I may believe in God, but how do I KNOW that I am saved?
In the time of the judgment, many people will be rejected by God. He will say “Get away from Me, I never knew you!” (Matthew 7:23) That will be a huge shock for those people. Many of those who faithfully went to church and did what they thought was the right thing, will not make it to heaven. Jesus doesn’t ask how much tithe we paid or how many “Hail Mary’s” we said or if we always kept the Sabbath. He says He wants to KNOW us, to have a relationship with us.
Knowing God is not just knowing ABOUT God. The Scripture says, “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.” (James 2:19) How do human relationships develop? Getting to know someone means to spend time with them, to enjoy their company and have dialogue with them. Getting to know God means the same thing – we should be prepared to spend time with Him, to enjoy His company and to have dialogue with Him.
Jim Hohenberger in his book “Escape to God,” details how to develop a real relationship with God. Putting aside time to reflect on God and His goodness is vital. Those who are spiritual giants and who have a living relationship with God sometimes spend hours in prayer and worship. You don’t develop a relationship with God from five minutes a day and then forgetting Him for the rest of it.
It comes by inviting God to come with you for the day, every day, asking Him for assistance and thanking Him for His goodness, all through the day. And guess what—He really does participate in your life in a real way! He communicates too. There is only one way to find out what a relationship with God is like, and that is to taste and see.
Pastor Mark Finlay suggests the best ways to develop a healthy prayer life:
1. Have a time to pray. Schedule time for meeting God. Make it a regular practice. It is too easy to make do with a meagre allowance of time for God and stunt one's growth as a Christian.
2. Have a place to pray. Somewhere quiet with few distractions, where you can focus on God alone.
3. Pray aloud. Jesus prayed aloud often. The disciples came upon Jesus while He was praying, and they wanted to learn to pray also, so He taught them the Lord’s Prayer. See also Matt 26:39: “He fell on His face and prayed, saying…”(the disciples heard Him). The same happens in verses 42 and 44.
4. Use the Bible as subject matter for prayer. Read it and pray as you read. Open your heart to God as a Friend. Don’t just ask God for things, talk to Him about the things He has shared in His Word. God is a loving Father who wants a relationship.
A.C.T.S. Use this as a guide for HOW to pray:
Adoration. Open your heart to worship God above all things.
Confession. Admit your mistakes and ask Him for forgiveness.
Thankfulness. Praise Him and share your gratitude for what He has done for you.
Supplication. Ask Him for what you need, whether it is material things, health, or the well-being of others. He always hears, He always answers although it may not be apparent.
But why pray if God knows everything anyway? If He knows already, why bother? Because God respects our freedom of choice and it enables God to do more than if we didn’t pray. We know what our children need but we still like to hear from them anyway.
Why doesn't God always answer our prayers? Well the short answer is that He does always answer our prayers. However our “yes” may be different from God’s “yes”. God’s yes may agree with our yes but sometimes it IS different. There is a battle going on between good and evil, and He knows the best answer for us at the time we ask. He will ALWAYS grant what we ask when we need forgiveness and strength and spiritual power.
Lord, sometimes we pray and You seem to be silent and that troubles us. Help us to realize that You really do hear us. Help us to reach up in faith and take hold of the promise that You love us and will answer our prayers in Your way, in Your time and for Your purpose. Most of all, help us to really KNOW You.
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