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Building A Better Relationship With God

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1. Prayer: God Wants to Hear From You!

If you were given the opportunity to talk with the U.S. president or the queen of England, what would you say? You would probably be a bit nervous, and would think a lot about what you should talk about. But One far more powerful and important than the president or queen wants you to talk to Him! And He doesn't want you to be nervous, but to share what's on your mind and to pour out your heart to Him.

God loves us so much and understands what we are going through. That's why we can “come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16 Hebrews 4:16Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
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).

How should we pray? Christ's disciples wondered the same thing, and asked Him to teach them (read it in Luke 11:1-4 Luke 11:1-4 1 And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said to him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples. 2 And he said to them, When you pray, say, Our Father which are in heaven, Hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. 3 Give us day by day our daily bread. 4 And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.
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and Matthew 6:5-13 Matthew 6:5-13 5 And when you pray, you shall not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Truly I say to you, They have their reward. 6 But you, when you pray, enter into your closet, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father which is in secret; and your Father which sees in secret shall reward you openly. 7 But when you pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. 8 Be not you therefore like to them: for your Father knows what things you have need of, before you ask him. 9 After this manner therefore pray you: Our Father which are in heaven, Hallowed be your name. 10 Your kingdom come, Your will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For your is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
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). He told them prayer wasn't for show, and it wasn't about saying the same thing over and over again. But He did give us a framework of the types of things to pray about:

• Praising and thanking God.
• Praying for God's Kingdom to come, and for His will and work to be done today.
• Requesting that our needs and the needs of others be met, whether healing, food, wisdom or protection.
• Seeking forgiveness and the help to forgive others.
• Asking for protection from temptation and the evil tempter.

In addition to getting on our knees in private (King David did so at “evening and morning and at noon”—Psalms 55:17 Psalms 55:17Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice.
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), we can talk to God in our minds throughout the day (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 16 Rejoice ever more. 17 Pray without ceasing. 18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
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). Read David's Psalms and other heartfelt prayers of the Bible to see more about how this spiritual tool can help you draw closer to our Creator. 

2. Meditation: How Do I Apply This Today?

When we've prayed for understanding and then carefully read the Bible, a natural next step is to think about what we've read and how it relates to the situations in our life. That's what biblical meditation is all about.

It's not about emptying our minds or relaxation techniques or mystical experiences at all. It's “directed thinking, reflection, contemplation or concentration” and it helps make prayer and Bible study “meaningful instead of mechanical, inspiring rather than superficial”.

Some meditations are recorded for us in the Psalms. The psalmist said meditation helped make him wiser than his enemies and led him to restrain his feet “from every evil way” (Psalms 119:97-104 Psalms 119:97-104 97 O how I love your law! it is my meditation all the day. 98 You through your commandments have made me wiser than my enemies: for they are ever with me. 99 I have more understanding than all my teachers: for your testimonies are my meditation. 100 I understand more than the ancients, because I keep your precepts. 101 I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might keep your word. 102 I have not departed from your judgments: for you have taught me. 103 How sweet are your words to my taste! yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth! 104 Through your precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way.
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).

Meditation helps us know where we are going—“ponder the path of your feet,” as Solomon put it (Proverbs 4:26 Proverbs 4:26Ponder the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established.
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).

Some passages worth pondering: 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: 4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
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; Philippians 4:8 Philippians 4:8Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
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; Colossians 3:1-2 Colossians 3:1-2 1 If you then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sits on the right hand of God. 2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
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.

God told Joshua to meditate on the Book of the Law “day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it” (Joshua 1:8 Joshua 1:8This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth; but you shall meditate therein day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall have good success.
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). Once again, the key is doing!

3. Fasting: A Serious Power Tool

The Bible has many examples of people of God who voluntarily went without food and drink for a time to humble themselves and draw close to God (Ezra 8:23 Ezra 8:23So we fasted and sought our God for this: and he was entreated of us.
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; Esther 4:16 Esther 4:16Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast you for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in to the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish.
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; Psalms 35:13 Psalms 35:13But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth: I humbled my soul with fasting; and my prayer returned into my own bosom.
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).

Christ said His disciples would fast and explained that particularly vexing situations can sometimes only be dealt with by prayer and fasting (Matthew 9:15 Matthew 9:15And Jesus said to them, Can the children of the bridal chamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast.
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; 17:21). In that way, fasting can be looked on as a power tool for building our relationship with God.

But there are some things to understand first. Biblical fasting is not for show (Matthew 6:16-18 Matthew 6:16-18 16 Moreover when you fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear to men to fast. Truly I say to you, They have their reward. 17 But you, when you fast, anoint your head, and wash your face; 18 That you appear not to men to fast, but to your Father which is in secret: and your Father, which sees in secret, shall reward you openly.
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). It's not to be undertaken lightly if your doctor or parents (if you're under 18) object. It's not to try to get something from others or to try to force God to do what we want (Isaiah 58:3-4 Isaiah 58:3-4 3 Why have we fasted, say they, and you see not? why have we afflicted our soul, and you take no knowledge? Behold, in the day of your fast you find pleasure, and exact all your labors. 4 Behold, you fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: you shall not fast as you do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high.
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).

Fasting should first and foremost be about personally drawing near to God (James 4:7-10 James 4:7-10 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double minded. 9 Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.
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; 1 Peter 5:6-7 1 Peter 5:6-7 6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: 7 Casting all your care on him; for he cares for you.
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). It should also be about compassion and sharing with others (Isaiah 58:6-7 Isaiah 58:6-7 6 Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke? 7 Is it not to deal your bread to the hungry, and that you bring the poor that are cast out to your house? when you see the naked, that you cover him; and that you hide not yourself from your own flesh?
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).

