God is often envisioned as a distant, unapproachable, fearsome entity – a punisher ensconced on a thunderhead, angrily smiting humans for even the smallest transgressions. He is actually everywhere – outside you, around you, within you – waiting expectantly and with great love, for you to invite Him into your life. According to Jeremiah 1:5, He's known you prior to your birth – "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart" – and He wants you to get closer to Him by inviting Him into your life.
Every relationship takes time to grow and build, and your relationship with God is no different. Open and honest communication, through prayer, is a gateway to inviting Him into your life. And you don't need to be intimidated by prayer – it's merely you talking to God. Whether you say prayers out loud, or say them in your mind, God hears them. It's simply a conversation, with no passages to recite or fancy words. Just pretend you're talking to a close friend, even if you use the most contemporary jargon. All God wants is that you pray from a sincere heart. The Bible says in James 4:8, "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you." When you pray, you're getting to know God.
But what can you talk to God about? The answer is anything. Tell Him what you're thinking and feeling. Envision Him as a caring father figure and yourself as a dependent child who takes comfort in Him. You can talk to Him about hopes, fears, doubts, happiness, disappointments – even about your favorite football team. You can give thanks, make requests, apologize. God isn't scared by your scariest question. Nothing is off limits. Keep steadfastly praying, keep seeking Him, and His presence will grow stronger and stronger in your life. As the Bible says, "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." (Matthew 7:7)
The more you lean on God during trials, the more you are welcoming Him into your life. If you're gripped by fear or worry, prayer is the best antidote (Philippians 4:6-7). Don't ever think your difficulties are too insignificant for God to handle – He wants us to pray about everything. And then let go of your troubles and place them in God's hands. It's very difficult to give up control, let go, and trust – but if you do, you'll draw God closer to you, and He'll bless you with peace of mind.
Regularly reading the Bible invites God to come powerfully into your life. It doesn't matter which version you're reading – what matters is that you're putting time and thought into reading His Word. God wants to build more of a personal relationship with you, and He's given you this special book as a means to connect with Him. If someone gave you a book containing stories about many things they've done, poems about themselves, and their feelings about certain things, you'd feel like you know them pretty well. Likewise, you can invite God into your life and get a better understanding of Him when you read the Bible.
When you live by faith, not feelings, you're asking God's presence to permeate and take over your life. As human beings, we crave control; we want to make our own plans and decisions. When you turn anything over to God's will, you need to vanquish control and absolutely trust God, and His judgment and timing. It's hard to have patience and resist doing what you want, when you want, the way that you want, instead of waiting for God. But by putting God first, you're making a strong stand that you want Him in your life.
You do this by praying and asking that God's will overrides yours, and that you seek God's will before making decisions – instead of afterward – and see what the Bible says about a particular decision. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will direct your paths" (Proverbs 3:5-6). When you hand God the controls, you're inviting Him into your life with the understanding that He'll be a vital part of every decision you make and every action you take.
But don't monopolize the conversation. All good relationships are built on solid communication, and that involves actively listening, as well as speaking. When you're expectantly listening for God's voice, you're drawing Him to you in a very subtle yet powerful way. Yet God will not always speak dramatically. And if you're constantly under the barrage of distractions like the radio, TV, telephone and other noisy clutter, you could be drowning out God's quiet voice, and not allowing His messages to grow and thrive within you.
So how do you hear God's voice and draw Him nearer? Through an open heart, an open mind and an open Bible. It may not literally be an audible voice, but one that communicates through habitual prayer, reading the Bible, and meditating upon God's Word. Answers and inspiration will bubble up; you may even receive replies via words on a billboard or a license plate. God can work many wonders through someone whose mind is like fertile soil – "Anyone who is willing to hear should listen and understand." (Mark 4:9)
When you invite God into your life, you also invite Him into your heart, mind and soul. You're inviting a friend, a father, a protector and a confidante. And you're also inviting possibly the best thing – boundless unconditional love.
I've always loved rock music -- its power, its passion, its energy. I love spirituality, and its practical applications, for the same reasons -- its profound energy, its tremendous power, its soul-stirring passion. Rock music can quietly move you with its soft ballads, or catapult you to the heights of euphoria with thunderous melodies. Spirituality possesses these same qualities, and all the nuances in between. I contribute to many metaphysical and self-realization websites, and I edited a renowned book by a distinguished transcendent teacher. I'm grateful that I can use my writing talent to convey messages of spirituality, as well as self-improvement and personal development. Spirituality, with its strong, soundless resonation, is the music that courses through my body, mind and soul.