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Spending time with God seems like a given when you are a person of faith. After all, isn’t that what a relationship with the Lord all about? When we are in relationship with people we spend time with them, talk with them, get to know them, right? But yet we all, at one time or another, struggle with spending time with God.
Why is this the case and what can we do about it? How can we spend more time with the Lord when that is exactly what we WANT to do, and yet somehow have difficulty doing! Read on to learn some practical ways to make spending time with God a part of your daily life!
Updated and republished from 10/14/2020
Importance of Spending Time With God
As I mentioned, when we are building relationships with people, we get to know them by spending time with them. We ask questions about them, we learn more about their past, their dreams for their future.
We learn about their character, their personality. And we also share with them things about ourselves.
Well, the importance of spending time with God can be summed up in the same way.
How can you really know your Heavenly Father, the Creator of the Universe, the First and the Last, Adonai Eloheinu, without spending time with Him and learning about Him and His character?
You can’t! You can have a knowledge ABOUT Him but without spending time with God you won’t have a relationship WITH Him.
I can have the knowledge that my friend Jennifer lives in the next town over, she attends my synagogue, she has a husband and kids and grandchildren. But unless I spend time WITH Jennifer, I only know ABOUT her…I don’t truly know HER!
And with the Lord it is no different. We are not just called to know ABOUT the Lord but to know Him as deeply as we can.
Exodus 3:6 says:
The Lord told Moses that He was the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He was intimating a personal relationship with Moses’ ancestors. He was illustrating that He was not just a distant God but a God of people, a God of relationship.
When Messianic and traditional Jews pray the Amidah, known also as the Shemoneh Esreh (the 18 Blessings) or the Standing Prayer, during our time of davening (praying the liturgical prayers), we begin with the following:
We, as Jews (obviously gentiles do not pray this as they are not physical descendants) begin the prayer by recognizing that we merit coming before the Lord, not on our own, but by our lineage and, if you are a gentile believer, you merit it based on Yeshua’s Name, as our Messiah or Tzadik (Righteous one).
We begin by reminding the Lord (not that He needs reminding but WE do so we do not become haughty) that our ancestors, as the Jewish people, were “friends” to Him and we are their descendants, their children. It’s kind of like me going into a restaurant and, while I may not know the owner, a relative of mine does so I give their name and get the best table!
So even the holiest of prayers in Judaism recognizes the importance of relationship to the Lord.
Not Having the Time to Spend With God
So if your life is crazy and you struggle just to get in the shower, you may be thinking spending time with God is a lofty goal but the reality of your day just doesn’t allow it.
I get you! I really do!
But the truth that I had to face, especially as things in my life just seemed to fall more apart the less time I spent with God, was that spending time with God couldn’t be an “if I have time” thing but a “I MUST have time” thing.
There ARE ways to spend time with God even in the midst of crazy days. I just had to make it my priority.
Spending time with God couldn’t be an afterthought. It had to be THE most important part of my day. It had to be!
Few people are worse at scheduling their days than I am. My husband showed me how to schedule my day in blocks in Outlook.
I used it and then paid no attention to it. It’s there! Stuff is on it. But then that one email comes in that I am not supposed to even check until 1PM and next thing you know, an hour has gone by doing something that wasn’t on my schedule!
You can relate can’t you? I know you can! And for those like me who need more planning, I developed this planner just for you! I find this works much better for me in planning out my days. It is FREE for you!
I have been the epitome of squirreling through my day even with two schedules and a calendar in front of me. And I can tell you that the one thing I do NOT ever let anything or anyone pull me from is my daily prayer time!
My kids know it. I have a sign I hang on my door for when I am in the middle of the most important part of my prayer time and I cannot and will not be interrupted unless the house is on fire, someone is bleeding or any other emergent issue.
But my kids at home are older (15 and 18). They can fend for themselves for an hour and honestly, with Covid, my husband is also around most days. But even he knows! NOTHING short of an emergency interrupts that time.
But what is you don’t have self-reliant teens? What if you have a toddler? What about an infant? What about both? How do you do it then?
I have! My kid were small once and there weren’t always just two at home! And I am going to be REALLY real with you here!
Just like you could relate to my squirreling, I can relate to you here as a mom and a wife and a business owner and a student…sometimes all at once!
Are you ready to hear some realness?
You may have to give something up.
You may have to GET something up, like YOU, a half hour earlier! You may have to give up a TV show (DVR is great!), you may have to say no to some things.
If you are a follower of God, it is not a side gig! It is THE gig! And it means that, short of having to feed an infant or patch up a cut, things may have to wait.
You can pray with a baby on your lap! You can pray in the car! You can read your Bible daily in small portions or once a week in a longer study time.
God cares more about your presence than your presentation! Show up with PJs on and a baby on your lap! He will just be happy you showed up!
So HOW do you spend time with God?If you are a follower of God, it is not a side gig! It is THE gig! And it means that, short of having to feed an infant or patch up a cut, things may have to wait. Click To Tweet
How to Find Ways to Spend Time With God
So we went over the importance of spending time with God and how to combat the time issue (well, at least we touched on the need to combat it). But once you find TIME to spend with Him, HOW do you spend time with God? You may especially be curious about this if you are a new believer.
