“Never stop praying.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17 NLT)
You will never grow a close relationship with God by just attending church once a week or even having a daily quiet time. Friendship with God is built by sharing all your life experiences with him.
Of course it is important to establish the habit of a daily devotional time with God, but God wants more than an appointment in your schedule. He wants to be included in every activity, every conversation, every problem, and even every thought.
You can carry on a continuous, open-ended conversation with him throughout your day, talking with him about whatever you are doing or thinking at that moment. “Praying without ceasing” means conversing with God while shopping, driving, working, or performing any other everyday tasks (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
A common misconception is that “spending time with God” means being alone with him. Of course, as Jesus modeled, you need time alone with God, but that is only a fraction of your waking hours. Everything you do can be “spending time with God” if he is invited to be a part of it and you stay aware of his presence.
The classic book on learning how to develop a constant conversation with God is “Practicing the Presence of God.” It was written in the 17th century by Brother Lawrence, a humble cook in a French monastery. Brother Lawrence was able to turn even the most commonplace and menial tasks, like preparing meals and washing dishes, into acts of praise and communion with God.
The key to friendship with God, he said, is not changing what you do, but changing your attitude toward what you do. What you normally do for yourself, you begin doing for God, whether it is eating, bathing, working, relaxing, or taking out the trash.
Today we often feel we must “get away” from our daily routine in order to worship God, but that is only because we haven’t learned to practice his presence all the time. Brother Lawrence found it easy to worship God through the common tasks of life; he didn’t have to go away for special spiritual retreats.
This is God’s ideal. In Eden, worship was not an event to attend, but a perpetual attitude; Adam and Eve were in constant communion with God. Since God is with you all the time, no place is any closer to God than the place where you are right now. The Bible says, “He rules everything and is everywhere and is in everything” (Ephesians 4:6b NCV).
Talk About It --
- Have you wished that you could “get away” and have time alone with God? How can you change your attitude and posture toward God today so that this day has the same effect as a spiritual retreat?
- Do you feel God’s presence more at one time than another? Why?
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America’s largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller The Purpose Driven Life. His book, The Purpose Driven Church, was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.
This devotional © 2012 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.