You stay up all night together laughing until you cry; you finish each other’s sentences; you wear each other’s clothes. You know this friendship will last a lifetime. Then life funnels you toward different destinations, and one day it hits you: you haven’t seen or talked to your friend in years!
Recently I ran into a friend like this: one with whom I have memories of midnight Taco Bell runs, sharing heartbreaks over boys, and driving more than thirty hours round trip to spontaneously spend our college spring break with my family. As we met up over dinner last month after my husband and I just happened to pass through her neck of the United States, I was shocked to realize it had been ten years since we’d last spoken. In many ways, those old college days seemed like yesterday, and I found myself wishing there were a way to rewind time and relive some of those cherished moments.
Have you ever had a similar experience? Have you ever savored a beautiful friendship for a season, only to one day realize that life long ago channeled you down a separate path from your friend? You may run into her from time to time and still be able to laugh and talk as if no time has passed; you may still legitimately call yourselves friends. But without regular contact, the intimacy of the relationship is lost: all you really have is a shared collection of warm, fuzzy memories.
As you grow and mature, embracing new friends and new life phases isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But what about when it happens in your relationship with Jesus? Is it enough that you had an experience with Him when you were thirteen? Is it enough that one year, back when you turned twenty-one, you always woke up early to spend time with Him in Bible reading and prayer?
I think we know the answer to these questions. But sometimes busy lives and hectic schedules wedge themselves between us and our pursuit of God. We tell ourselves the relationship is still important to us; we tell ourselves we’ll nurture it later when things calm down. But then days turn into months, and sometimes months into years, and one day we realize we’re not sure when the last time was we saw the face of Jesus.
Healthy relationships are a byproduct of talking to one another, sharing thoughts and dreams, and spending time together. In your friendship with Jesus, that means praying (talking to Him) and reading the Bible (letting Him talk to you).
Recently, I found a “prayer clock” I’ve had for over a decade in an old Bible. I’d never used the card and decided to give it a try. To my surprise, praying through the prayer clock helps me pray longer and with more intention. Since this system has been so beneficial in helping me maintain my relationship with Jesus, I thought I’d share it with you:
- Praise. Praise God for who He is.
- Forgiveness. Has anything hurt or offended you over the past day? Ask God to weed out bitterness before it can take root in your heart.
- Confession. Tell God your mess-ups and ask Him to forgive you.
- Petition. Confidently present your needs to God.
- Intercession. Pray for lost souls and for all those you’ve told you’ll be praying.
- The Word. Read the Bible, asking God to open your eyes to His truth.
- Meditation. Think about the spiritual themes you’ve just read and how they apply to your life.
- Thanksgiving. Thank God for anything and everything.
- Praying the Word. Read the Word as a prayer. The book of Psalms is great for this!
- Singing. Sing a meaningful song as a prayer or as praise.
- Listening. Take time to be still, listening to what God impresses on your heart.
- Praise. Once again, exalt the nature of God.
For some of you, the prayer clock concept may seem elementary. For others, I hope it helps you deepen your relationship with God the way it has me.
Do you have any prayer or devotional tips of your own? We’d love to hear about them in the comments below!