What are some ways to spend time with God and REALLY get to know Him?God cares more about your presence than your presentation! Show up with PJs on and a baby on your lap…He will just be happy you showed up! Click To Tweet
Ways to Start Spending Time With God
1.Read the Word – There is no better way to know God deeply and know His character and His loving-kindness than reading His Word. It is often called His love letter to us.
Well, sometimes when you read the Old Testament it doesn’t come across that way as you read about laws and battles and so on. But it is! It is all a narrative to show God’s faithfulness to His people and His deep love for us in giving us our Messiah.
Even if you can only spend time reading one or two verses a day, REALLY read them.
In Judaism it is said one should not just read Torah, you should ACQUIRE Torah (they often used Torah to refer to the whole of the scriptures).
So when you read the Bible you should ACQUIRE it. You should make it part of your every day life and live it!
It says in James 1:22:
He listens to your voice in prayer. He hears you! But you also need to listen as well as speak!
You don’t need eloquent words, you don’t need to say His Name a certain number of times, you don’t need to kneel or be in a certain place.
I have cried out to Him in prayer with a baby on my lap on my bed, I have prayed in the car when it was the only quiet time I had.
A very dear Rabbi I am fortunate to study with from time to time, Stuart Dauermann, says “God doesn’t speak King James English – just talk to Him, all the time!” You don’t need to be all fancy!
Then take the time to see if He has anything He wants to place on your heart. It is a two way conversation that builds that relationship. Share anything on your heart with Him.
Or if you are so worn out you have nothing left, if you are in so much pain you cannot speak, sit in His presence and cry. He hears that prayer too! He knows what is on your heart!
3. Listen to Music – Music is powerful! In Messianic synagogues most of our prayers are sung to various melodies because most of them were composed by David, who wrote them as songs! Song has always been a wonderful way to not only praise the Lord but to convey the words we cannot seem to find in those difficult moments.
Don’t rob yourself of this wonderfully precious time in the presence of Adonai! Sing out to Him! It doesn’t matter if you have a voice that would scare cats! I do and I will sing out to Him because it is precious to the One who matters!
My husband is extremely busy, especially these days. He uses his time at the gym as what he calls “Praisercize” because he will put on his headphones and listen to his playlist!
He said sometimes he will find himself on the elliptical with his hands open at his sides and eyes closed in praise. I just hope he doesn’t hurt himself during Praisercize but it literally sometimes means grabbing those moments when you can!
And the funny thing is, he has said he has seen others in much the same stance at the gym! They are using THEIR time, maybe their only time, to spend with the Lord!
Holiness can invade any part of our day, even the gym!
- Study the Word – Reading and studying are two different things. I can read a book and learn what I am reading but if I really dig into it, really look at the history behind it, the meanings of the words and so on, I learn so much more.
Studying the Word means you sit down and even pick just one verse and dig into it like you are looking for buried treasure. The Jewish sages teach that the study of Torah is equal to all the other commandments. Study of Torah IS a commandment.
They say the study of Torah is equal to fulfilling all the other commandments because how can a person know HOW to fulfill the commandments without studying Torah!
“Great is Torah study, for it leads to performance” (Kiddushin 40b).
Now apply that to the Word as a whole, including the teachings of Yeshua. How can you know how to help others, how to treat people, how to walk out your faith if you never study His Words, which incidentally are based in Torah? Remember, Jesus and His Disciples did not have a New Testament.
They had the Tanakh – the Old Testament! They were present in the Temple (prior to AD 70) and in the various synagogues as a community, spending time with God together and teaching others.
Bible Verses About Spending Time With God
Matthew 6:6 CJB
But you, when you pray, go into your room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. Your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
Luke 10:38-42 CJB
On their way Yeshua and his talmidim came to a village where a woman named Marta welcomed him into her home. She had a sister called Miryam who also sat at the Lord’s feet and heard what he had to say.
But Marta was busy with all the work to be done; so, going up to him, she said, “Sir, don’t you care that my sister has been leaving me to do all the work by myself?”
However, the Lord answered her, “Marta, Marta, you are fretting and worrying about so many things! But there is only one thing that is essential. Miryam has chosen the right thing, and it won’t be taken away from her.”
2 Timothy 3:16 CJB
All Scripture is God-breathed and is valuable for teaching the truth, convicting of sin, correcting faults and training in right living;
Psalm 119:11 NASB
Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You.
Psalm 63:7-8 TLV
When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You through the night watches. For You have been my help, and in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy.
1 Chronicles 16:11 TLV
Seek Adonai and His strength. Seek His face always.
Ephesians 5:16 TLV
Make the most of your time because the days are evil.
John 15:4-7 CJB
Stay united with me, as I will with you — for just as the branch can’t put forth fruit by itself apart from the vine, so you can’t bear fruit apart from me.
“I am the vine and you are the branches. Those who stay united with me, and I with them, are the ones who bear much fruit; because apart from me you can’t do a thing. Unless a person remains united with me, he is thrown away like a branch and dries up. Such branches are gathered and thrown into the fire, where they are burned up.