Since the Creator God is the source of all power, drawing closer to Him and casting our cares and worries on Him will give us the spiritual strength we need, even while feeling physically weak.

4. Bible Study: Listening to God

A person who does all the talking and never listens ends up with a very one-sided friendship—or no friendship at all. So besides talking to God, we need to hear what He has to say.

Most of us are blessed today to have a copy of the Bible right in our own home. Can you imagine just hearing the Bible read once a week and trying to remember it through the week? People through history memorized major parts of this most important of books. God even told each king of Israel to write out a copy of the Book of the Law—found in the first section of the Bible—and to “read it all the days of his life” (Deuteronomy 17:18-19 Deuteronomy 17:18-19 18 And it shall be, when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites: 19 And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them:
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).

Why do we read the Bible? It is as necessary for our spiritual life as food is physically (Matthew 4:4 Matthew 4:4But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.
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). Both the Old and New Testaments show us how God thinks and how we can become like Him (take a few minutes and look up Psalms 119:105 Psalms 119:105Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path.
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; Luke 24:44-45 Luke 24:44-45 44 And he said to them, These are the words which I spoke to you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. 45 Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,
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; 1 Corinthians 10:11 1 Corinthians 10:11Now all these things happened to them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, on whom the ends of the world are come.
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; 2 Timothy 3:15-17 2 Timothy 3:15-17 15 And that from a child you have known the holy scriptures, which are able to make you wise to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished to all good works.
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; and 2 Peter 3:15-18 2 Peter 3:15-18 15 And account that the long-suffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given to him has written to you; 16 As also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, to their own destruction. 17 You therefore, beloved, seeing you know these things before, beware lest you also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness. 18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.
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). We can pray that God will open our understanding and help us grow and be “doers of the word,” because just reading is not enough (James 1:21-25 James 1:21-25 21 Why lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. 22 But be you doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. 23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like to a man beholding his natural face in a glass: 24 For he beholds himself, and goes his way, and straightway forgets what manner of man he was. 25 But whoever looks into the perfect law of liberty, and continues therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.
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).

5. Fellowship: Friendship With God and His People

It's a dangerous world out there, and sometimes it's just good to know someone has “got your back”—is watching out for you. God put His people in His Church to support, encourage and learn from each other (1 Corinthians 12:25-26 1 Corinthians 12:25-26 25 That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. 26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it.
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; Philippians 2:1-5 Philippians 2:1-5 1 If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, 2 Fulfill you my joy, that you be like minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. 3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. 4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. 5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
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). Of course we also can offend and hurt each other, but one of His goals is for us to learn to reconcile and to get along. In that way, the Church is a workshop for living His way of life.

Biblical fellowship is a three-way relationship between us, God and His people (1 John 1:3 1 John 1:3That which we have seen and heard declare we to you, that you also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.
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). God puts us each in His Church where He wants us, with our own specific part to play (1 Corinthians 12:18 1 Corinthians 12:18But now has God set the members every one of them in the body, as it has pleased him.
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; Ephesians 4:16 Ephesians 4:16From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplies, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, makes increase of the body to the edifying of itself in love.
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). He listens lovingly to our conversations and records His precious people in a book of remembrance (Malachi 3:16-17 Malachi 3:16-17 16 Then they that feared the LORD spoke often one to another: and the LORD listened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought on his name. 17 And they shall be mine, said the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spares his own son that serves him.
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).

God warns us not to “neglect our meeting together” because we so desperately need to encourage each other to “outbursts of love and good deeds” (Hebrews 10:24-25 Hebrews 10:24-25 24 And let us consider one another to provoke to love and to good works: 25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as you see the day approaching.
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, New Living Translation). VT

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    Comments

  • RalphPro55

    All good points but should be the daily staple of all people of God. Of course use common sense when fasting.

    I feel that the most important and first thing any child of God must do,especially for old timers like me, is to build and maintain a strong, lasting, intimate and very personal relationship with God. Very similar to how the 12 apostles built a strong relationship with Christ. Many good examples in the gospels and book of Acts of how Christ and his 12 interacted.

    As we know relationships/friendships, this will take a lifetime of diligence, faithfuless and hard work, but all of God’s people must start at this step first. One must know who they are dealing with. Must know what God is asking of us before embarking any further with a relationship with God.

    One must know God, how he feels on important issues and how he reacts. One must understand how very sensitive he is, yet “The Rock” for our need for stability. One must know what it takes to become dedicated to God. Luke says something on counting the cost. Also very detailed discriptions of God’s personality, how he reacts to different situations, in Isaiah and Jerimiah.

    To build a good lasting relationship with God, one must know God personally and then determine if a life with God is for them. The benefits of a life with God are beyond imagination. Peter says his promises are exceedingly great and precious. Very difficult to imagine without one like Christ personnally teaching us, showing us, but God will come through on enlightening us once one is devoted. Psa 119 has many examples of how God will teach us personally as we build a solid relationship with him.

    Could break this out into another topic perhaps.

  • niquemalaki
    Building a relationship with God should not be scary. If i weren’t already building my relationship and read the comment above it would’ve scared me off the site. This is a very sensitive topic, everyone is different. There is no “one” “right” way to build a relationship, we can all end up at the end going different routes. SO if starting to read your bible from front to back and praying is your way of starting a relationship then do so. If praying three times a day trying to figure out life as it is right now wanted the lord to show you a way then do so. Im not one to preach down someones mind. The lord will guide his children and the willing. God bless all.
  • Iankayanja
    I have been in the church for most of my life. I always felt like i had a good relationship with God, but it seemes i have not been a very good christian and have driffted off the straight path i really hope this helps me get a better connection with God . If you have anything els that could help me with this procces that would be really apriciated -God bless

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