How to Draw Near to God (even when He seems far away)

It’s not uncommon. All followers of Jesus have seasons of life when they feel distant from Him. It’s a natural part of our spiritual journey. Knowing that, however, didn’t ease my feelings of discouragement when it happened to me.  Our family—and I suspect yours too—has seen long periods of unexpected, sometimes troubling situations. I’ll admit that amid the distractions, I wondered if I would ever be able to draw near to God again.

 

I’m thankful that when we draw near to God He draws near to us. The Bible promises this is so. Even when my efforts feel feeble—or somewhat mechanical—God responds. I’ve experienced firsthand that remaining consistent with the spiritual practices (or “holy habits”) helps me feel God’s nearness again. It helps me grow in faith and sense God’s closeness and His favor.

 

 

What does it mean to draw near to God?

 

Drawing near to God is a process of humbling myself, confessing my sins, and turning my full focus upon Him. Often that means finding a way to mute daily distractions. It requires making room in my schedule for time with Him, even when I don’t “feel” like it or when countless disruptions stare me in the face.

 

Drawing near to God means letting go of my own desires and letting God have His way in my life. This is a picture of submission to the Holy King. When I submit to Him, I affirm—day by day—His priority in my life.

 

As I draw near to God with a sincere heart (see Hebrews 10:22), I see His promises become apparent in my life. I recognize His blessings, His partnership in my efforts, and His mercy in my mistakes. I no longer feel alone or separated from Him and I can sense that He walks with me every minute.

 

 

 

 

Grow in Faith and Find Intimacy With God

 

I believe that all followers of Jesus want to draw near to Him and develop an intimate level of faith that’s unshakeable, even through the most challenging seasons of life.  Our distractions don’t have to make us feel discouraged or steal the focus we want to give God. We don’t have to feel as if we’re missing out on the blessings He has in store for us. Instead, with some intentional practice, we can grow in faith. Later in this post, I’ll share some tips on how to practice our faith daily.

 

Resist the Devil When You Draw Near to God

 

James 4:7 (ESV) says, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” When we draw near to God, we enter into His presence—a place where evil cannot dwell. The most effective way to resist the devil is to practice the holy habits that help us connect more deeply with the Lord. The following verse confirms it. James 4:8a (ESV) says, “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.”

 

Why is it Important to Draw Near to God?

 

Our current world events seem to become more troubling every instant. It’s clear that I cannot handle every situation I face on my own. I fully understand my need for divine help, so I draw near to Him in prayer.

 

As with any relationship, intimacy with God develops when I spend quality time with Him, practicing His presence and turning to Him. The more comfortable I begin to feel with God and the more I delight in His presence when my circumstances are good, the more readily I can turn to Him and receive His partnership in everything I face.

 

Then, as I rely on God more and more and receive His blessings, I begin to reflect His love. Soon, others around me start to sense something different in me—a level of hope they may sense is missing in their own lives. This opens doors to begin conversations about Jesus and His love. Not only is my life blessed, but I can start to have an influence on others and share the hope of Christ.

I feel so strongly about the importance of drawing near to God that I created an online membership to support you as you grow in Christ. I invite you to hear more in this video.

 

 

5 Beginning Steps to Draw Near to God

 

By now I hope you’re wondering—How do I get more faith in God? How can I practice my faith daily?  Here are 5 simple beginning steps to begin the process. Keep in mind that they are simple, but unless you practice them, you will not experience the deep connection with God that you seek.

 

Read God’s Word

 

At times the Bible can be difficult to understand, but I hope you won’t let that deter you from reading it every day. I found that it becomes so much easier to understand when I ask the Holy Spirit to guide and teach me as I read. The key is simply to begin. Find a place to start—the Gospel of John, the Psalms, or even Genesis—and begin reading. Before your eyes touch the first word, ask God for wisdom and understanding. He will meet you where you are and soon you’ll be drawing near to Him.

 

Worship God

 

One way that I feel almost immediately connected to God is through worshipping Him.  Psalm 16:11 (NASB) says, “You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand, there are pleasures forever.”  Worship is an essential step to enter His presence and draw near to God.

 

Our worship can take on many forms, like quiet meditation, writing, speaking, or singing about who the Lord has shown Himself to be. We can worship at church, of course, but we can also praise Him while doing mundane tasks like laundry, changing diapers, driving to work, or in any task we do.

 

Pray Without Ceasing

 

The very nature of prayer suggests that we draw near to God as we begin. Prayer is much more than a wish list—it involves connection and fellowship with Him. In the Scriptures, Jesus made an ongoing habit of prayer, yet He didn’t use a ritual or repeated words as He prayed. He often shared true, raw emotion before His Father while staying fully submitted to His will. We, too, can show our real, heartfelt emotion as we draw near to God in prayer. We can imagine ourselves climbing into the lap of our Abba Father and feeling safe in His arms. Being honest and vulnerable with God is a quick way to develop intimacy with Him.

 

Engage With Other Believers

 

One often-overlooked way to draw near to God is to partner with other believers. Don’t go this journey alone. Developing strong spiritual habits that grow your faith is easier alongside like-minded friends. I almost always find greater success when I work together with others who support, encourage, and inspire me. Develop friendships with others who have similar goals. Ask them to help you press on and connect with Jesus and in deeper and more meaningful ways.

 

Practice Faith Daily

 

Alongside practicing spiritual habits, building strong character is essential to drawing near to God. I find that my intimacy with Him is more intense when I confess my sins, forgive others, practice gratitude, and live generously. Each requires that I rely on God’s strength to (as Colossians 1:10 says), walk in a manner worthy of Him.

 

 

God is always near. He is always accessible to us and will never leave us (see Hebrews 13:5). Still, we can take intentional steps to deepen our connection with Him. With a sincere heart and commitment to intimacy with God, we can draw near, receive His goodness, respond to His love, and rest in His promises. There’s no greater joy than the unshakeable faith that comes when we do.

 

 

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