I recently heard a story about a woman who was struggling in her quiet time with the Lord. The problem wasn’t whether she was trying to spend time with God. She made an intentional effort to journal, pray, read her Bible, or worship on a regular basis.
The issue was that she wasn’t able to rest or sit in the presence of God to the point that it brought transformation in her life. So she felt stuck. She felt like she wasn’t getting anywhere. She was still battling fear and she was still discontent in her life. She felt purposeless.
Isn’t that something? She was somehow spending time with God (or at least trying to) and still not seeing any fruit of it in her life.
When I heard this, it made me wonder, how many women feel the same way in their relationship with God? Maybe you find yourself in a similar situation. You’re trying to spend time with God, but you don’t “feel” anything.
You don’t see any results. You’re not even sure if you hear from Him. You kinda feel like you’re in the same place you were a few months ago and you’re doing all the things you “know” to do, but it’s not working. You still feel stuck.
If this is you, I wrote this blog post specifically with you in mind. In writing it, I began to ask God why some people were in this place, and then I asked Him what I could do to help? So I want to take a moment to share some helpful tools on sitting before the Lord, abiding in His presence, and resting in His love.
I pray that this blog post encourages you and provides you with the resources you need to grow in your relationship with God.
First, what is the presence of God?
This is a very loaded question and these few paragraphs won’t fully express the answer. Truthfully, experiencing God’s presence is something you’ll learn over time the more you spend time with God. If you allow Him, Holy Spirit will teach you more and more about this, but for the sake of this blog post, here’s a brief introduction.
Psalm 63:3 says that God’s love is better than life, and it is possible to get to a place in God’s presence where you don’t want to leave. It’s a place where you’re able to rest in His love and it overwhelms you to the point that you feel fulfilled, content, and satisfied.
You feel whole. You feel loved. There is no frustration, sorrow, or irritation, just peace. It’s a secret place in the Spirit realm where it’s just you and God communing or fellowshipping with one another. God has drawn Himself near to you as you have drawn close to Him.
That’s one of the reasons why Psalm 91:1 says, “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide in the shadow of the Almighty.”
Matthew 7:7 also says, “But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”
And God’s presence is not confined to your particular quiet time with Him. You could be in the grocery store or in the car, and all of a sudden, you sense the presence of God. That’s the beauty of God. He’s omnipresent. He’s everywhere, and the best thing that you can do for yourself is BE OPEN to how He wants to manifest Himself to you. Don’t box Him in or limit Him.
So now that you have a general idea about the presence of God, how do you get there or how do you get the most out of your time with God?
How can I get the most out of my time with God?
The most important point that you can pull out of this entire blog post is this. It’s all about your heart posture and I cannot stress this point enough. How you enter the presence of God is very, very important.
I’m not saying that you have to be perfect or have it all together, but God is looking for our humility and our desire to want HIM, not just what He can do for us. The whole reason why God created us was to be in a relationship with Him. That was the original design of creation.
God created man to be loved by Him, but when sin entered the world, we were separated from God and needed a Savior. Cue Jesus who died on the cross for our sins, and when we believe that He died and saved our lives, we are saved, ultimately restoring our relationship with the Father.
So the entire goal of our relationship with God is to get to know Him and to grow in our relationship with Him. There’s a dependence on Him, an inner knowing that He has everything we need. We know He has the peace we’re looking for. He has the joy we’re looking for. He has the love we’re looking for.
We should desire God above everything we want in this world. Blessings and favor are only a by-product of our relationship with God. That’s why Mathew 6:33 says, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
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. The Bible is FULL of promises that God has made available to us through a relationship with Him.
So what can we give God when we spend time with Him?
1. We can give God our consistency and commitment.
Think about any important relationship you have in your life. You are committed to that relationship and most likely spend time with the person on a regular basis, not because you have to because you want to. You enjoy your time with them!
The same applies to God. We should never look at our time with God as a task or obligation that we HAVE to do, but an opportunity where we GET to experience Him and learn more about Him. Remember heart posture?
If you’re someone who struggles in being consistent with God, then I’d recommend starting with the Jesus is Bae challenge. You can sign up below.
2. We can give God our worship.
God loves to hear our worship. He loves a cheerful giver and this doesn’t just apply to our money, even though this is another important point that I won’t get into right now.
In your time with God, magnify His name. Give Him your adoration. Tell him how great He is and what He means to you. Tell Him your favorite thing about Him. Offer Him your gratitude and what you’re thankful for.
The important point to make is that you should worship God regardless of how you feel. In comparison to everything God has done for us, he deserves our worship no matter what we feel, how tired we are, or what is going on in our lives.
The benefit of this is that it trains our minds and spirits to worship. It matures us so that whenever we experience hardships or trouble, we have built a level of spiritual stamina and maturity where we’re not easily moved by what we see.
