In this article we will discuss many ways to encounter God, how these are implemented by Christians, on what basis and how you too can integrate these encounters into your everyday life.
Every encounter with God is unique. Every single believer has his own possibility or can look for his own possibility. But one thing is always important: The Word of God (The Bible) should always be observed.
Therefore, the following examples and approach are always in the spirit of the Bible. First we look at the possibilities in an overview, then we start with the two foundations of all Christians: meeting God in the Bible and in prayer.
Table of Contents
Ways to encounter God
The following is a list of ways that Christians can encounter God. Since each person’s experience with God is different, this list includes only suggestions that Christians do on a regular basis to encounter God.
Ways to encounter God
- Encounter through Bible reading
- Through (intensive) prayer
- Through purposeful fasting
- In “quiet time
- Perceiving everyday, small miracles
- Together with other believers
- Visiting holy places
- Reflecting on His Word (meditating)
- Musical praise
Encountering God – suitable Bible passages
First of all, we have to ask ourselves: Does God actually want to meet us, or does He relatively not care? Thank God, we have a way to look. God wants to have contact with us. You can read this here:
God wants to meet us – Bible passages
- Matthew 7:7
- 1 Sam. 3:9
- John 10:27
- Jeremiah 33:3
- Jeremiah 29:12
- Philippians 4:9
- Psalm 34:16
- Psalm 130:1-2
- Luke 11:28
- John 8:47
Way #1: Encountering God in Meditation
God can be met through his own word. Simply by reading his word and letting it passively affect you. It is not necessary to try to understand every single word or to immediately try to understand every single verse.
The encounter consists in immersing oneself in the “world” of the Bible. Therefore, for example, it is perfectly okay to take a translation that is easy to read;- but not always faithful to the Greek from the letter.
Here one speaks of the so-called “Christian meditation”. I find this designation more than confusing. If one talks today about “meditating”, then one thinks fast of any far-eastern practices. This is of course not the case here.
What is meant here is the intensive reflection on God’s word. Over and over again. As if one were to “chew” the words one by one and read each word individually. “Soaking up” and noticing each written word.
If you want to intensify this encounter with God using this method, you can try the following tips:
- Read individual sections or verses over and over again – even 100 times if you like.
- Think about why which word is there and why
- Read the same passage in several translations
- Also read the entire context: What is the general gist of the text?
Way #2: Encountering God in prayer
As human beings, we have been given the unique opportunity by God to meet Him: We have the opportunity to meet God in prayer. Prayers are, next to the Bible, the way to communicate with God.
Unfortunately, this does not result in a dialogue – it is very unlikely that you will receive an acoustic answer from God in this day and age. The answers that make up the encounter come from elsewhere.
But let us begin with prayer itself.
Every prayer is an encounter with God. By praying, through the mediator Jesus Christ, we create a bridge between us and God. In that small moment when we speak, we are, as it were, sitting before the throne of God and personally giving God our message.
With this in mind, prayer becomes an even better way to meet God. No one else stands between us and God! We need to let this sink in: We are talking directly to God.
The answer, however, is different for everyone. It can start with an idea or even be. A pleasant feeling. A strange opportunity. A sudden phone call. An unexpected message. When it does, you’ll recognize it – or you’ll recognize after the fact what was actually going on.
It can also happen that God doesn’t answer immediately. Or not at all. This may sound totally stupid: But God hears it anyway. It is just not in his will to fulfill your prayer.
Now this sounds as if every prayer must always contain a request to God: No. It can also be simply thanking God. The whole Bible has a book in it that does virtually nothing else – the Psalms.
Tips for encounter in prayer
- Get up 20 minutes earlier in the morning and use the time to pray
- Keep a prayer journal with your prayers and requests to God
- Increase your prayer time each month by 20 minutes a week (no matter how you divide it)
Way #3: Encountering God in Silence – the “Silent Time”
Another way to encounter God is to do just the opposite than in the previous example: Just be still. Come down. Take time. Do nothing else but enjoy the quiet time. This time belongs only to God and the believer. What happens in it varies greatly.
Some simply feel the presence of God – usually a warm, fuzzy feeling. Others get some kind of epiphany – an idea about their life, solution to a problem, or whatever is at hand.
This is often combined with prayer and Bible reading. The main thing during this time is that the thoughts and feelings are focused on God. On him alone. Try to put all other thoughts aside for the time. This sounds easier than it is. Therefore, here are some tips to effectively use quiet time for an encounter with God.
Tips for quiet time
- Thank God for everything that comes to mind
- Focus on your favorite parts
- Start your quiet time with silence
- Set a fixed time and be in silent time for at least that long
- … as long as your body is not in danger, keep the time!
