How To Connect With God When you Don’t Have Much Time

As Christians one of our heart’s desire is to connect with God. But how do we do it when we don’t have a lot of time? Read below simple ways to connect with God.

Connect with God

When I was in college I had a friend who was regularly struggling with this one thing. I asked him one day how he was doing with this particular struggle. He said, “You won’t believe it, I sat down with a friend and he called me out on it. He told me it doesn’t have to be this way. Up to this point, no one had done that for me. Everyone just sympathized and listened.”

So today I want to be that friend who tells you, “It doesn’t have to be this way! You don’t have to go day to day feeling depleted and defeated.”

How long have you been telling yourself this is the year you’re going to draw closer to God, connect with Him through prayer and read His word? Decide this is the day it’s going to change.

You don’t have to eat crumbs from the floor when God is inviting you to the feast at His table. He’s saved a seat for you.

You’re invited to partake in the goodness of God. No seminary degrees or perfection is required. The divine Author and Creator has given us the Holy Spirit to help us connect with Him and understand His scriptures.

I get that doing something new may feel awkward or uncomfortable and you may stumble through it at first but keep practicing. Because here’s the thing the more you do practice doing it the more it becomes a habit. Then it becomes something you do without thinking and your soul longs for it. Your day is not the same without it!

Below I share with you some ideas that I have used in my own life and recently I found an article by Crystal Paine and she talks about how to make yourself write every day. I’m a sucker for acronyms and alliterations so I’m using her “P” points she shared because they connect perfectly with my thoughts on connecting with God.

How To Connect With God When you Don’t Have Much Time

First, decide you’re going to make Him a Priority. Just thinking it’s a good idea will get you nowhere. You have to decide and declare– Connecting with God is a priority for me!

Notice I used the word “connect”. Reading the Bible, praying, worshipping Him… are all ways we get to know our Heavenly Father, they are not tasks to check off. Abiding means to “stay” connected in constant connection with Him. If you think of each one of these P’s as ways to abide in Him instead of “ways to read the Bible or pray” you’ll be off to a good start.

Ask yourself the hard questions– Why is this so hard for me? Why am I choosing to eat crumbs from the floor when He’s invited to me to the feast at the table? Invite God into this conversation. Ask Him to search your heart. What is coming between me and God? If it’s sin, confess it and remove it.

And then you Plan for it. When are you going to connect with God? In the morning before everyone gets up, after everyone leaves for school, in the car on the way to work, during my lunch break… Block that time out as an appointment you’re making with someone important and can’t miss. However, you choose to connect with God make sure you’re getting some time in His Word, not just other people’s good word.

Now it’s time to Practice being in His presence! There will always be 100 other things wanting your time and attention but stick to it and keep doing it. The more you do it, the more it becomes a habit. Before you know it, it’s become something you do without thinking. It becomes something you long for.

The Raw Truth

Here’s my confession I was a seminary graduate, Bible teacher, missionary and I struggled to connect with God. I struggled with making the time to get into His word as a good missionary, Bible teacher and Christian mom should be doing because I was busy saving the world.

I do need to clarify I loved God, I spent time praying to Him and discipling my children but I only did what was needed. I lived on what I call “faith-snacks”. I was nurturing my spiritual appetite with bits and pieces of God’s word just enough so I wouldn’t be starving.

My relationship was more like a laser tag game. In a laser tag game, you have a weapon and you run around like crazy until your weapon says it needs energy. So you power-up at the base and then you go back out. But God wants more for us than a “power-up and go” relationship.

In the busyness, the first thing that was gone was my time with God and I was always busy. I worked part-time as a counselor at the school, I led bible-studies, held workshops, parented a preschooler and a toddler and I volunteered in the local hospital with a group of students.

In the day-to-day, I tried to muster up the energy I needed to make it through but that’s not how He wants us to live. It’s not supposed to be that way. I wish I wasn’t so good at faking it because it would’ve been nice for a friend to call me out on it and tell me, “It doesn’t have to be this way.”

