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Becoming Friends with God

What does it take to make friends? According to Dr. Jeffrey Hall, communications professor at the University of Kansas, the answer is time. He recently published research about the relationship between time spent with a person and their level of friendship. In general, Hall found that it took about 50 hours to form a casual friendship. Moving from casual friend to a regular "friend" required roughly 90 hours, and moving from friend to good/best friend took at least 200 hours. Time spent together was a key predictor of friendship closeness. The same is required to become a friend of God.

Conversations with close friends are timeless. Time seems to stop and stand still when we're having a great talk with a close friend. Prayer can be like that, but it takes time. Sunday I ran out of time to share some more practical ways to keep watch and pray. I want to share a few of those here to help you become a friend of God as you spend more time with him in prayer. If you don't master this right away go easy on yourself. If you fall asleep when you pray you're in pretty good company (reference the disciples in Gethsemane).

That said, you can keep your prayer life/conversation with God fresh by...

  1. Being honest. God knows the truth about you so don't be afraid to tell him everything. Good friends are honest and need to stay in touch. If you aren't currently in the habit of praying it may take some time to get caught up, but once you are staying caught up requires less time.
  2. Don't talk just about yourself. Pray for the needs of those around you. We send out a weekly email of prayer needs that you can mention in your prayers. You might even try keeping your own list, or a different list for each day (i.e. family on Friday, church on Saturday, co-workers on Monday).
  3. Talk about the things important to him. When Jesus modeled prayer in "The Lord's Prayer" (or "Our Father") started by praying, "Your kingdom come, your will be done." This simple prayer of surrender lets God know that we are yielded to his plan and reminds us of the same. Additionally, when we pray this prayer it invests us in God's Kingdom, which means every time we see it grow our prayers had a part in it.
  4. Learn from others. Praying through the Psalms is a time honored practice. Here we have a masterclass on prayer and friendship with God. You can easily introduce this into your life by reading one and then praying in response to your reading. Read one in the morning and another at night to bookend your day in prayer.
Finally, keep at it! You won't master prayer in a day, week, month, or even a lifetime, but that's the fun part. Just like in a friendship you never "master being a friend" there are always opportunities to grow closer, occasions to ask for forgiveness, moments where you enjoy simply being together in silence, and seasons when you wonder if your friendship is going to last. Each of these situations provides us an opportunity to lean into Christ's eternal love and grow as a friend of God.