How to have a daily meeting with God
1. Select a time and place that you can meet with God for 45 minutes each day. Try to find something that will work every weekday, Monday - Friday. We talked about the merits of meeting with God at the office in the middle of the day, but that’s only one option. It could be first thing in the morning, or last thing at night. It could be in a closet, or outside. There is no perfect time and/or place — all times and places will have their advantages and drawbacks. If you try a time and place that doesn’t work, try something else. Experiment until you find what works best for you.
2. Set the stage. Consider using headphones. You might listen to white noise, classical music, gregorian chants, nature sounds, or even worship music — so long as it helps you to focus rather than distracting you. You might also consider changing the lighting in some way — perhaps turning off an overhead light and using a lamp, or maybe even lighting a candle. Whatever works for you — the goal is to create some sense of newness, specialness, and separation.
3. Start with 3 minutes of silence. Close your eyes and focus on your breath for a few moments. Then pray, “God, I’ve set aside this time to meet with you. Please speak to me. Allow me to feel your presence. Help me to listen. Show me the things you want me to see.” Remember, this is meeting: the goal is to cultivate a sense of being in a relationship with God – to feel his closeness, as a father, and to enjoy spending time with him as you do with a friend.
4. Next, read some Scripture. Use the NLT (New Living Translation), which you can get one of three ways
a) there are free copies available at our book table on Sundays
b) purchase a copy, either in print or for your kindle
c) access it via the YouVersion Bible app, which you can download for free.
As far as what to read, try using this reading plan. There are 150 readings — 4 chapters each day. If you don’t finish a full day’s reading during that day’s meeting, don’t worry about it — just start again the next day where you left off. Make it your goal to finish all 150 readings by the end of the year, which requires averaging 3 readings per week.
If you have trouble focusing on what you’re reading,
a) slow down
b) consider reading aloud
c) use the free audio bible that comes with YouVersion, and listen while you read.
Keep a document on your phone (or a handwritten journal) where you can record notes and questions about what you’re reading.
5. As for prayer, you will think of things to pray about as you read. When a thought pops into your head, write it down. Consider keeping the following documents on your phone (or create these sections in a handwritten journal):
- A list of things your grateful for
- A list of personal requests / needs (for wisdom, provision, things your worried about)
- A list of names of OTHERS you’re praying for, along with their requests (friends, family, community group)
- A list of sins you’re confessing
Also, be sure to have a place to jot things down that are not prayers — to-do items, new ideas, etc — so you can get these off your mind and get back to praying / reading. But recognize that many of these “non-prayer” items are actually things that you should pray about. Try to eliminate the divide between your “spiritual” life and your “regular” life. God wants you to pray about your “regular” life. Don’t see distractions as “distractions” — rather, let your mind go where it wants to go, and offer these thoughts and concerns to God.
6If you get absorbed in your reading and don’t end up doing much praying, make sure to reserve at least 15 minutes at the end of your meeting for prayer. This can take several different forms.
a) Review / add to the various prayer lists / documents described above.
b) Practice listening / centering prayer. Say, “God, is there anything you want to say to me?” then sit quietly and listen. You might choose an anchor word like “Father,” “Jesus,” or “Spirit.” Keep repeating that word slowly in your mind, focusing on it as you breathe deeply, and then see what thoughts come to mind. Obviously, every thought will not be from God. Try to take a third-person perspective on your own thoughts, observing them as they come and asking, “Why did this particular thought come to mind? What’s God’s perspective on this aspect of my life? How can I surrender this to him?”
c) Listen to worship music. When you focus on the words, this “counts” as praying! If you don’t have the words memorized, try to learn them, until you can mouth the words along with the recording.