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There are times when I do not feel close to God. What shall I do when I feel this way?
Thank you for your question on becoming closer to God. Your question can be separated into three different parts which all point us toward the same answer: "relationship".
Everything we are and everything we do must come out of our relationship with our heavenly Father as demonstrated in the life and example of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. That is to say that before we can do what the Father calls us to do we must first be in a continuous, ongoing, healthy relationship with Him.
In the Sermon on the Mount, recorded in Matthew’s gospel, Jesus talks about the anxieties and uncertainties of our lives as Christians. His answer to all of these questions is this: "Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." (Matthew 6:33)
If we want to be close to God then we must spend time with Him on a regular, daily basis. This can be hard to do, particularly during times when we feel that God is distant. We must ask ourselves: What parts of my life are distractions from spending time with God? Do I have plenty of time to do some things, but no time to spend with God in His word and in prayer? Again in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said this: "No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money." (Matthew 6:24)
The icons and loves that occupy our lives detract from our service to God. This is not restricted to money and can cover many areas of our lives. We must examine ourselves and uncover these distractions. Then we can say with Joshua: "Choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD". (Joshua 24:15)
There are times when we feel that God is not close to us. This is often not the truth as our feelings can deceive us. Instead of trusting feelings I recommend that we put our trust in the truth of God's promises. Numerous times in God's word He assures us that He will never leave us or forsake us.
For every follower of Jesus there are times when we do not feel close to God and we become disheartened in the purpose of spending time in God's word and in prayer. Bill Hybels tells the story of an occasion when he was travelling and decided to take the opportunity to read God’s word. He read a passage of scripture but felt no great revelation or sense of God speaking to him through that passage. A few days later something happened and at that moment the passage he had read came to his mind and filled him with a sense and reassurance of God's love for him. When it comes to God's word, the Holy Spirit will bring to your remembrance that which has been fed into your mind and heart. The more we feed upon God's word then the more the Holy Spirit can speak the word into your life when the occasion is right to do so.
As vital to our relationship with our heavenly Father and His word is, our relationship with Him through Prayer (speaking to God) is of equal importance and is just as vital if we want to hear from Him and apply His will to our lives.
You may have heard the expression "prayer changes things" it is a true saying. My experience of prayer first and foremost is that prayer firstly changes me. Often as I seek God in prayer, I find that in spending time at God's feet struggling with an issue, my own thinking and assumptions are challenged and changed. This can happen during both individual times of prayer as well as during corporate times of prayer. The beauty of having a prayer partner is that as we pray together we see the Holy Spirit move and we see those things that we think that God is saying to us confirmed through others that we pray with. Each of us needs God's help in every aspect of our daily lives. If we want to receive that help then we need to ask for it.
"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened" (Matthew 7:7-8)
Having a strong daily time with God will lead to a lifestyle that recognises the promptings of God as you go through each day. This can be difficult to maintain on our own and this highlights the importance of the family of God in discipleship together. Encouraging and building one another up is an integral part of being part of the family of God. Being a disciple is not about preaching to others but by encouraging and serving one another we share the Gospel (Good news) of Jesus Christ across our community, which is the most attractive thing in the whole wide world.
In summary, I encourage you not to rely on your feelings, which may change, but to place your confidence in God and what He has done for you. Spending regular times of prayer, bible reading and fellowship with other Christians will help you as you continue on your walk with Christ.
I hope this answer helps you to find peace with God through Jesus Christ. If you want to know more about what Jesus has done for you please watch the video on the main part of our site: Watch the video
I encourage you to attend a local Bible believing church and speak to the leader about your question. If you want to find a local church, our Church Finder may help you: Find a Church
Please feel free to submit a question to us or to read our answer database: Ask a Question
*All Scripture references are taken From The English Standard Version of the Holy Bible unless stated otherwise
*If anything in this answer affects you directly, then please feel free to call our confidential prayer line in the UK on 0845 4567729, where trained Christian volunteers will take your call and pray both for you and with you. If you are outside of the UK then you may submit your request for prayer on line at www.ucb.co.uk/prayerline
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