God wants to have a relationship with us. He loves us and wants our love in return. How does a relationship with God begin? What is the starting point? Although God wants a relationship with us, there is something that stands in the way. God is holy. Holy means that he never does anything wrong. We are not holy. We constantly do things that we shouldn’t do. The Bible calls these wrong things “sin.”We have all told lies at some point or maybe we have taken something that didn’t belong to us. None of us are perfect. Sin is a barrier between us and God. We can not be in his presence when we are in sin. The only way we can be close to God is to be without sin, but it is not possible to live a sinless life. So how can we get close to God? In order to solve this problem, God made a way for all of the wrong things that we have done to be forgiven. The solution was a costly one for him, but he really wants to be a part of our lives.
God gave his most precious gift so that we could be forgiven. He sent his son to live on earth and experience all the hardships that people endure daily. However, unlike people, his son, Jesus, never sinned. (Because Jesus is God’s son, he has the same power as God.) Jesus lived on earth and cared for people who were hurting. He healed people who were sick and fed people who were hungry. Instead of just looking down from above, Jesus came to earth to live among us. Because He had compassion for the weak and sick, for those in pain and those in need, he developed a large following. Religious leaders were jealous of his growing popularity. They were blind to the love he showed everyone. They had Jesus killed on a cross, a wooden beam that people were nailed to for execution. Although Jesus could have used his power as God’s Son to avoid being killed, he chose to die. Why would he choose to die? He chose death so that he could pay for all the things that we have done wrong. He died to take our sins away and allow a way for us to have a relationship with God. For God, choosing to have a relationship was a very serious decision. It cost Him the death of his only son. Jesus died on a cross, but that was not the end. After three days in a tomb God raised him from the dead, giving him victory over sin.
God wants to talk with us and the starting point with our relationship with God is very similar to the beginning of a marriage. A marriage begins with wedding vows that are spoken by two people who love each other. God has already proclaimed His love for us by sending his son to die on the cross to take the penalty for all the things we have done wrong. He wants to be our heavenly father, but how does that process actually begin? Just like people say their wedding vows to begin the marriage relationship, people also begin their relationship with God through the words that they speak. These words are often referred to as a prayer to God.
In the prayer, a person acknowledges a desire to have a permanent relationship with God. Just as a husband and wife agree to live together, spend time together, and be devoted to one another, people can also make a commitment to love God and follow him.
Part of following God involves reading the Bible and talking to him through prayer. When we read the Bible, we learn about the rules that God has for our lives. The most important rule is to love God with all your heart, soul, and mind and to love other people just as you love yourself (Luke 10:27). The Bible gives us instructions on how to relate to God and to other people. When we decide to begin a relationship with God, we are agreeing to follow the teachings and rules he has written in the Bible.
If you are ready to begin this relationship with God, you may say the following prayer:
Dear God, I know that Jesus died to pay for all the wrong things that I have ever done. He made the payment for my sins. I am asking you to forgive me for all the sins I have committed. I want to have a relationship with you. I am agreeing to live my life according to the instruction you have written for me in the Bible. I want you to become my heavenly father. Amen.
Bible verses that discuss how to have a personal relationship with God:
John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Romans 3:23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
(This verse tells us that everyone has done something wrong.)
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in[a] Christ Jesus our Lord.
(As a result of our sins, we will all die one die. Those of us who have decided to have a relationship with God will one day live in heaven with Jesus Christ and God our father.)
Ephesians 2:8-9 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.
(We can’t work hard enough to buy our way into heaven. Jesus paid the penalty for our sins when he died on the cross.)
Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 10:9-10 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.
(This verse tells us that we have to believe the prayer that we speak. We can’t just repeat meaningless words and expect to begin a relationsip with God. We have to believe that Jesus is God’s son and that he died to pay the penalty for our sins.)
Romans 10:13 For, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
(God loves us all. He wants to have a relationship with you. God will accept the prayer of salvation from anyone and begin a relationship with that person.)
If you have questions about how to begin a relationship with God, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you decide to begin a relationship with God, we would love to hear from you.
How do you develop a close relationship with God?
1. Find a church where the Bible is taught. The focus at the church should be on studying the Bible and helping people to understand what it says.
2. Read the Bible every day. If you don’t own a Bible, you can go to www.BibleGateway.com and read the Bible online. The book of Mark is a good place to start. It’s short, fast-paced, and talks about the life and death of Jesus. The book of Genesis gives the background information for the rest of the Bible.
3. Pray, or talk to God, every day. You can talk out loud or you can pray silently in your head. Look at the examples in the Bible of how other people have prayed. Jesus spoke to his disciples giving them instructions about how to pray in the book of Matthew verses 5-14.
5 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
9“This, then, is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,[a]
but deliver us from the evil one.[b]’
14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
Visit www.biblegateway.com and look up more verses. The more you read the faster your relationship with God will grow.