“Draw near to God.” This is one of the 54 directives James gives in his letter to the twelve tribes in the Dispersion.
How do I move toward, come closer, approach God?
When I think about the steps people took to move closer before Christ made it possible for us to freely walk into His presence the contrast is astonishing. In Exodus chapter 19 we read that God told Moses He would come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people, but before they could meet with God special instructions had to be followed. First came consecration, then limits were set. “Don’t go up into the mountain or touch the edge of it.”
When God appeared, the mountain was wrapped in smoke and trembled. The voice of the Lord came in thunder. (Exodus 19:7-25)
In modern society our steps are much less daunting. We grow closer to God through Bible study, worship, prayer, and fellowship with like-minded Christians. Shared experience has always been beneficial to me. Hearing the stories of brothers and sisters in Christ is like a new page to the manuscript of old. How God meets us as we seek Him.
Instructions in a book I have been reading on studying God’s Word, written by Jen Wilkin, inspired a way to draw near through prayer.1
Use the acronym PART, she suggested, which stands for praise, admit, request, and thank. Then she gave examples on what you might pray in each category before, during, and after Bible study.
Although her examples were for Bible study, this thoughtful prayer seems a good way to approach every moment, each day.
Praise God for the revelation we receive about His character as we study, she wrote. Can’t we do this as we see God in the midst of our situation when we see His provision, unfailing love, grace, or mercy?
To explain the final letters of the acronym she states that we can admit to frustration or confusion as we study the text. We can request help with the hard passages and thank Him when we receive correction from the scriptures.
Use PART to consistently pray throughout the day
We may spend time in the presence of the Lord early in the morning before the sun rises while the household is just stirring and preparing to meet the day. But we can also spontaneously pray from morning to evening. Prayers spoken on the fly perhaps uttered while driving, while pushing a cart through the grocery store, at our work desk, and during dinner prep.
Got a doctor’s appointment? Praise Yahweh Rophe, the Lord who heals. Admit that you are fearful about the medical journey you may be on and that you are desperate for an outpouring of His grace. Request that He heal you and thank Him for providing the medical care that you need.
Are you giving a presentation at work, or speaking at a women’s event at your church? Praise God for His direction, as the Holy Spirit inspires you and the tools you need become evident. Admit your insecurities and request that God will give you the peace you need when you stand before your audience. Lastly, thank Him for His faithfulness.
Is your day feeling mundane, ordinary? Praise God for the example He sets for order. Each time I read about the Israelites in the wilderness breaking camp I am reminded that the process He set in place was far from chaotic, each tribe moving at an appointed time. Admit that you are feeling bored and request that God help you find something extraordinary about the day. Thank Him for the clothes you are washing, the bed you just made, and the food in your cupboard for dinner.
Making prayer PART of our daily life will take practice. It may be something we need to remind ourself at first. But I think it helps us remember God is present. Also, we address our sin swiftly and repent. Not by our willpower but by recognizing our need for God in the process. And we focus on thankfulness rather than complaining.
In Scripture we are told that God inhabits the praises of His people. (Psalm 22:3) Obviously, praise will bring us closer to God. But so will confessing our sins, seeking Him for help, and remaining in a state of thankfulness. Such activity keeps our focus upon Him, therefore we will become more aware of all He is doing in our life.
©2023 Susan Cort Johnson *All Rights Reserved
Image by Himsan/Pixabay
1-If you find yourself praying throughout the day, please share what prompts your prayer.
2-Try the acronym PART as a prayer prompter for a day and then return to this comment section to share what impact it had on your relationship with God.
1-Women of the Word, How to Study the Bible with Both Our Hearts and Our Minds by Jen Wilkin. Published by Crossway Wheaton, Illinois.