Nevertheless, my loving Heavenly Father used other means to help me see my demise. One day I opened my Bible and I just started reading one chapter after another. I couldn’t stop reading it was everything I needed to hear. I needed guidance, l needed to be reprimanded and I needed truth. My heart and soul was full!

I remembered thinking, “How in the world did I forget!”

I had forgotten what it felt like to feast at His table because I had gotten so used to snacking on His word.

In John 15:4-5 Jesus talks about Abiding! He says, “Apart from me you can do nothing.” Doing life in our own strength is exhausting and it leaves us feeling overwhelmed. So I’m going to warn you as you continue reading below you’ll be tempted to take these ideas to heart and do it in your own strength. Can I ask you to consider inviting Him into the process? Apart from Him, we labor in vain!

25 Ways to Connect with God

Start with 10 minutes a day if you’re new to connecting with God or are short on time. Also, take some time to read from God’s word not just other people have to say because God has given us the Bible as a primary way to reveal himself to us.

Lastly, notice that some of these things I listed are quick bite-size connections that are more like “spiritual snacks” but we also need to feed our soul with life-giving meals that are the main course. Enjoying keeping your eyes on Him and taking your eyes off the noise and stress that fills our days.

  1. Sit in His presence with a verse or Bible passage. Read it and talk to Him about it. Ephesians 1-3 are great passages to break into tidbits and meditate on and talk to God about.
  2. Ask God to show you how to allow Him into those areas of your life that you haven’t released to Him. Yea, you may trust Him with your house, your job, your car but what about your child, your marriage, your… Read Psalm 28, Psalm 56
  3. Silence your phone, turn off your screen, and read His word. Try reading a Psalm or Proverb a day. So today on the 23rd you’d read Proverbs 23 and tomorrow read Proverbs 24. There are actually 31 Proverbs so you could read all of them in a month. There are 150 Psalms so you can read one a day for several months.
  4. Talk to God and pray one of the verses that stood out to you and praise Him for his character or something else that stood out to you.
  5. Write out Scripture. If you’re reading a Psalm or Proverb a day. Write out a verse that stood out to you and meditate on it. Ask God to open your eyes to see Him through his word.
  6. Listen to the Bible while driving, washing dishes, exercising or other tasks. I use the Bible App. or I’m sure you can also purchase it on a CD.
  7. The Bible App also has short bite-size devotionals so you can choose one that interests you. You can even do this with someone else. I’ve done one with friends and with my husband but honestly, those have been harder because if they slack off then I’m no longer motivated so it’s easier for me to start on my own unless I have a committed partner.
  8. When I’m short on time what I like to do is listen to praise music and then meditate on the words. Then I ask myself, “What is this teaching about God’s character? About who He is?” Sometimes while I’m meditating on it a verse from the Bible will pop into my head so then I go looking for it.
  9. While washing dishes I pray. I have a little window at my sink so I tape a verse to it and read it over and over again. Sometimes I pray it back to God for others.
  10. I have a friend who shared that when she folds laundry she prays for each child as she folds their clothes. You can do this with any household chore you have planned for that day.
  11. Find a devotional that gets you reading His word. Devotionals are usually short one or two verses.
  12. Find a bible reading plan. I’ve seen tons online that have something for each month.
  13. Join a Bible study that is Bible-centered or do a Bible study book at home.
  14. Play worship music that connects you to God and then praise Him.
  15. Go outside in nature and while you sit or walk talk to God about what you see. Invite Him into this time and ask Him to speak to you through His word. Notice how nature needs each other to function. The bee needs the flower, we need the honey and pollination… How do you need to depend on God more? Who are you thankful for that has helped you flourish?
  16. Sit in His presence and think through your day or week and think about the God moments where you saw Him working in your life, others, the world around you.
  17. Journal. I have done this off and on since I was a child. Write letters to God in this journal. You can also start a prayer journal where you write your prayers and keep up with how God is moving in them.
  18. I LOVE using the acronym P. R.A.Y. to guide me in connecting with Him. I call it my Sticky Prayer because it has helped prayer stick–I write more about it here—>
  19. Serve others. One of the beautiful things, when we serve, is knowing the Holy Spirit is working in and through us.
  20. Every time you stop at a red light pray to God for someone in your family, yourself, community or the world around you.
  21. Scripture doodling. Read a passage. Then read it again and ask God to help you draw closer to Him. If there’s a word that stands out then write it down. Read the verse again and then write it out. As you write it out doodle anything that comes to your mind.
  22. Go through a list of the Names and attributes of God. Read about that name, pray it and praise Him for his goodness.
  23. Pray the Lord’s Prayer found in Matthew 6:9-13
  24. Color a verse either one you printed out or a verse you’re going to write and color yourself. As you color meditate on the verse and pray it.
  25. Go outside and listen to all the sounds you hear and be amazed and how different our world would be without them. Thank God for all the little things we take for granted in life.
  26. Find object lessons throughout your day that point you back to God. Your printer wouldn’t print because it wasn’t picking up the signal you sent. What’s an object lesson you can learn from that experience. Sometimes I’m like a printer. God is sending me a signal and I just don’t get it because there’s a barrier blocking that connection. Notice I didn’t say read into everything that happens to you as a sign from God but this is more of seeing what you can learn from life.
  27. Do an inductive study. Listen to a bible-based sermon.

