Radical intimacy with God is an enticing concept isn’t it? Is this something which only certain gifted individuals experience, the likes of Heidi Baker or Julian Adams? Or can you and I come to know something of the same depth of loving relationship with God?
I’d like to suggest we can all come to a level of intimacy with him which far surpasses that which we have been familiar with so far.
Is there anything which might help? Let’s have a look at some tools.
Historically believers have often used some form of daily notes on the bible, usually a verse or two followed by someone’s thoughts, then a short prayer. Similarly I suppose, there has been a tradition right down through the ages of God’s people, Jewish believers and Christians too, a tradition of praying written prayers and scripture in their times with God, one current version of this is called The Divine Hours by Phyllis Tickle.
There is a difference between these two habits, and an important one.
In reading bible notes the thinking has been done for us, so any activity between the ears is no longer necessary. We need to think, to really engage with what we read, not simply allowing someone else to do all of our thinking for us.
Of course it is vital to hear others on Scripture, or why would we read good books or listen to sermons, but on this sort of level we really do need to do the engaging for ourselves.
It isn’t too time consuming to read a small portion of the bible, preferably from the gospels, and to allow those words to permeate our thinking during the day, bringing the pictures back to mind at odd moments.
I know I’ve mentioned this before but it bears repeating, if we read the same few verses each day of the week we find the picture is filled out and we notice more details. No one has had to tell us what to think, we have seen this for ourselves.
This second habit, of praying scripture and the written prayers of the church, is a valuable one. In the prayers we have the wisdom of the church down through the ages, these prayers have been tested, tried, and prayed by many many believers before us, and of course the scriptures are superb prayer content. Who hasn’t read a psalm and felt it echoed their own heart and situation, at least in part? We find, too, that we are stirred by the responses of the psalmist, his response is often what we want.
As we pray these prayers and scriptures we find, over time, that our thinking is influenced, and we are shaped and formed into the sort of person we want to be, that is, someone who has a rich inner resource in times of need. We grow well out of this content-rich prayer, it is good soil for us.
This is just one tool to help us grow into a radical intimacy with God, it isn’t all we need by any means, and it isn’t the touchy feely side of intimacy, but it is the good healthy soil out of which the experiential part of intimacy can grow, it does make a difference over time, it is worth investing in.
I’m posting a link to The Divine Hours, if you check it out you will find it has prayers at four points in the day and those are new each day, try fitting them in over a period of time, each page only takes a few minutes to pray through, yet the effects are much longer lasting.
As The Divine Hours can be found free online, it is the simplest thing to click on the link if you have a moment and read, whisper, and pray these words back to God, good words, good content, resulting in good soil in our hearts. God can sow and we will see more fruit as we look after our inner landscape.
Take your time and see what he will do.