Do you want to spend time with me or Cliff Richard?

That was Heaven’s nudge to me many years back whilst I was working as Chief Exec of Crusaders.

Sir Cliff was Crusader’s Patron and I’d be trying for three years to meet up with him. I was elated when the news finally came that he was free for a catch-up. But then I remembered that we’d set that day aside as a team prayer day. What to do?

I decided to take a moment to pray through this dilemma, seeking some Heavenly wisdom. That’s when the thought came into my head, which I’m convinced was a divine response, do you want me to meet with me (God) or Cliff Richard?

Surely there’s no contest? This is the privilege of prayer!

We don’t have to have times with God in prayer, but we get to have regular times with Him. This is an incredible privilege. God loves to BE with us, and we can be with Him any time, any place, anyhow.

“Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”
Psalm 91:1

The deeper meaning of the original Hebrew language of this well-known verse speaks about those who intentionally, regularly, and consistently commit to being with God will find God’s rest and relief – strength for today, and hope for tomorrow. Don’t we all need some of that? I know I do.

I need more of the peace, comfort, strength, hope, guidance, and life of God. So, with this in mind, I’m feeling exercised about creating more regular space and time to be with God. Not out of religious duty, but simply a longing for relational intimacy. I make time in my diary to be with others, why not more time to be with God?

But how can we build a habit of being with God every day?

In his brilliant book, Atomic Habits, author James Clear suggests the following four keys to building habits that stick – and here’s how I’m applying them to new prayer habits.

1. “Make it obvious”

Why not connect it with something else you already do (James Clear calls this Habit Stacking)? For example, you could decide that when you make a cup of tea first thing in the morning, the next thing you’ll always do is sit in a chair to spend time with God.

2. “Make it attractive”

We want our moments with God to be something we look forward to each day, so what will help that for you? For example, maybe you’ll play your favourite worship song, or start with your favourite reading, or just enjoy a moment of stillness, or maybe you’ll do this with a friend online so it’ll be great to ‘see’ them.

3. “Make it easy”

We’ve got to start somewhere so let’s start with a habit that feels achievable. For example, if you’ve never got into the habit of being with God every day then start with 2 minutes. Just 2 minutes. We can all spare 2 minutes, right? Once you’ve got the habit down, then you can grow it.

4. “Make it satisfying”

Once you’ve had your time with God, then hopefully you’ll feel the benefit of it. A better perspective? More peace? Sometimes though we might not feel any different but, by faith, we believe it’s done us good. Experts in habit formation tell us that one way to make our habits feel satisfying is to keep track of when we do them. For example, every time you spend time with God, make a marker in your diary or calendar. Seeing our progress encourages us. Doing something every day – even less than usual – is always better than doing nothing. It’s the regularity and frequency that build the habit. So keep going and see how you’re progressing.

A couple of years ago I wrote a prayer guide to help folks at Zeo develop their intimacy with, and becoming like Jesus.

Click HERE if you’d like to take a look, and do feel free to share it with others. Remember, we’d don’t HAVE to spend time with God – we GET to. We have the great promise of James 4:8 “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.”

I pray that you will know the powerful and peace-bringing presence of Jesus as you make time – a little or more each day – to be with Him.