Let’s pray the words of David for ourselves, “As the deer longs for streams of water,
    so I long for you, O God. I thirst for God, the living God.”

Remember this is a relationship you’re cultivating not a checklist you’re trying to complete. Use a variety of these to deepen your relationship with your Savior, King and loving Abba.

My heart is overwhelmed with gratitude because God pursued me. He has taken me from a season of exhaustion from doing, trying to earn my keep and my love, into a season of returning to my true love and resting in Him.

This verse in Isaiah is powerful “Only in returning to me and resting in me you will be saved.”

 

Valentine’s Day “Heart Attack” Family Activity

Valentine’s Day family activity is simple and a meaningful way to remind our children what this holiday is really about!

Ever since I first dated my husband I would “Heart Attack” him on Valentine’s Day. I pretty much did this until a few years ago.  I absolutely loved plotting my mission to fill his office, car or desk full of cheese Valentine’s Day decor and stuff.

That was fun to do for my sweetheart but I also want my kids to know Valentine’s day is so much more than a romantic holiday. It’s about serving, smiling, calling and noticing the tired cashier at the grocery store. It’s about pausing in the busyness of your day to see the beauty that you’ve been given. It’s receiving God’s love and letting it overflow to others.

As a mom, I have the joy of planting these seeds of love in the hearts of my little ones. I want them to know love and service starts at home by giving it to each other. My prayer is that God would grow those seeds of love for one another.

Valentine’s Day “Heart Attack” Family Activity

For several years now we have “Heart Attacked” each other as a Valentine’s day family activity! Each year it looks different depending on the age and stage of life they are in but the basics usually stay the same: share words of affirmation with each other, give each other an act of service and remember God’s love for us.

How to “Heart Attack”

This is the basic idea:

  • We give each other a note of appreciation (our 3yr old used to scribble his love).
  • We ponder God’s love for us by reading verses or sharing stories of His love.
  • Everyone in the family receives an “Act of Love Coupon” (a gift of service or time) they can redeem later.

You can do it all on the day of V-day or throughout the week.

Valentines day family activity

Valentine’s Day Week Details

Write about 3 notes for each child telling them what you love or appreciate about them. Then place them on their bedroom doors or bathroom mirrors the week of Valentine’s day. One year we inflated balloons and added the notes to the end of the balloons.

Love is contagious! So for the next few days leading to Valentine’s Day the whole family is involved in writing notes of appreciation. Choose a member of the family to heart attack, each day it’s someone different. Then everyone in the family takes a few minutes at a meal to write notes of love and appreciate to the chosen person.
You can keep this as simple as you want by writing a sticky note instead of a heart. Do whatever works best for your family!

