Connecting with God

We all want to experience deeper connection with God… but most of us don’t really know how. Here are some ideas.

Spiritual practices open us up to God’s grace and help us connect with God.

Bible reading & reflection help us to…

  • get to know who God is and what God is like
  • hear God
  • find direction
  • see the big picture of God’s purposes in the world…

If you haven’t read much of the Bible yet, we encourage you to:

  • Get an easy-to-understand Bible, such as the Renovare Life with God Bible (formerly called the Spiritual Formation Bible) or The Message, by Eugene Peterson.
  • Start with the Gospel of Mark, in the New Testament — it’s the shortest of the 4 stories of Jesus (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John), and it’s written in a pretty clear style, so it’s easier to understand than some other books.
  • Find a daily devotional and start reading it every day. The best ones include a short scripture reading, then a short reflection and prayer. Try The Upper Room (there are some print copies in each building, or go online and sign up for their email version).

Looking for a good study Bible? We recommend:

  • The HarperCollins Study Bible (New Revised Standard Version)
  • The New Oxford Annotated Study Bible (New Revised Standard Version)
  • The Learning Bible (Contemporary English Version)

Prayer & Meditation help us to…

  • calm down and slow down
  • focus on God and on the needs of others
  • listen to God
  • reconnect with God
  • receive God’s strength and courage
  • recommit ourselves to following Jesus…

If you’re just beginning to develop a daily prayer habit, we recommend:

  • For consistency, choose a specific time each day to be intentional in prayer, based on who you are (for example, don’t choose 6am if you’re a night person).
  • To reduce distractions and interruptions, choose a specific location, such as the side porch, your bedroom, or the family room.
  • Then just talk to God and tell God what’s on your heart and mind, remembering to listen, too. Remember you have an audience of just one: God.

Other Spiritual Practices

Journaling: Like keeping a diary, when we journal we write about our spiritual life. Jot down where you see see God working in your life and in the lives of your family and friends. Write your thoughts on the day’s Bible passage, or the discussion you had in small group. Ask questions about that week’s message in worship…

Simplicity: Simplifying helps us unclutter our lives and gives us freedom from possessions. It helps us remove all of the conflicting claims on our time and energy, so that we can make room and time to be with God.

Worship & Holy Communion help us encounter God through community with other believers, and they help us love God through words and songs of praise. Accepting the grace and forgiveness of God in Holy Communion helps sustain and nourish our relationship with God.

Generosity (with our time, money, and talents) reminds us that everything we have is a gift from God, which helps us be more selfless and more focused on the needs of others. Being generous helps us be more like God, since God is a giving God. It gives us an antidote to materialism and strengthens our trust that God will provide for us.

Service to Others helps us think of the needs of others and helps us be more selfless. It helps us appreciate what we do have and God’s gifts to us.

  • There are many opportunities for serving within and beyond the walls of Hilliard United Methodist Church. Watch the Sunday worship folders for details, and then just pick one and try it! If you don’t like it, pick something else and try that.
  • Habitat for Humanity, Feeding by Faith, Street Feed Ministry, Thanksgiving bags, Adopt A Family Christmas program, Vacation Bible School…

Spiritual Reading helps clarify the Bible and make spiritual things more clear to us.

Appreciating Creation helps us love and praise God! Being outside in God’s world reminds us of all the gifts and blessings God has given us.

Small Faith-Sharing Groups help us connect with other people of faith. They give us strength and courage for life and the spiritual journey, and they help us stay committed to our journey with God. Other Jesus followers can help us find solutions for and insights into life’s difficulties and joys. Small groups help us apply scripture to life and give us a place to share our spiritual gifts to glorify God and build others up.

Fasting reminds us that food and other material things don’t make us who we are, that it is God who makes us, feeds us, and provides for us.