If you’re looking for a worship playlist to play during your quiet time, check out this one I made on Spotify.
3. We can give God our memory.
One of the most powerful actions we can take in our relationship with God is remembering the things He has done for us. When you take a moment to think back over your life and remember God’s faithfulness and goodness, it will fix your perspective on Jesus and give you the faith you need to accomplish what God is asking you to do.
It keeps you in a place of contentment, gratitude, and abundance rather than lack. It protects your perspective and your joy. Remembering settles our souls and spirits and helps us avoid feelings of anxiousness.
If we’re not careful, we can become so familiar with what God is doing in our life, that we become entitled or prideful. This is a very dangerous place to be because it can easily lead to complacency in our relationship with God or disappointment with where we are in life.
There are several scriptures that speak to the importance of remembering.
“I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your wonders of old.”– Psalm 77:11
“Now I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I delivered them to you.”– 1 Corinthians 11:2
And if you don’t know where to start when it comes to remembering, start with the gift of salvation. The truth is that you are were DEAD in your sin and God sent His son Jesus to die on the cross for your sins so that you can have eternal life.
So how else can we spend time with God?
There are several ways that we can do this outside of our consistency/commitment, our worship, and our remembering (although these are more than enough to get us started). The important thing to remember is that we shouldn’t get stuck in one way of spending time with God.
You can pray out loud. You can journal. You can read and study the Bible. You can pray in your Holy Spirit-given prayer language. You can throw on some worship music and actually sing to God. You can literally talk to God about your day, how your week is going, or things that are bothering you.
It’s important that you are honest in your relationship with God. If there is something that is bothering you, be honest with Him about your problems. One of the great things about God is we can come to Him just the way we are – in our brokenness, with our anger, in our shame.
There is no hiding with God. When we’re honest with Him, we open ourselves up to be changed and set free from patterns, problems, strongholds, demonic forces, pain, disappointment, etc.
This is the process of sanctification – the process of becoming more like Christ. When we are honest with God, we give Him room and space to reveal the areas of our lives that are blocking us from being the most confident in who He has made us be.
Then we are able to begin replacing our mindsets and beliefs (what people have used to label us, the things we’ve used and found identity in such as our issues, our gifts, or our relationships, etc.) with His Word. And if you’ve ever found yourself upset or angry with God, just know that you’re not alone. Take a look at this blog post to help you navigate that.
Another point to mention is that as you spend more time with God, you will begin to feel urges to shout, clap, laugh, cry, and many other responses. Don’t stifle these reactions. Give yourself over to the leading of Holy Spirit and allow Him to move within you.
How can I avoid distractions in my time with God?
Because spending time with God is vital to the life of every believer, don’t be surprised if you’re tempted to be distracted whether it’s the busyness of life or just a lack of focus. Here are a few helpful tips. (You can also read 10 Ways to Remove Distractions and Choose God First.)
1. Put your phone away.
This is so simple but it really will help you. Put your phone on Do Not Disturb or literally put your phone in another room. This will help avoid the urge to touch your phone during your quiet time.
2. Use a sticky note to remember tasks.
Sometimes when you’re praying, you may begin to remember items that you forgot to do or add to your to-do list. I contribute this to Holy Spirit reminding us of the things that need to get done, but instead of letting this interrupt your quiet time with the Lord, write them down on a sticky note and get right back to prayer.
This allows you to come out of your prayer time feeling fully refreshed, but you’ll also have something that helps you remember what came up in your prayer time.
3. Avoid the spirit of shame.
There will be moments especially as you start on this journey of spending consistent time with God when you may feel like you’re not “hearing” anything in your prayer time.
When this happens, it’s easy to get discouraged, but I encourage you to continue sitting in the presence of God. Don’t leave without getting what you need. Make the decision to sit still and remain there, waiting for God to speak. Invite God in and continue to stand in faith that He will meet you (because He really is faithful to do it).
Do not give the enemy any room to sow seeds of doubt or shame. This can look like thoughts like, “I knew I’m not good enough. God doesn’t speak to me. I can’t hear God. This is pointless. I don’t know what I’m doing.”
When this happens, continue to worship and sing to God. Blast the music if you have to and tell God that you will continue to wait on Him.
“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”– John 10:27
“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”– Isaiah 40:31
Let me say a quick prayer over you.
God thank you for your daughters and their desire to experience more of your presence. I pray that you will meet them in their time with You. Reveal more of Yourself to them. Overwhelm them with your love. Fill them with your glory and shower them with your goodness. I pray that from this moment, their life will NEVER be the same. In Jesus Name, Amen.
Hanha Parham is a Christian author and speaker. Her personal mission is to provide the millennial woman that wants to experience more of God 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!