Katherine Ash
Walking With God

What a challenging and helpful word from Graham last week (click here to listen back). David (my husband) and I have been talking quite a bit about "personal times with God", whichever label you might like to put on them (devotional times, quiet times, prayer times etc) over the last few months. I think that it is quite easy to be intimidated by them. You might be worried that you're "doing them wrong", concerned that they are not as easy as you hoped, or feel that everyone else is having intimacy with God, and you're being distracted by the clock ticking. Or perhaps, you would just like to try something different.

I don't think that I need to reason with you, that these times are important. Just with any relationship, time is what is needed to create intimacy, to learn about the other person, and to learn to recognise their voice. This is all true of relationship with God too.

Psalm 91:1-2 says:
1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”

It is God's heart for us, to make our dwelling place with Him and to remain there. Spending time with God, and getting to know the bible, God's word, is one of the ways in which we can develop our relationship. This can be quite daunting. How do you know where to start? There are so many things that might help you, so many ways of doing it, and this is great. The key thing is to be intentional about it, and not put off doing anything, as you haven't found "The" way.

David and I came up with a list of things that we could try:
1) Read the bible cover to cover (Genesis to Revelation)
2) Read the bible in chronological order
3) Bible in a year (there are loads of reading plans and apps to help with this) (BIOY, YouVersion, Bible Gateway) [see android & app store links below]
4) Focus on a book at a time- there are some great books by Phil Moore which could help you with this (click here for more information)
5) Follow a devotional plan as an app, email daily or on paper (BIOY, YouVersion, BibleGateway, Everyday With Jesus, etc.)
6) Look at particular themes (such as forgiveness, salvation, glory of God, freedom in Christ)
7) Go back to basics and read a children's bible. The "Jesus Storybook Bible" is great for this, as it points to Jesus all the way through. It has been on the recommended reading list for leadership training for this reason!
8) READING A GREAT BOOK on a topic or theme (perhaps look for something on a recommended reading list). You could look on the Pursuing His Presence : The Academy recommended reading list. You could also look in our reviewed book list or the ChristCentral recommended book list

Then there is a long list of ways you could do all of these things, including journaling, studying with a commentary, looking at verse maps and so on. There is no wonder that it is easy to get a bit stuck.

I am going to give you a few ideas of places that you could start today, and over the next few weeks we are going to try some new things, and let you see what we have been up to! Some of them will be great tools to help, others won't.

So, when you have picked your passage of scripture. Then what? I have 5 methods that might help you to get the most out of your time with God. We (David) has put them onto a sheet together so that if you find it helpful, you can cut them out, stick them as bookmarks in your bible to help you when you are sitting down.

1) The SOAP method
2) POWER method
3) GROW method
4) REST method
5) FEAST method.


Downloadable versions: PDF or ZIP (inc. jpgs)

It is easy to think that the only way to spend time with God is in quiet times. The phrase alone might put you off. But, just as our personality affects our relationships with one another, so it will have an affect on the way in which our relationship with God grows best. This is not an excuse to not have time with God alone, but just reflects "how" the time happens, and what we do in it, might be different. Many books on this topic are written from the perspective of an introvert, who needs quiet time and space to process thoughts. But what if you are an extrovert, or a mix? We need to get past the idea that there is only one way of spending this time, and move into freedom to build relationship with God and be creative about it.

There are lots of things online about personality and relationship with God, some healthy and some not so healthy. I do think that understanding ourselves, and accepting that God has made us different, does bring release in realising that we can all do different things that still bring us closer to Him. There is an interesting and helpful article here about prayer style and personality. It suggests strengths and weaknesses for each of the styles that it discusses, and I think that is really helpful.

So, as we think about a new academic year, a time to start things afresh again, let's use Graham’s message from the weekend as a provocation and take a fresh look at our personal walk with God. What needs refreshing? What works well?

BIOY - Play Store | App Store
Bible Gateway - Play Store | App Store
YouVersion - Play Store | App Store