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Take time away to be alone with God when you sense the need. A one-day or weekend retreat devoted to seeking God more earnestly about specific concerns can be a source of great blessing—or a prayer retreat with one or two friends.
Fast periodically. Jesus said His followers would fast (Matt. 6:16–18; 9:14–15). Fasting and prayer is a way of intensifying our seeking after God and His help, especially in times of personal or national crisis, struggle against sin, spiritual dryness, spiritual warfare, empowerment for ministry, revival of the church, and the advance of God’s kingdom. Those who have been closest to God and most fruitful over the centuries have practiced fasting often.
Talk with your pastor or an elder when you need guidance in your spiritual life. An older, spiritually mature man or woman in the congregation, recommended by the pastor or elders, may also be able to help. This assumes that such a person is well grounded in Scripture, is humble, manifests the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22–23), and is wise, godly, and prayerful.
Read classic books on the Christian life. (See endnotes for suggestions.)4
As we seek God and follow Jesus Christ through this fallen world, it will not be easy, “for the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life” (Matt. 7:14). But it is worth it. To be sure, we will experience joys and blessings in our life with God. But arrayed against us is the world, the flesh, and the devil. So, like Jesus whom we follow, we will meet with hardships and sorrows and encounter “many dangers, toils, and snares.” Times of trial and experiences of testing will punctuate our journey. There will be seasons of spiritual dryness; there may be tragedies and perhaps times when God is silent and our prayers seem to go unanswered. We may face persecution. Strong temptations may assail us. But God will be with us and see us through.
He has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Heb. 13:5), and He is faithful to sustain us no matter what we encounter. And He will use all the hard things of life to help us grow into greater conformity to the image of His Son (Rom. 8:28–29). In the words of a classic hymn “How Firm a Foundation,” based on Isaiah 43:1–2, the Lord’s promise speaks to us today:
When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of sorrow shall not overflow;
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.
When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,
My grace, all-sufficient, shall be thy supply.
The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design,
Thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.