As a Christian, you should prioritize certain things, right? Things like going to church, praying, reading the Bible and worshiping God.
But what if you don’t like going to church? What if worshiping feels disingenuous and prayer seems like a chore?
Maybe you worry something is out-of-whack in your spiritual life. Are you really a Christian if you don’t pursue these things?
It’s not uncommon to go through a dry spell—a period of time when you’re just trying to make it through the day and don’t have the energy, mental capacity or interest in Christian to-dos. But most people don’t want to stay there.
Here are a few points to think about:
- Just because you don’t enjoy these things for a time doesn’t mean you aren’t saved. Billy Graham used to talk about the difference between fact, faith and feeling. Here’s the gist: Feelings come and go and vary from person to person, but the facts of the Gospel remain the same, and being a Christian means you believe in those facts.
“Saving faith is a faith that produces obedience. It is a faith that brings about a way of life. Some have successfully imitated this way of life for a time, but for those who trust Christ for salvation, that faith brings about a desire to live out that inward experience of faith. It is a power that results in godly living.” —Billy Graham
- It’s probably safe to say that if you’re reading this, you’d rather feel close to God than not. Take comfort in knowing that He is pursuing you, even if you’re not running after Him. He’s the kind of God who leaves the 99 to go after the one who’s gone astray (Luke 15:1-7). He stands at the door, waiting for you to open it.
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” —Revelation 3:20
- So how do you get closer to God? Billy Graham once answered this question, and said to think about it like any other relationship in life: “We have to spend time with someone—listening to them, sharing our interests and concerns with them, learning about them, and so forth. And the same is true with God.” How do you do that? By reading His words to us in the Bible, talking to Him in prayer and spending time with other Christians.
Just as you wouldn’t expect to feel close to someone who never talks to you or shows interest in your life, it’s unreasonable to expect a robust relationship with God just sitting around, waiting for it to happen. God absolutely wants to have a relationship with you, but isn’t going to force it. It has to be a two-way thing.
The Bible tells us in James 4:8, “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.”
So how do you climb out of your spiritual rut? Here are four things to consider:
1. Problems Praying
Perhaps your prayer life is dull—you don’t know what to pray for or you’re not confident in talking to God.
You don’t need elaborate prayers. Throughout the Bible, people from all walks of life spoke to God, sharing honest thoughts, concerns and praise. When you pray, ask Him for a genuine heart—one that sincerely wants to seek Him out—and for focus as you talk to Him one-on-one.
Remember the privilege of prayer—it’s your direct access to the Creator of the universe, the One who made you and loves you more than anyone.
Also know that when you can’t find the words, God can intercede for you through the Holy Spirit.
“For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” —Romans 8:26
2. Cracking Open That Bible
Have you ever walked by your Bible and thought, “I really need to read that. … Maybe tomorrow.”
What’s keeping you from reading today? A busy schedule? Razor-thin pages with words you don’t understand? Other things you’d rather read?
Typically, the more you read the Bible, the more you begin to understand and even want to read it because the words start speaking to you and nourishing your soul.
“It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” —Matthew 4:4
It can also help to use a study Bible with notes and context in the margins, or find friends who can read parts of it with you. And let’s remember it’s 2021. There’s no shortage of Bible reading plans, including audio ones when you’re on the go.
3. A Word About Worship
There’s a song called “Here I Am to Worship” that’s basically an ode to one’s love for God.
Worship: to express reverence and adoration
But maybe when it’s time to worship at church, you’re just going through the motions. Or when you come to a Christian radio station, you skip right past it. You don’t get the same sense of awe for our Creator that others seem to.
Did you know worship isn’t just about collective singing between the pews? There are other ways to draw close to God and worship Him—through nature, art or even serving others.
The important thing is whom you are worshiping—and to whom you are expressing your gratitude.
Music is only one form of worship. Read more in this short response.
Keep in mind that you can worship anytime, not just at church. And about that last part …
4. Making It to Church
You knew this one was coming.
Is it so wrong that you’d rather watch a football game or sleep in than get yourself to church? Is it bad that you can spend hours watching viral YouTube videos but won’t sit through an online service?
When you do go, maybe you’re just checking it off your list. Why can’t you just “do church” your own way?
Here are four reasons you need church—in the traditional sense of the word. It boils down to this: church helps you grow alongside other believers. Not just learn more about God, but really develop your faith within a community trying to do the same thing. That includes serving others as Jesus commands His followers to do.
Church should be a place we can fail together, improve together and support each other along the way.
“And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another…” —Hebrews 10:24-25
Now maybe you’ve had a bad or even traumatic church experience in the past. Fair enough. Unfortunately, it’s happened to many people since churches are made up of imperfect people. But don’t let that keep you from intermingling with fellow Christians forever.
When You Don’t Feel Much of Anything
The reason these four things—prayer, reading the Bible, worshiping and going to church—are “Christian things” is because they truly help you grow closer to Christ and refresh your relationship with Him.
If your daily pursuit of Jesus is more like a stagnant lake with muck growing on the bottom, consider The Big Four and how you might focus on even one of them today.
You’ll likely find that your heart is more at peace and your life is more balanced the more intentional you are about these things.
Ask God today to rekindle your desire for Him and see how rich your faith life can be.
“In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”
Don’t have a relationship with Christ? Discover the peace that comes from knowing Him.