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“Hey God, it’s been a long time…”
I remember settling down on my bed and speaking those words. The last month had been brutal. I’d started a new job; I was in the middle of finals week; my son was in the middle of potty training and had taken a U-turn on his progress. Everything seemed to stack up until suddenly I realized I hadn’t prayed in a week.
I’ll be honest, at first, I felt like a failure. As a Christian woman, I believe my relationship with God is central to my life. And yet, I had neglected my relationship with Him. I could have beat myself up over it, but I didn’t. Instead, I sat down and prayed.
If this sounds like something you’ve experienced, don’t feel alone. The world is more than happy to pull you away from God, and we can get so wrapped up in everything going on in our lives we seem to drift away from our faith. But, it doesn’t have to be that way. You can prioritize your faith – here are a few ways to start.
Simple and Effective Ways to Prioritize Faith
1. Make Your Commitment
Think of your connection with God as a relationship. Of course, as Christians, we commit to Christ when we accept Him as our savior. But just like in any relationship, whether its’ marriage, friendship, or parenting, we have to put in the hours of connection and commitment to make it stronger.
If you’ve realized that your relationship with God needs some TLC, take the first step and affirm your commitment to Him. Find a quiet place, close your eyes, and pray.
“Dear God, I know I’ve been distant; please forgive me for that. But today, I want to change that. Help me to find time to talk to you, to hear you. I want to strengthen our relationship. Guide me through this time of reconnection. Amen.”
2. Schedule A Daily Talk With God
You’ve made your commitment; you’re ready to build God back into your life. But how do you fit in worthwhile prayer and scriptural studies when you have a million things on your plate? Simple, schedule a daily talk with God.
The amazing thing about God is His incomprehensible love for us. He doesn’t need a grand prayer or Gospel choir singing to recognize our love. He simply wants to spend time with us. Five minutes of quiet reflection and prayer on your lunch break, two minutes of giving thanks, a single second of “Thank you, God” deepens our relationship with Him.
If you find yourself struggling to make time for God in your day, start literally scheduling a talk with Him. Put a reminder in your calendar or phone. Or, take it one step further and download a daily prayer app like Abide that sends automatic prayer prompts to your phone. But, most importantly, stick to your schedule. Remember that you wouldn’t ditch a date with your husband or a girls’ night, so don’t skip out on time with God, either!
3. Find Your Community
Our faith is built on community. Remember that Jesus preached the Church to be a place of refuge, strength, and fellowship for Christians. So if you find yourself struggling to connect with God, there’s no better place to reconnect than in a Christian community.
“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” Matthew 18:20
I found myself drawing closer to God when my husband and I joined our church’s Young Marrieds Group. We met with other couples and studied scripture together to help guide our marriages. As a result, we developed friendships built on Christ’s teachings. Not only that, but I found myself deepening my relationship with God because I was surrounded by His spirit and His word at every meeting.
If you aren’t a member of a small group or community yet, I encourage you to find one. Reach out to your church and see if any women’s or couple’s groups have a meeting coming up. You may need to try a couple of groups to find the right one for you, but it’s worth the effort to find a community where everyone focuses on developing closer relationships with God and each other.
4. Sign-up For A Faith-Based Subscription Box
I’m a real sucker for subscription boxes. Why? Because it’s something to look forward to! I get so amped up knowing my next coffee subscription will arrive on the porch once a month. But did you know that there are faith-based subscription boxes?
There’s no better way to create a sense of fun and excitement in your faith journey than by subscribing to a service like Butterfly Box. A Butterfly Box subscription comes once a month, with each box tailored towards a specific Biblical theme or lesson. For example, one month, you might study the names and faces of God; the next, you could receive a guide on thankfulness.
I recommend a faith-based subscription box for two reasons. One, it reminds you every month to reconnect with God. Two, Butterfly Box and other subscription boxes provide tools and resources to help you find a rich, diverse relationship with God.
I’m the first to admit that I struggle with reading scripture. I always blame my schedule – I don’t have the time to sit down and read. I can’t find the energy to invest in my reading today. It’s easy to find excuses, believe me. However, incorporating scripture into daily life is central to a Christian’s life.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1
Our connection with God strengthens with every moment we spend studying His word. The Bible embodies God’s teachings. Therefore, to prioritize our faith, we have to make time to study His word.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying you have to read a chapter of the Bible every night! Instead, I recommend practicing a single Bible verse a day. Try a devotional like Max Lucado’s Grace For The Moment or Sheila Walsh’s In the Middle of the Mess: Strength for This Beautiful, Broken Life. Both help you prioritize your faith in bite-sized snippets that teach you to immerse yourself in God’s word.
In the Bible, believers are often encouraged to spread the Gospel and share salvation with the world.
“Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples!” Psalm 96:3
This mission is key to keeping the Christian faith. But many of us fall prey to the misconception that only missionaries can spread the Gospel. That’s simply not true! God blesses each of us with spiritual gifts, whether it is the heart of a healer, the voice of a singer, or the compassion of a children’s church leader! These are the gifts we use to spread the Gospel.
How do we prioritize this mission? Not all of us can run a Sunday School Class or have the preaching skills to lead a small group. That’s ok! You can start by contributing to a ministry.
Not sure where to start? Perhaps you can help make coffee for church on Sunday mornings. Maybe you will join the worship team. Or, you could spend one day a month at a local shelter. All of these are excellent ways to spread the Gospel and teachings of Christ.
7. Affirm and Give Thanks Day and Night
What great gift is there than the gift of salvation? As Christians, we know that we move on to true Paradise when we leave this world. But ask yourself, how often do we give thanks for that gift? How often do we affirm our belief in God and His promise of Paradise?
The reality is that we so often take these gifts for granted. We forget the value of our commitment to God and the incalculable wonder found in His salvation.
I challenge you to prioritize giving thanks for the gift of salvation every day. Start by adding a simple “thank you for your forgiveness/love/sacrifice/etc.” into your daily prayer. This simple phrase helps remind you that you are blessed. Then, go one step further and affirm why you are giving thanks, thus prioritizing and growing your faith.
For me, affirming and giving thanks daily worked best with a gratitude journal. Every night, I write one reason I am thankful for my relationship with God. Think of it as an affirmation of your dedication to God and your relationship.
My final piece of advice is to accept that you will struggle with prioritizing your faith. That’s the nature of the world – it wants to pull us away from God. But finding time to prioritize our faith shows that our relationship with God matters – to Him and to us.