God wants to know you. Intimately.
The God of the Universe created you, chose you, loves you, desires you and sent a Son to die for you so that you would never be separated from Him.
When we think about any intimate relationship we have whether that’s with a parent, friend, or significant other, what makes the relationship special is the level of intimacy we have with them, right? It looks like knowing how they think, their likes and dislikes, or how they’d react to any given situation. It’s knowing what makes them laugh and having those inside jokes. Intimacy is a level of closeness, friendship, or familiarity with someone and God desires that with each of us.
But how do we cultivate this type of intimacy with God?
First, we must understand that it’s more than just a checklist of items that we can “do” (although I will provide you with some 😉). It always starts with relationship. It’s like dating a significant other. Do you go on dates because that’s what you’re supposed to do or because you enjoy spending time with each other? Or do you talk with your spouse, kids, or friends because you have to or because you want to?
Psalm 27:8 embodies this idea so beautifully — “My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.”
When it comes to an intimate relationship with God, our love for Him and desire to know Him must be the prime motivator for why we do anything.
Not because of what He can do for us.
Not because it’s what everyone else is doing.
Not because we’re trying to earn His love.
Not because of tradition or religion.
The beauty is that God promises as we draw close to Him, He will draw near to us (James 4:8). So how do we practically cultivate intimacy with God?
5 Practical Ways to Cultivate Intimacy with God
Prayer is how we communicate with God . It’s a space for us to really open ourselves up and be transparent with the Father. Like every relationship, there is give and take. We give God our burdens, our frustrations, our worship, our praise, our time, our gifts, our career, our purpose, our life and in return God gives us His presence, His love, His provision, His wisdom, His salvation, His gifts, and the list can literally go on and on.
Prayer helps us build our confidence in God. It helps us carry His presence in a deeper way. Through prayer, we receive vision for our lives. We receive counsel and comfort to our problems. We receive forgiveness for our sins. We gain revelation that helps us grow and develop. It increases our capacity to love others and fulfill our purpose. I truly believe that there is a correlation between one’s prayer life and the fruit they see in their life.
Bottom line: Prayer unlocks the supernatural over our lives and it helps us align our hearts with God. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 says to pray without ceasing. When we allow prayer to become a daily habit because of a desire to truly know God, intimacy with Him will always be a natural byproduct.
Worship is another way we cultivate intimacy with God. It creates an atmosphere for a powerful exchange. Psychological studies have shown that gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness, but I think scientists are just now figuring out what God has already known.
As created beings of the Creator, we were made to worship. Romans 11:36 says, “For from him and through him and for him are all things.”
Our lives are made to be a reflection of our worship to God. It’s more than songs and quiet times. It’s a posture of our thanksgiving to God for who He is and all He has done through our attitude and actions. Worship helps us maintain a perspective focused on God rather than what’s going on around us.
You know the posts we usually make on Mother’s/Father’s Day honoring our parents? The effort we make to express our love in words? God desires that too — daily. Not because He needs it, but because He is deserving of it AND it satisfies us. Glorifying, honoring, and adoring God brings us the ultimate joy and satisfaction. When we come to God with a heart of worship, it makes room for Him to sit with us, connect with us, and commune with us — just like He did with Adam and Eve when He walked with them in the garden.
Never underestimate the power of your worship. It is a weapon and entry point into the throne room of heaven (Psalm 100:4).
3. Reading the Word
Before the foundation of the world, there was the Word. John says in 1:1 that in the beginning was the word and it was made manifest through the life of Jesus Christ. The most powerful part? It will continue to stand and endure even after we are gone. God’s Word is true and that it endures forever. There is nothing in this world that can combat or come up against what God says. He always has the final say. His Word never returns to Him void. It always accomplishes what it says (Isaiah 55:11).
But understanding how to operate and live in this broken world, to learn more about God, His heart, His promises and intentions, it requires us to know and stand on the Word of God, meditating on it consistently. The Word is alive and active (Hebrews 4:12), which means that as we read it, the Holy Spirit speaks to us and highlights areas about ourselves that are contrary to it. It instructs and guides us when we don’t know what to do. It builds our faith when we’re discouraged and it shifts our minds to think more like Christ.
Rest is also important and practicing the Sabbath plays into that. Taking time to rest allows us to step away from the busyness of life and really commune with God. It helps us reprioritize what’s important. It allows us to hear the gentle whispers of the Holy Spirit that we would otherwise miss because we’re too distracted.
Even Jesus took time away by Himself to reconnect with God after long and hard days of ministry. So if Jesus, the Savior of the world who was fully God and fully man, needed rest then that should be a sign to us that we need it too. This doesn’t necessarily mean self-care days although those are always nice. It means time away from people, by ourselves, where we can really stop and assess what’s going on inside of us and what God is saying and leading us next.
It is in these moments where we get refreshed and can draw close to God. If your life is too busy where you are unable to rest, then I encourage you to be more intentional about creating that type of margin in your life. If you have too many obligations or financial responsibilities that prevent you from taking a Sabbath, ask God to help you create room in your life. He is a Provider and He knows what we need. It may be cliche, but it’s also biblical. God will provide rest for you if you ask Him.
Lastly, as beings made in the image of God, we get to experience intimacy with God by witnessing His character through other people. There is a reason that the greatest commandment in the Bible is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength and then to love your neighbor as yourself (Luke 10:27). When you connect yourself to a community of other believers, it brings you a level of accountability, protection, and most of all fulfillment and joy. Life is meant to be lived in fellowship with God and with the other people He created. Even in the beginning, God said that it was not good for man to be alone (Genesis 2:18).
Be intentional about cultivating community around you. Don’t be afraid to take the first step in building relationships with others. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable because our greatest growth happens when we have genuine people around us who help us become better versions of ourselves that reflect the life and character of Jesus.
So what is one thing from this list that you can focus on just this week that will help you cultivate intimacy with God? Or what other ways do you cultivate intimacy with God? I wanna know! Let me know in the comments.
Hanha Parham is a Christian author and speaker. Her personal mission is to provide the millennial woman with fun and practical resources that help them confidently believe who God has called them to be. When she is not encouraging others or writing her heart out, she enjoys watching Grey’s Anatomy, drinking iced chai lattes from Starbucks, and connecting with friends on Instagram. Come say hi!