When you are suffering, it’s important to draw closer to God. But how do you do this in practical ways? In this article, we will highlight eight ways to draw closer to God. These simple methods will help you improve your relationship with God no matter what type of suffering you are experiencing.
8 Ways to Draw Closer to God
1. Read the Bible daily
The best way to draw closer to God in suffering is to listen to his voice. As Spirit-filled people, He is already speaking to us on a daily basis, but it can be confusing to discern the voice of our flesh from the voice of God without knowing how to identify it (see Genesis 3). The best way to learn to recognize His voice is to get into his Word every day, making it part of your daily life.
You may enjoy using a print Bible for your daily readings. If you prefer, you can download a Bible app on your smartphone. Either method is equally valid; just choose the one that will help you be most consistent.
There are many Scripture reading plans available online to help you stay on track. Bible apps will have built-in reading programs for you. You can also use an online search to look up verses on certain topics, including suffering.
If the vastness of the Scriptures seems daunting, try selecting a single book and following the narrative and/or line of thought to the end. Alternatively, you may enjoy using a devotional along with your Bible reading. Pick one that is convenient for you. It may ease your suffering to read God’s Word morning, noon, and night. A small devotional will give you a focus verse you can read even when you are on the go.
2. Meditate on God’s Word
Once you choose your method for reading God’s Word, you’ll experience greater peace from it if you meditate on a chosen scripture or story every day. Meditation is simply thinking carefully about what God is communicating to you through the narrative. Rarely, are verses meant to be taken individually, so try meditating on the overall story or message of your reading.
What wisdom can be found in the life and failures of Saul? What does God’s response to the character in the narrative reveal about His nature toward you right now? It only takes a couple of minutes per day and can help you feel encouraged.
Choose a favorite story or verse to think about throughout the day when you are feeling low and God will lift you up.
3. Identify prayer promptsYou will draw closer to God the more often you pray throughout the day. By identifying prayer prompts, you will be reminded to pray throughout the day. Eventually, you may find yourself naturally going to God in prayer and thanksgiving.
For example, you can pray over specific requests while you are brushing your teeth in the morning. You can pray for other things while you eat breakfast, commute to work, have lunch drive home, eat supper, and get ready for bed.
Sticky notes are good reminders for prayer requests. You can display them in high visibility areas like your bathroom mirror, refrigerator, car dashboard, or computer. As you glance at them, remember to pray. You can also set timers on your phone to remind you to pray at certain times.
These prompts will help you stay in conversation with God throughout your day. They will help you feel less alone and more connected to God. Even when you are suffering, these prayer prompts can give you hope. Remember, prayer is a simple conversation; no ritual or fancy language is needed to talk to God!
4. Take a prayer walk A prayer walk is a wonderful way to lift your spirits when you are suffering. It gets your body moving, which produces feel-good endorphins. You’ll also be blessed by the sights, sounds, and scents of God’s creation. Even if it’s a cool day, you can bundle up and enjoy a prayer walk.
Use the sights you see to prompt you to pray. You’ll feel refreshed in your bodyand mind after your prayer walk. Day after day, a prayer walk can help you feel closer to God in your suffering while helping you feel healthier.
5. Listen to worship music
Worship music is one of the best ways to feel uplifted in your suffering. If you aren’t familiar with worship music, simply search YouTube for worship music. You can play your favorite songs over and over to find hope and healing.Music is a powerful method of connecting more deeply with God.
6. Start a daily gratitude list
A daily gratitude list is key for reorienting your thoughts. When you’re suffering, your pain can feel overwhelming. But if you intentionally choose to thank God even when times are tough, He will give you joy in your pain. What you are not doing is ignoring the pain or pretending the pain is not there; rather, you are learning to recognize the blessings as well. Pain can of narrow our focus towards that which we don’t have.
Start small by keeping a notebook with just three things every day that bring you joy. Even little things count. Sometimes the smallest blessings can bring you the biggest joy. As you start to look for gratitude each day, you’ll feel closer to God and more uplifted in your attitude.
7. Intercede for others
When you are suffering, it’s tempting to turn all the way inward and isolate yourself. But if you choose to pray for others even in your suffering, you’ll get your thoughts off yourself and on others, which can provide relief and hope.
To intercede is to pray for another person. Make a list of seven people for whom you can pray and commit to praying for one of them each day of the week. Ask God to bless them, strengthen them and lift them up.
While you certainly need to pray for your own struggles, interceding for others will balance your prayers. You’ll feel better as you focus outside yourself, and more connected with God as you talk with Him about those you love.
8. Connect with a small group
Whether you can connect with a church in-person or online, it will do you good to connect with a small group of fellow believers who will encourage you, pray for you, and lift you up. Ask your pastor if you can join a group meeting on Zoom right now – there are probably more options available than you may realize.
Your small group will need you as much as you need them. They will be glad to support you through the suffering you are experiencing. Small group meetings can be just the help you need if you are feeling lonely, discouraged, or frustrated. You’ll get perspectives from your small group that you just can’t get anywhere else, along with accountability and comfort. Your small group will help you feel closer to others and to God.
Christian Counseling for Suffering
These eight methods can provide a real boost to your relationship with God during a time of suffering. But what if you still feel stuck in your pain after you try these methods? It may be time for you to contact a Christian counselor, who can walk beside you in your suffering.
A Christian counselor will listen to you, pray for you, and guide you with biblical principles. The counselors at Seattle Christian Counseling can help you grieve the losses you’ve experienced and choose hope and healing in the Lord. To find help in overcoming your suffering, contact us at Seattle Christian Counseling today. We’re ready to help you draw closer to God and find greater peace.
“Bible Study”, Courtesy of Oladimeji Ajegbile, Pexels.com, CC0 License; “Boardwalk”, Courtesy of Tobi, Pexels.com, CC0 License; “Facing the Sun”, Courtesy of Kelvin Valerio, Pexels.com, CC0 License; “Listening to Tunes”, Courtesy of Karolina Grabowska, Unsplash.com, CC0 License