As my kids have gotten older they have added suspense to it so they hide the notes in the chosen persons room or work area. I have found notes on the car dashboard, on my window by my bed so when I opened it I was delightfully surprised. Then they collect them and tape them to their door.

Our boys really like this activity! They like it so much they have collected their hearts from previous years and keep them on their door.

Print out the above FREE Heart Attack printable HERE. Then cut out lots of hearts.

Print out the love coupons HERE.

Print out the Hearts about God’s love HERE or these HERE.

Or you can do this all on Valentine’s day instead of the week leading to Valentine’s day.

What to Write on the Heart

If you’re stuck on what to say here are a few prompts. Each person will write out a note for the family member on the back of the hearts. It can say,
I love you!
You’re _______. (strong, kind, determined, creative, huggable…)
You make me laugh when…
When I see you ________ it makes me happy.
You’re really good at _____________.
God made you ______________.
It makes me so proud to be your mom/sister/brother when you __________________.

The three things I want my children to remember about Valentine’s Day is:

  • Love is verb. It’s is both spoken and shown.  It’s not just a feeling but it’s also an action.
  • We love because God first loved us!
  • Everything you do, do in love.

A Fun Family Tradition: Reflection Day with Questions for the Dinner Table

In this fast paced culture we live in we have forgotten the art of reflection but not all is lost. I have created this family reflection questions to help you and your kids think through the many blessings, challenges and fun times you’ve had in the past year.

At a young age, I was a pensive, quiet and observant child always thinking deeply about something. I remember clearly, coming home from church in our van and listening to a tragic story on the Christian radio station and thinking, “Oh my gosh, Christians aren’t spared from pain. I will also experience hard stuff in my life.” I was probably 9 years old at the time, wrestling with the reality of pain and suffering. Thankfully not all my pondering and reflecting involved such hard topics, usually it’s a refreshing experience.

But there was a point in my life between kids and responsibilities that I lost the art of reflecting and desperately missed it. God helped me see reflecting can be done from anywhere and at anytime and now I try to teach my kids to do the same. Though I must say that reflection doesn’t always come natural to young boys. But I plug along teaching and guiding them in hopes that something will stick.

It’s quite simple but very meaningful so much so that it’s one of the things I look forward to at the end of each season mostly because it helps me see the world through their eyes.

Reflection Day

So much happens in the span of a week, let alone a year so it’s important to remember what God has done in that time, how you’ve grown and what you’ve learned. All of the memories from the past year are not lost, when we take a few minutes to reflect on the heartfelt moments. The ones that made us laugh so hard we almost wet our pants and the ones that brought us to our knees.

So in our family we have “Reflection Day” that happens after the New Year and then a few times after using different questions usually around June (the end of a school year) and August (the end of summer). But we also do it sporadically throughout the year after we’ve served/volunteered together, a fun time, challenging time or a trip.

A Fun Family Tradition: Reflection Day with Questions for the Dinner Table

These questions will help you and your family reflect on this past year: what God has done in the past year, what you’ve learned, what you enjoyed most, what you lost and how you’ve grown.

My favorite part about these reflections is hearing what’s going on in the little hearts of my children. Sometimes it’s silly stuff, other times it’s life-changing. It also gives you an open window into their hearts to see if there’s anything you need to circle back around to and help them process. Or maybe you’ll discover you need to process something a bit more.

related: New Year’s Time Capsule 
Family Activity: New Year’s Goals Printable

Our “Reflection Day” has looked different in each stage of life. When my kids were younger our questions were shorter but we did include deep questions like some of the ones below. You’ll be amazed at their responses.

So many ways to enjoy these questions!

  1. Pick a night when you have time to share over dinner. Print out the printable and pick a fun meal or dessert. You won’t have time to answer all the questions so choose 10 ahead of time. Answer them while enjoying your meal or dessert that way it doesn’t feel as long.
  2. If you don’t have a lot of time, you can download the printable and cut out each question into strips and put them in a jar to answer at meal time throughout the first couple of weeks in January.
  3. You can also choose a few questions and journal through them. Make a Reflections Journal and each year add your responses.

