Interesting things happen when you pray to grow closer to God. Who you thought you were — or had to be — gets thrown in the air like a deck of cards.
As you pick up the pieces and examine them individually, you decide to let some go without thinking twice. Some you don’t pick up at all.
While growing closer to God involves change and transformation— yes! — it also involves a willingness to fall silent and listen. Some of our old behaviors no longer fit the picture. Some of our old actions no longer feel enjoyable.
Growing closer to God involves a love so pure it’s not possible to fully comprehend by human standards. It happens to us and through us. When we ask God to help us grow closer to Him, when it’s truly our heart’s desire, it is a prayer that will never come back void.
James 4:8 tells us, “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.”
Praying to Grow Closer to God
Last week I felt like it was time to get steeped in learning. I had questions, and the place to turn was God. So I prayed that God would help me to grow closer to Him and love Him better. Then I felt an almost immediate call for silence.
Something inside was saying… it’s time to just be. To listen. To submit. To surrender.
I wondered how long it would last, especially since it was Christmastime. To my surprise it happened gradually — a little rough initially — but now I’m starting to see the opportunities as they arise.
Praying to grow closer to God is what we’re called to do. In fact, the first commandment is for us to love God with all our heart, mind and strength. He didn’t give us this law to set us up for failure but so that we would turn to Him for help.
We don’t possess divine love on our own. We cannot comprehend God’s kind of love–agape love–without God. But we can pray for God to help us grow closer to Him. It is by the work of the Holy Spirit–who loves Jesus Christ–that we can enjoy and demonstrate a closer love of God, a deepening and unfolding that can take an entire lifetime.
How does the Holy Spirit do this? It’s divine. Romans 8:26 tells us:
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.
Learning God’s Story
When I first started going back to church I remember a pastor saying if we want to learn who God is, we have to read His story, which is the Bible. He was saying how people often turn to the Bible for self-help, but first and foremost, the Bible is a book that teaches us who God is.
Amazing right? Reading the Bible to grow closer to God and praying that God reveals Himself turns a book into living words. It transforms the act of reading His word into an experience that penetrates our life. We learn who He is in the process, and we also learn who He is not.
God is good.
Ends and Beginnings
As this year comes to an end, another new year presents a beginning. This year could be the year you grow closer to God with prayer, study and the constant, daily help of the Holy Spirit.
I’ve made this prayer, and the miracles continue to amaze me. I find myself responding differently, or at the very least wanting to respond differently. I find myself turning to God to soften my heart. Even over the holiday season, I found myself growing silent (not a typical trait!) and more filled with the desire to listen and just be.
God appears in the silence. Jesus Christ opens up his arms to take us in.
Blessings to you this year. May the new year ahead be filled with God’s grace and love in your life.
Photo Credit. Thank you!
I find the more silent I am the clearer I hear His voice. Thank you for the reminder at this busy time to seek silence. God bless your day.
Thanks for another great post, and for everything you’ve written this year!
Hope you had a merry Christmas and wishing you a happy new year!
Amen! I’ve so enjoyed reading your posts this past year. Keep on encouraging us to grow closer to God. Thanks! Lisa~
Jennifer Johns says
And thank you @Lynda, @Hua and @Lisa! It’s a special blessing to hear from you and to know God is working in your life. It encourages me to know how many others are walking in faith!
This is an amazing post. What an encouragement. I can identify with so many of the words you have written. I am consitantly floored by how God touches my heart by the written words of people I do not yet even know. Thank you for being open and transparent, and thank you for sharing your thoughts. They reach people you are unaware of. So, for that, thanks!
Freya Simmons says
Thank you for such a wonderful post! I have enjoyed reading all the posts. I hope that you and the family had a wonderful holiday season.
Jennifer Johns says
Thanks Laura and Freya! Blessings to both of you 🙂
Yes Jen, this just confirms more to me the theme I am hearing of drawing closer to God, letting Him be my everything and not looking to others or allowing others to draw me away from Him. Great and timely post. Good to be able to share the journey with others. Thanks for this great blog.
I just recently came across your website and this post was exactly what I needed to hear (or read). Funny how that sort of thing works out, huh? Please keep posting because I enjoy what you have to say and I am sure others do to.
Jennifer Johns says
Thank you 🙂 The message of God is too good not to be shared!
I REALY NEED HELP GROWING CLOSER TO GOD THANKS
I type in Google search how to grow closer to God and your post came up. I always enjoy reading positive words of encouragement. Thank You sharing your post with me.
SHERITTA COLLINS says
How to get closer to God is truly what I’ve been searching for, for a long time now. I feel so distant from GOD and I’m so scared I’m gonna fall. I was looking for words to give our missionary ladies on Sunday and I’m searching ideas and BAM!!!!! God gave me what I was looking for. Thank you for sharing what God has given you
Jennifer Johns says
A friend recently told me that before reading the bible, she prays God will show her who he is through the words… the he will quiet her spirit and allow her to grow closer to him. It’s something I’ve started doing too, and it truly is amazing how he appears!
I love the Lord!!
Ephesians 3:14-21 has an interesting and lovely prayer that i believe can be beneficial for all people wishing to grow closer to God.Please check it out and pray it.I believe that God wanted me to find that passage and share it with others because i found it while reading this article and looking for James 4:8 to highlight it in my bible.Please pray the prayer and share it with others,thank you.
I love that question”who God isn’t”! So many times I have prayed “God I want to know what U want and who u are”. But that question of who God isn’t puts a whole new twist on things. And opens many opportunities to figuring out how we can better serve God, family, and church.
I would love to say Thank you and May lord God Bless you,
Jennifer Johns, words cannot express how grateful I am for this post. You have inspired me to grow closer to God. All my life I have been searching for something to fill this hole in my heart, now I know how to fill this hole in my heart. Thank you so much.
victoria igwe says
I thank God for using you to bless our soul, how to draw closer to God by letting me to understanding that loving God with heart, mind, strength, and reading his word reveal us our source and who God he really is .God bless you Jennifer
Meghan v says
Your posts have made being closer to God and finally finding the way to His arms even easier for me. You have helped make everything so much clearer and I thank you so much. When I read this post I smiled and I felt like God was shining His light on me and is made me smile. You have helped me understand so much better so thank you so much. God bless you.
Holidays are pagan and demonic (christmas, easter, etc.). We must and have been commanded to celebrate our Fathers holy days instead along with every sabbath and commandment of Yahova.
Lydia Lekgothoane says
Thank you so much,You are blessing!
khandker masuma zannat says
I need help..please god help me..i need help..please god help me…i need help..please god help me i need help..please god help me….i need help…..please god help me.
Jimmy kamwanya says
Too blessed continue feeding us this holy food that will change our spritual healthy. Amen!
cheryl conteh says
Relationships of all kinds are exciting yet challenging. These “Getting Closer to God” series of videos will help to simplify and explain the basics of starting a relationship with God and also how to strengthen the one you already have.