#1 Schedule alone time with God
Everything begins with scheduling time to be with God. If you can’t find time to be with someone, no matter who they are, you’ll never have a close relationship with that person.
It is the same way with God. If you want a close relationship with God, you must schedule time to be with Him.
We see this truth in the life of every man of God throughout the Bible.
King David and the Prophet Daniel each prayed three times per day.
“Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, and He shall hear my voice.” (Psalms 55:17)
“Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days.” (Daniel 6:10)
Jesus would wake up early in the morning to pray, and He would often withdraw from everyone else throughout the day to get alone with His Father. (Related article: Prayer Life of Jesus & How to Pray Like Him).
“Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed.” (Mark 1:35)
“So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed.“ (Luke 5:16)
The important thing to note about these three people is they were all extremely busy. David was a King of one of the most prosperous nations at the time. Daniel was one of three head governors over an entire empire. Jesus had whole cities flocking to Him everywhere that He went, to the point where He often wasn’t able to enter cities because there was such a large crowd that would gather around Him.
And yet, each one of these people found time in their day to get alone with God. The reason? It was their number one priority. (Related articles: A Complete Bible Study on Prayer (With Questions) and 7 Tips to Develop and Maintain a Consistent Prayer Life)
#2 Study the Bible daily
The Word and God are One. If we want to know God and have a personal relationship with God then we must know Him through His Word.
This is why John the apostle writes, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1)
Whenever we are looking at God’s Word, we are looking at God Himself because God has revealed Himself through His Word. He has shown us what He likes and dislikes, how He responds to situations, and His perspective on life. Through the Word of God, and especially through the life of Jesus, we see the Father represented perfectly.
Therefore, there is no possible way to know God without coming to Him through His Word.
So when you start to develop a time where you spend with God, ensure that you have a place and time where you sit down and read the scriptures. Whether this is with your prayer time or separately, it makes no difference. Just ensure that you are reading the Bible daily and posturing your heart to learn from the Holy Spirit as you read. [Related article: Spending Time Reading the Bible (Common Questions Answered)].
#3 Begin with praise & Worship
When you come before God to spend time with Him start out with praise and worship.
The Bible consistently reveals that praise and worship are the starting point for intimate time with God.
“Come before His presence with singing…Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.” (Psalm 100:4)
“In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name.” (Matthew 6:9)
Both of these scriptures, one from King David and one from the Lord Jesus, tell us that when we come before God we should worship the Lord.
We also see this in the life of the apostle Paul. In fact, a huge portion of Paul’s prayer life was praise and worship. Here are some examples of this.
“But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.” (Acts 16:25)
“What is the conclusion then? I (Paul) will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding.” (1 Corinthians 14:15)
So when you begin your time with God begin by thanking Him and singing to Him. Don’t think about your day or your agenda, just start out by worshipping the Lord and you will enter into His presence.
#4 Ask for things
Asking God for things that we, or others, may need is a critical foundation of prayer. God consistently tells us through His Word that we are to ask Him for stuff. This obviously means that He views this as relational, similar to a father-and-child relationship.
We would find it strange if we witnessed a child never coming to their parent for things that they need or want. In fact, we’d probably arrive at the assumption that the parent is abusive in some form, either through neglect or physical. And this assumption would most likely be accurate. Why?
Because it would be completely foreign for a parent not to take care of the needs and wants of their child. This is the way the relationship works. And as the child grows the needs and wants become a little different, and even scarcer, but they still come nonetheless.
This is the way it should be in our relationship with God. We should come to Him for everything that we need or want. If we desire to be humble, we should ask Him for humility. If we desire to be wise, we should ask Him for wisdom. If we need shelter, food, clothing, or money, we should bring it to His attention through prayer. [Related article: Can You Pray for Money? Is it a sin? (What the Bible Says)].
He is our Father and He delights to give us the things that we ask from Him. As long as they are asked for with pure motives and with faith.
#5 Switch between your natural language & tongues
The Bible consistently mentions tongues as an incredible benefit to the prayer life of believers.
The apostle Paul used speaking in tongues as the foundation of His prayer life. In fact, he said that He would switch between his known, natural language and his spiritual language when he would spend time with God.
“For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding.” (1 Corinthians 14:14-15)
We already saw how worshipping the Lord through song and thanksgiving was a foundation for the prayer life of the apostle Paul, but another foundation is speaking in tongues.
This verse shows us that Paul spent about 50% of his time speaking or singing in tongues. Whatever amount he spent in his known language, he spent the same amount in tongues. (Related article: Praying in the Spirit: What it is & How to do it)
Paul even went on to say in this chapter that he spoke in tongues more than the entire Corinthian church (1 Corinthians 14:18). No doubt, tongues were something Paul did on a consistent, moment-by-moment basis and was a foundation to his time with God.
#6 Listen to His voice
Finally, the last tip is to listen to His voice.
So many teach that you need to be completely silent and that you need to still your mind in order to hear God’s voice, but I honestly don’t believe this to be true. The reason? Because it’s not what we see happening to people in the Bible.
A perfect example is when Peter received a vision from God. While he was praying, he saw a great sheet with all kinds of animals that were considered unclean to the Jews, descending to the earth. When Peter saw it, he heard a voice say, “Rise Peter. Kill and eat.” But Peter responded with, “Not so Lord. For I have never eaten anything common or unclean.” The voice then responded back with, “What God has cleansed you must not call common.”
After this, Peter was “wondering within himself what the vision that he had seen meant” and “While Peter thought about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men are seeking you. Arise therefore, go down and go with them, doubting nothing; for I have sent them.” (Acts 10: 17 & 19-20)
Notice, Peter’s mind was not quiet. He was thinking about the vision trying to understand what it meant the whole time, and that is when Holy Spirit spoke to Him.
This teaches us that it doesn’t really matter how quiet our mind is as long as we are able to recognize the voice of the Spirit when He speaks.
So when you spend intimate time with God, have a notebook or note card with you so that you can jot down things that you feel God might be speaking to you as you worship and pray. Then once you are done praying, you can analyze whether what you wrote was from God or not by comparing it with scripture and the rule of love. If you’re not sure, you can bring before a mature believer that you trust, and they can help you.
I hope you enjoyed this article and that it assisted you in your walk with God.
Here are some more articles on the subject of intimacy with God.
God bless you all!