a difference between knowing and feeling, and prayer needs to move beyond just head knowledge into the realm of the heart.
Once you know the spiritual truths of God’s word, then you must incline your heart toward God to develop a true affection of him.
Meditate on Jesus’ death as an act of friendship
The first rule of boxing is to never let your hands fall to your side. Always keep them in front of your face, protecting your head and your core. But Jesus was completely vulnerable with us:
Not only did Jesus open his arms to you, but they were nailed that way. How much more vulnerable could he get? —Keller
I thought these were such helpful truths and I highly recommend his book on prayer. I told Logan that even though I’ve been praying all my life, I’ve always had some major roadblocks when it came to a regular and vibrant prayer life. Keller’s book helped explain why I was blocked, described the purpose and power of prayer, and offered some of the most helpful, practical, and enlightening information that has really, actually, truly helped me find joy in prayer. Like, I want to pray. I get out of bed early to pray now.
Other good books on prayer ::
- Celtic Book of Daily Prayer
- A Praying Life: Connecting With God In A Distracting World
- A Method for Prayer: Freedom in the Face of God
(Photo via They All Hate Us)