Welcome to Part 2 of the Building Intimacy Series!
In our last installment we looked at 5 Steps to Building Intimacy in Any Relationship and we compared nurturing relationships to cultivating a garden. You need to create a plan, feed and water regularly, give it time and space to grow, reap your harvest, and accept that there are “seasons” in relationships.
This time we get personal, starting with our most important relationship—God—and offer both classic and unique ways to develop and strengthen the bonds with our first and best Father. We’ll wrap things up with some additional resources and a free post-able or printable infographic.
Let’s get started!
Intimacy is what helps us to feel close to others and it requires we be vulnerable emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually. And it doesn’t happen by accident. It takes deliberate practice.
And there’s no better way to start deliberately practicing intimacy that with God who modeled vulnerability in the person of his Son. Our great Father orchestrates our lives so that we will pursue him.
Below are a few ideas to help you build and nurture an intimate relationship with Him. But this is just a sample. The variety is as limitless as your imagination.
For example, to freshen my 30-year “marriage” with God, I wrote an allegory of the life of Christ, a sort of fantasy-fiction called The Chasm Crosser.
Your attempts don’t have to be quite as elaborate. In fact, I’d love to hear any ideas you’ve discovered to draw close to our ultimate dad.
Download your free 19 Ways with God Infographic
#1 – Take a walk in a place that displays God’s creativity.
Stroll through a park, the woods, a desert, a grove, a mountain top, etc. Note the different types of trees, shrubs, grass, and flowers. See how the sunlight and shadows change the colors of the flora. How does the sky look? Smell the different scents. Tell God how you feel about the variety he created just for you.
#2 – Pray under a starry sky.
Note the difference between the stars that twinkle and the planets that beam constant light. Ponder the moon and stars, their distance from the earth, God’s hand upon them and his plan to make them appear just as they are this night so you can enjoy them.
#3 – Pray the Psalms.
Pick several or just one that strikes a chord in your heart. Pray it aloud with your eyes open as if you were talking directly to God (you are!).
#5 – Write a love letter to God.
Tell him what you like about him and what you love about him. Recommit your devotion to him. Write it in poem form if you like.
#6 – Meditate on a particular Scripture.
Find a scripture you like that is a direct quotation of God or Jesus. Read it in several different versions. Then rewrite it in your own words and speak it out loud the way you think He would say it to you.
#7- Have coffee with God.
For a meal or a snack, set a place for God. Talk to him about what you like about your meal. Reflect on the different flavors and textures of the food your Creator made for you to enjoy and thank him for how sensitive he made your tongue so you can taste it.
#8 – Write a list of all the ways God has blessed you.
Read Psalm 139 for inspiration.
Download your Free 19 Ways with God Infographic
#9 – “Cuddle” with God at bedtime.
Use a few pillows to “hem you in behind and before” and feel God wrap his arms around you in a tender embrace. Stick glow-in-the-dark stars on your ceiling and play the sounds of nature as you let God lull you to sleep.
#10 – Sacrifice a TV show you like to spend time with God instead.
Not into TV? Then pick a favorite activity. Tell God how he is worth the sacrifice and how being in his presence is more precious to you than anything else.
#11 – Pray during your commute.
Ask God to bless the people in the cars or on the train around you. If someone is discourteous, pray for them in particular since they are either hurried, worried, or preoccupied. Pray for their safety and their opportunity to find peace with God.
#12 – Post scriptures around your home.
Write 10 scriptures about God’s power, love, or faithfulness on index cards and place them at strategic locations around your home that you frequent like the bathroom, closet, nightstand, laundry room, kitchen, etc. Reflect on them and tell God how you feel about these qualities.
#13 – Reflect on how miraculously God made you.
Carefully study how your own body works, then do some research on the brain, the heart, your nervous or digestive systems, how your body heals from wounds, and how it recovers from illness. Contemplate on how thoughtfully, systematic, and precise God designed the human body and discuss this with him.
Look at John 14:10 and Hebrews 1:3. Read a New Testament gospel (Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John) putting in God’s name where ever Jesus’ name is. Journal about what this reveals to you about His love and compassion for you.
#15 – Experience God’s creation through a single sense.
Blindfold yourself to focus only on sounds and smells. Use earplugs to focus only on using your vision, etc. Talk to God about how each of your senses allows you to experience his creation in different ways.
#16 – Sing to God
In the privacy of your own room, pelt out a song. It doesn’t matter if you feel like you can’t sing. He created your voice and when you praise him, it sounds like a chorus of angels to him.
#17 – Examine your pet closely…
noting special markings, eye color, brows, ears, tail, etc. Praise God for your animal’s uniqueness and the spirit of companionship and devotion he gave to them.
#18 – Write a song for God.
Even if you aren’t musically inclined, write it and sing it to him. God sings songs to you (see Zephaniah 3:17).
#19 – Consider how you worship God.
Contrast your view of what it means to “worship God” with how the Israelites in the OT did it (check out this very informative article). Talk to God about your discoveries and what makes him different from other “gods” that people have worshiped throughout history.
Send a FRIEND this link for a free copy of The Intimacy Manifesto
Time to get practical
- In your journal, write down your perceptions of God when you were a child and what influenced those views (church or lack of church, parents, friends, movies, music, trauma, etc).
- Based on what you learned in your reading of The Intimacy Manifesto and your own study of the accompanying scriptures, how accurate (or inaccurate) were your childhood perceptions and how do you think they have influenced your current relationship with God?
- Your relationship with God is both personal and unique. You aren’t competing with anyone else. He longs to spend time with YOU.
- If you are just STARTING in your intimacy with God, choose 2-3 of the ideas listed above that appeal to you. Schedule them into your calendar. After each, journal how the activity helped you grow more intimate with Him. Next, try some of the other ideas that may be a little more challenging for you. Make it your daily goal to spend special time with Him each day.
- If you have a STANDING relationship with God but feel it lacks the intimacy you long for, evaluate why you think it has run dry (it wasn’t Him!). Write a paragraph in your journal why you want to recommit to spending special time with him each day. Pick 3-5 of the ideas listed above. Schedule them into your calendar. Make them happen!
As you pursue the unfathomable depths of your relationship with God, be mindful of the Apostle Paul’s prayer for the Christians in the church at Ephesus:
I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts, living within you as you trust in him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love; and may you be able to feel and understand, as all God’s children should, how long, how wide, how deep and how high his love really is; and to experience this love for yourselves, though it is so great that you will never see the end of it or fully know or understand it. And so at last you will be filled up with God himself.” (Ephesians 3:17-19)
Great job! As God teaches you about intimacy, you will be able to mirror it in all your other relationships.
Wrapping it Up with Resources
As promised here are a few resources to further expand your understanding of what it takes to build intimacy in your relationship with God.
- Jesus: An Interview Across Time by Andrew G. Hodges MD
- Knowing God by J.I. Packer
- The Divine Romance by Gene Edwards
- Our Naked Souls: Experiencing Uninhibited Intimacy by Jorge E. Reynardus
- Worship the King by Henry Kriete
- Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts by Jerry Bridges
Feeling equipped? I hope so!
Once you are ready for the next step, you can go on to Part 3, 16 Ways to Create Healthy, Intimate Friendships.
If you ever have any questions, feel free to email me.
Don’t forget to download your Free 19 Ways with God Infographic
Or get a printable version