To be intimate with a person means to have a very close relationship with the person. You can't be intimate with an acquaintance; someone you don't know much about, someone you just say hello to. It is only someone that you are very close to, someone you spend a great deal of time with that you can have an intimate relationship with. There are different kinds of relationships we have with people but not all of these relationships are intimate. For instance, we have acquaintances, casual friends, good friends and our best friends.
God desires intimacy with us. He wants us to be so close to Him, He wants to be our best friend, our 'bosom buddy'; the person we are closest to. He wants to be the very first person we call and talk to when something happens in our life, when we have good news, and when there's an important decision we need to make. He wants to be someone we go to without any hesitation to share our deep secrets or when we have a challenge.
We all know the difference between those who are mere acquaintances to us and those who are really close to us. Someone can be an acquaintance to you for many years. Yes, you see yourselves regularly probably in church, the office, or some other event that usually brings you together, but that's where it stops. You have never really bonded with this person. You don't know where the person lives, you don't know what the person is presently going through, you don't know much about the person's real life even though you see the person regularly. That is certainly not the kind of relationship God wants us to have with Him. Unfortunately, that's the kind of relationship many have with Christ. Even though they come to church every week, Jesus is just an acquaintance to them. They have no idea about when and how Jesus speaks, they don't know what His thoughts about certain things are. Jesus is someone that they just say a causal hello to every now and then.
The Bible in James 4:8 tells us to draw near to God and he will draw near to you. This means that the onus of having an intimate relationship with God rests on us not on God. Yes, God wants to be intimate with us but at the same time, He won't force an intimate relationship with Him down our throat. It's our choice! It's your choice whether you decide to draw near to Christ and make Him a cherished friend or you stay away from Him and make Him someone you just exchange pleasantries with.
There's nothing that develops a close relationship with God like prayer. The more time you spend talking with a person, the closer you get to the person. The more time we spend with God in prayer, the closer we are to Him. It is in the place of prayer that we bond with Christ. In the place of prayer we can discuss with God, share our ideas with Him, get to know what He thinks, discover what He wants us to do, and develop a better relationship with Him.
Adding fasting to our prayers, takes our prayers or our communication with God to another level. It puts down all those worldly and fleshly desires that usually keep us from spending time with God. Fasting does things that prayer on its own can't accomplish. Fasting takes our relationship with God to a higher and deeper level. Jesus is our perfect example of someone who developed intimacy with God through prayer and fasting. Jesus didn't just pray, He prayed and He fasted. Divine secrets and revelations about His life, people, and the kingdom of God were revealed to Him in the place of prayer and fasting. God has many secrets to share with us but He won't share His secrets with those who are His casual acquaintances. Fasting makes us more open to hear from God as He speaks, fasting brings about divine revelation. It was in the place of prayer and fasting that Paul discovered what God wanted Him to do (Acts 13:2). Problems that were too tough for people, Jesus received the solution to because He was a man of prayer and fasting. There are some problems in our lives, family, church and nation that prayer on its own can't solve, we need to add fasting to our prayers (Matthew 17:21). This year don't just pray alone, add times of fasting to your prayers to draw deeper and closer to God and to experience overflowing peace, joy, victories and testimonies.
God is calling out to you this year to get intimate with Him. To move from the periphery of Christianity and get deeper in love with Him. He wants you to bond with Him and not just make Him someone you remember when there's a problem or need in your life.
As you decide to walk intimately with God this year; as you decide to devote quality time to prayer, valleys in your life will be filled, mountains brought down, crooked places made straight, long-standing problems solved, and you will experience God's favour, glory and power in ways you have never done before. Most importantly, there will be a major transition in your walk with God. God will not just call you His child, but His friend.
Tesh Njokanma is a lawyer by training whose heart is in writing. She is a prolific writer with over 15 years experience as a magazine Editor. She is a pastor in the Redeemed Christian Church of God with a prayer and teaching ministry. Tesh is married with children. She is based in Lagos, Nigeria.
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