- Get a personal notebook and write down what your thoughts are
- Use a Bible translation that you can easily read
Way #4: Encountering God in everyday life
Another way to encounter God is to consciously integrate Him into everyday life and consciously give thanks. Remember that God is in control of everything. Everything.
Just as an artist always leaves his special mark on a work of art, God also leaves his mark on his work of art – his world! Everything, just as it is, is personally created by God. Yes, we can even go so far as to say: Everything is thought through by God and must be exactly as it is.
And we may think through in this perfect world. Every breath, every look, every color is created by God. This knowledge helps to thank Him every day and to see God every day in our everyday life.
Our human everyday life is fast and we take a lot for granted. It makes sense to pause and reflect: Where am I actually here? What do I see here? Who is next to me? Thank God for simply everything.
It is beautiful when God intervenes with a miracle and makes the sick well again. But when we start to see God everywhere – then even the coffee stain becomes special, because we are allowed to see him at all.
Tips for encounters with God in everyday life
- Set an alarm clock for one day and let it ring every hour. Then look around and give thanks for 10 things you see.
- Start your day with God by praying right after you get up.
- Thank God when you walk through a door (Any. Door.)
Way #5: Encountering God in fasting
In the Bible, it reads like a matter of course. Jesus himself did it for 40 days: fasting. Consciously abstaining from food.
There are many examples in the Old and New Testaments of people fasting. In the Old Testament, the focus was on convincing God to do certain things, and in return, people stopped eating.
This is certainly still the case today.
But there is also the way of fasting simply to be closer to God. Even if one does not feel the immediate contact with God “new”, the longer fasting has an advantage: more time.
Cooking and preparing food takes time. But if you save that time, you can spend more time encountering God.
Otherwise, the rule is: Try it out! But please only if you are reasonably healthy. In other cases it is better to consult with a doctor. But if you need a miracle, you are welcome to ask other Christians to pray for you and/or fast as well.
Tips for encountering God while fasting
- Fasting for three days is not a problem
- Do not abstain for diet or health reasons;- be clear about the reasons for fasting
- Combine fasting best with intensive prayer
- Note: I am not a doctor and this is not a medical tip! If you have health concerns, see a doctor.
Way #6: Encountering God in holy places
Before we launch into this section, let’s say that there is no need for a specific place to encounter God. Jesus enables us to come in contact with God at any time (see here) Even in the broom closet (most translations use “closet”… but it’s the principle).
Now I’m trying to write this text without it sounding somehow strangely esoteric… It just so happens, however, that certain buildings evoke a certain reverent feeling. If you’ve ever been to Cologne Cathedral, you can probably understand what I mean.
Buildings and places can trigger this strange feeling. Often these are sacred places (but not exclusively). In these places there is a certain feeling that the place radiates the whole atmosphere is different. Here it is simply easier to feel closer to God.
Especially Israel is known to give such a feeling. Why this is so, I do not know. It is just the way it is and it helps.
At this point I also don’t want to miss to tell that the journey is part of the experience. For example, many believers (whether Catholic, Protestant or atheist) experience their encounter with God on the journey to the place. Thus, it is the pilgrimage to Santiago, rather than the place itself, that gives the encounter. (More about pilgrimage)
Tips for encountering God in holy places
- Pilgrimage is not evangelical;- but a long journey on foot can evoke encounters with God
- Consider what makes the place in question “Holy”: what happened here? What impact did it have on humanity? Meditate (the Christian way) on it).
- Take your time. Days rather than hours.
Way #7: Encountering God in Music
The last way to meet God is in musical praise. (What is praise?) Music can be a way to encounter God. The principle is the same as for almost all other possibilities on this list: The focus should be on God, the time during the music should belong to God, and giving thanks plays a big part.
Or singing about who God is and what he did – many modern songs do just that. First of all, no music is wrong in itself and any can be heard. Tricky is the part with the lyrics. This can actually, even if it is a lopri song, violate the principles of the bibles. You might not want to sing along with that. It probably shouldn’t be a sin, but you never know if it pleases God.
Please do not be ashamed! Just sing along with the praise. By giving thanks, you are building a personal encounter with God. And if you think you can’t sing:
Remember who you are singing for. You are singing for God. And he gave you your voice and at the same time the feeling that you want to sing for him. Should God complain for your “weird” voice… well: He gave it to you. It’s his own fault, or rather, he’ll like it.
- Buy a worship CD, put it on and sing (shout) along.
- Be as loud as possible! (God likes your voice, the others may find it unpleasant… so be careful).
- If you want to dance, dance!
- If you have a car, put the music there. There it plays every time you get in.