“If you remain united with me, and my words with you, then ask whatever you want, and it will happen for you.
Romans 12:2 CJB
In other words, do not let yourselves be conformed to the standards of the ‘olam hazeh. Instead, keep letting yourselves be transformed by the renewing of your minds; so that you will know what God wants and will agree that what he wants is good, satisfying and able to succeed. (My note: Olam hazeh mean 'This World')
Psalm 119:147 CJB
I rise before dawn and cry for help; I put my hope in your Word.
Matthew 25:1-13 TLV
Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. For when the foolish ones took their lamps, they took no oil with them. But the wise ones took oil in jars along with their lamps.
“Now while the bridegroom was taking a long time, they all got drowsy and started falling asleep. But in the middle of the night there was a shout, ‘Look, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ Then all those virgins got up and trimmed their lamps. Now the foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, since our lamps are going out.’ But the wise ones replied, ‘No, there won’t be enough for us and for you. Instead, go to those who sell, and buy some for yourselves.’
“But while they were going off to buy, the bridegroom came. And those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast, and the door was shut. Now later, the other virgins came, saying, ‘Sir, Sir, open up for us!’
“But he replied, ‘Amen, I tell you, I do not know you.’ Therefore stay alert, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”
Psalm 1:2 TLV
But his delight is in the Torah of Adonai, and on His Torah he meditates day and night.
Making Time for God – One Day at a Time
Don’t feel like you have to just jump in and have this perfectly scheduled time where you pray and study and have it feel like you’re under this bondage where spending time with God is stressful and more like a chore.
Start small and make that a spiritual habit. Then add some more to it and make THAT a habit and so on. Find creative ways to spend time with God. It can actually be fun to try to find all these different ways you can make God a part of your day.
If you try to start spending time with God like it’s something you HAVE to do versus something you enjoy and look forward to, it won’t last. And if it does, it will feel like a burden instead of a blessing.
Start with one divine appointment at a time and, like anything with our faith, allow it to grow with you!
Creative Ways to Spend Time With God
- Pray or Worship While Driving – Now, be sure to keep focused on the road of course but if you are stuck in traffic make use of that time to pray! While on a long drive, play a worship playlist and turn it up and sing along! Use the time you’re in the car (especially alone) to speak to or praise the Lord
- Pray or Worship at the Gym – As I mentioned, my husband uses his time on the elliptical to listen to praise music and even to pray. He has a very busy schedule so sometimes the gym is the only time he can put on headphones and block out the world. This has become one of his favorite times (and if you hate working out, you may just come to look forward to it)
- Sing or Pray While Nursing a Baby – If you are a nursing mom, you are basically sitting down or lying in bed for the time your baby is nursing (which may be longer when baby is small and shorter when baby is older). Use that time to sing a worship song! Not only will the Lord love it, baby will too! Your baby will come to learn to love those worship songs they hear you sing each time and you will build that nice spiritual foundation for them.
- Pray Before You Go to Sleep at Night – In Judaism, we have a prayer that is said right before bed called the Shema Before Going to Sleep at Night. The Shema comes from Deuteronomy (Hear Oh Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One) and it is said a couple of times each day by observant Jews.
But at night before we lie down, we say some prayers from this section of the Siddur (prayer book) that ask God to watch over us, to praise Him for being the God who gives us day and night and then reciting the Shema. Spending time with God right before you lay your head down lets you end the day with the One who blessed you with it.
- Pray While Doing Household Tasks – Ok so laundry is not one of my favorite things, especially with two teenage girls in the house, but I can use the time I am folding clothes as a chance to pray. I can thank Him for the clothes we have when so many are lacking. I can thank Him for the children and the husband I have whose clothes I am folding (or wife if you are a man doing the laundry) and I can express gratitude for all my blessings.
It is also a good time for self-examination. While I am folding, I can look at how I have spent my day and see if I have offended anyone or sinned in any way and show repentance for those things.
- Bible Journaling – I know some people don’t like to write in a Bible, even a journaling Bible but you CAN journal even without using a Bible to write in. You can use a separate journal and draw in it or record your thoughts in it.
I am not someone who does a lot of creative worship like Bible journaling when I am spending time with God, but I do like to write out my thoughts in a journal and record prayers and answers! Whatever works for you, journaling of some kind can help you recall all God has done in your life!
What are some ways you have found to fit time with God into your daily schedule? Share in the comments some creative ways to spend time with God that you have found!
And be sure to grab your FREE ACTS Prayer Method Workbook below as my gift to you, to help you in your prayer time if you are new to prayer or just want to keep track of your prayer time and requests and answers!
CJB – Taken from the Complete Jewish Bible by David H. Stern. Copyright © 1998. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Messianic Jewish Publishers, 6120 Day Long Lane, Clarksville, MD 21029. www.messianicjewish.net.
NASB – “Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. Copyright by The Lockman Foundation“
Tree of Life (TLV) – Scripture taken from the Holy Scriptures, Tree of Life Version*. Copyright © 2014,2016 by the Tree of Life Bible Society. Used by permission of the Tree of Life Bible Society.