Download printable HERE–>: 30 Family Reflect day questions

 

30 Family Reflection Questions for the Dinner Table

  1. In what way did you grow physically this year?
  2. In what way did you grow spiritually or emotionally this year?
  3. Name 3 things you learned this past year.
  4. What were two adventures you enjoyed this past year?
  5. What do you want to do less of as a family this coming year?
  6. What is a movie you really enjoyed this past year?
  7. What do you want to do more of as a family this coming year?
  8. What advice would you give your parents?
  9. What is the title of a book you really enjoyed this year?
  10. What are 2 things you enjoyed doing with your family this past year?
  11. Did you make time to regularly connect with God this past year?
  12. How do you want to continue connecting with God or change it this coming year?
  13. What did you accomplish this past year that you’re proud of?
  14. Share how God showed up in your life this past year.
  15. What is something you did this past year to help someone?
  16. What was the biggest time waster in your life this past year?
  17. What was something challenging  you experienced this past year?
  18. Name 3 specific things you were grateful for this past year.
  19. What does your family need to do more of this coming year?
  20. If you could go back and change something that happened last year what would it be?
  21. What’s something you did really well last year?
  22. What are 2 things you want to try this coming year?
  23. What’s one hard lesson you learned?
  24. In three words describe this past year.
  25. Who were your most valuable relationships with this past year?
  26. Share one or two of your favorite memories with your family this past year.
  27. What’s one thing that happened this past year that you think you’ll remember for the rest of your life?
  28. Describe your family in three words.
  29. What character struggle did you have this past year that you want to change this coming year?
  30. What’s a new skill or talent you learned this past year?

 

Praying Through the Names of Jesus this Christmas

This past Sunday marked the beginning of Advent. You may have found that the word “advent” has become quite trendy as more and more “advent” calendars pop up all over the place used to countdown the days til Christmas. It’s derived from the  latin word “adventus” which means “coming”–someone wonderful is coming!

Many of us know all too well what it’s like for December to blur by—what it’s like to arrive on the doorstep of Christmas as another exhausted casualty of our consumeristic age.Reacting. Organizing. Shopping. Planning. Wrapping. Budgeting. Stressing. Eating. Stress-eating.So I am writing to those who, like me, need to slow down and embrace the oft-missed words of the famous carol, “Let every heart prepare him room.”
~Adam Ramsey

So what I am proposing is for us to take a minimum of 10 minutes each morning for the next 12 days to rekindle and awaken our love for who Christ is and what He’s done for us.

If you’re like me I’ve grown up in a Christian home and I can tell you the various Bible stories with my eyes closed. Sometimes that familiarity makes us lose the wonder of His wondrous work.

So we will do this by leaning into His word and discovering once again who He is. We will learn more about that particular name or attribute. Then we will spend some time praying it as we write the scripture out in our journal.

Most of us realize we need to slow down and make Christ the focus of this season but knowing where to begin can be difficult so I’ve created this Praying Through the Names of Jesus this Christmas Season challenge.

But lest we think doing our devotional or regularly praying gives us brownie points with God I want to clarify that as a child of God you stand before Him redeemed, justified and righteous. You’re standing has been secured at the Cross, so rest my dear sister in Christ, rest in His finished work on the Cross!

We do this because being in His word and prayer gives us the strength for all that today and tomorrow holds.  We worship Him as we dive deeper into His character and gain a greater sense of awe and wonder at who He is.

Praying Through the Names of Jesus

For families, I’ve created an Advent activity that coincides with these 12 Names of Jesus so you can enjoy going through each name as a family together–12 Names of Jesus Advent Ornaments Family Activity.

I know for us Christmas was the perfect time to set apart our holidays for Christ instead of just going with the flow of what everyone else was doing or what was expected of us.

December will be busy. But it doesn’t have to be a blur. Let’s begin preparing room in our hearts this Advent for Immanuel—God with us.” ~A. Ramsey

There are no registrations or sign ups. All you need is a Bible and a journal.  Join me every morning for the next 12 days beginning December 3rd at my Facebook Page and we can discuss, learn from each other.

