When I meet with the Confirmation students in my parish one on one, I always ask them to describe their relationship with God. Some answer the question rather quickly without any assistance, while for others I sometimes guide their answer by qualifying, “Does your relationship seem really close or distant?” Some do answer distant, and some do answer that it is really close, but for the majority of them they say it’s somewhere in between.
As you might imagine, my next question is, “How could you improve your relationship with God?” Inevitably, they mention that they could pray more. Let’s face it, if we want to know God more but we do not spend time talking to God, we can never grow in our relationship. It’d be like wanting to have a friend but never making the first move toward conversation.
I suggest four ways they can improve their relationship with God, and really, they are hints for all people.
- Pray Daily
Prayer is one of the most important things we do. For me, I know when I pray in the morning it puts the day at ease. If I neglect praying right away in the morning, it seems that I am always trying to catch up! For the students, I always recommend praying in the evening, right before bed. I give them a simple habit of prayer to do: thank God for one thing that happened today; think of an unkind word or action and ask God for forgiveness; pray for someone in need; ask God’s blessings on tomorrow; and then pray the Our Father. It’s a simple two-minute prayer, but if we begin to acquire the habit, then those two minutes will become elongated over time.
- Read the Scriptures
One way we can come to know God is by spending time with His Word. I encourage them to read the Gospels or pick one of the Psalms, since they are prayers in themselves.
- Go to Mass
Sunday Eucharist is very important in our spiritual life because this is the moment in which God feeds us and sustains us. If we neglect the Eucharist, we are not being nourished. It’s at Mass where we come together and worship God through song and prayer.
- Go to Confession
Sometimes we might want to grow in our relationship with God, but there are obstacles (sins) that are preventing us from doing so. I like to think of a blocked artery that restricts blood flow. That’s what sin does to our relationship. Going to Confession removes the blockage and allows us to get closer to the Lord.
In my own experience I have determined everyone wants to know God better. A relationship with God on our end means making ourselves available to God. It begins with prayer and giving Him time to speak to our heart. No matter where your relationship with God is at this moment, you can start anew or keep going at it. God wants you to know Him more, and the deepest desire of your own heart is to seek to know God more.