You can download the FREE Names of Jesus Prayer Plan ——-> Praying Through the Name of Jesus Plan (1)

Using the Sticky Prayer format to help you Pray Through the Names of Jesus

A few months ago I shared with you all one of the ways that I have been able to make my prayer time stick. You can read about my prayer notebook HERE.

So today I’m going to show you how to take that same format of P. R. A. Y and apply it to any scripture you’re meditating on and specifically as we pray through the names of Jesus.

  • Praise
  • Repentance
  • Ask
  • Yield/Rest

You can use this sheet if it’s helpful but I prefer to write it out in my journal. You can download it here—> Names Of Jesus Prayer Sheet

We’ll go through the first name of Jesus that we will be discussing.

Name of Jesus: Truth
Scripture: John 1:14

Praise: Here in this section you want to praise God for how He reveals the character or attributes of Jesus through this name and/or verse.
Heavenly Father, I marvel at the inexplicable words before me, “Your Word became flesh”. You came near among us as a baby robed in grace and truth. Thank you for being the truth. Your word is truth. In a time when life is filled with so many lies I thank you that I can stand on the solid rock of your truth. Moses gave us the law but you came in Grace and truth!

Repent: In this section you want to spend some time asking God to search your heart in light of this verse. Lord, I acknowledge that I don’t always walk in your Truth. Forgive me for believing the lies of the enemy, of others and of my heart. Teach me to walk in Truth.

Ask: In this section you want to spend some time interceding for others. Asking God for what may be burdening your heart.  Heavenly Father, As I think about your truth I humbly come before you and ask that you would help my children walk in your truth. May it be an anchor for their soul firm and secure.

Yield: In this section you want to pause, listen and surrender. Ask God to speak to you what is true from this passage that which He may want to use in your life for today. You sit quietly and listen to Him. If this is hard one thing that you can do is repeat the name of Jesus for that day. Jesus you are truth. Jesus you are truth…

I love this Sticky Prayer Format because it helps guide me when my mind is all over the place.

Enjoy spending time at His feet!

Do You Have “Rescuer” Friends? Learning to Release Them

One day I was pondering the many friendships that have come and gone from my life.

Some friendships fizzled out because we grew apart, life circumstances, distance and unfortunately some because of conflict. But there was one group I couldn’t quite pinpoint what had happened. As I thought through each situation I came to realize these are my “rescuer” friends.

I have endearingly named the “rescuers” my friends whose heart’s desire is to bless others. They are the beautiful people God puts in your path for such a time as this. They are the helpers who jump in to greet you when you first arrive to a gathering and you don’t know anyone. The ones who stay and listen. The ones who offer to take you around town when you just moved in. They are the ones who will always make time for you, if you’re struggling. They are everyones friend. They are loved.

They are here and gone.

You see I’ve struggled with my “rescuer” friends because they don’t stick around and I’m usually not ready to let them go. Not because I want more help but because I want to grow that friendship. I want to continue that camaraderie that was offered and perhaps have an opportunity to be that for them.
But just like the fireman doesn’t hang around after they’ve put out the fire, they can’t either. Imagine if they stuck around they’d miss opportunities to bless others.

I’m not a sentimentalist but I’m a loyalist at heart almost to a fault. Just the other day I took very sad looking Mum plant and began putting it in the ground because maybe if I planted it would grow come Spring. I know the struggle is real because I’ve also had my share of being a “rescuer” where God has called me to intervene and help for such a time as this.

I release you my rescuer friends. But not in a ticked off sort of way or in a bitter “Find then.” way but in a “I’m thankful for you and you hold a special place in my heart.” way.

Go and be God’s hands and feet. Go and bless others. Use your gifts of hospitality and service to “rescue”, welcome, help and love on others our world desperately needs you.  I now know you can’t do this well if you stay and grow every relationship that crosses your path. God be with you, my “rescuer” friend.

May God richly bless you with a community of your own.