Your spiritual link with God is an admission that you’re surrendering control of your life with its successes or hurts to Him. You are admitting that you do not have the ability to change your own life.

I’ve found it helpful to think of this linking with God in two separate ways — “The Initial Contact” and the “Sustained Contact”.

1. The Initial Contact As I teach people how to link with God, I suggest that they repeat a simple prayer. First, find a quiet place alone, allow your body to slow down, and your mind to become restful. For me it’s helpful to imagine that I’m sitting on an empty beach, looking out at the ocean and the endless horizon. I’m conscious of the waves continuing their march to the shore, but I deliberately block out all the city life and my own business, as I let my mind become quiet. Some people find it helpful to think of sitting in front of a fire, or looking into a moonless sky at night. Whatever it is, first let yourself become quiet.

Now in this quietness, visualize the friendly face of God. Then speak directly to Him, “God, I am powerless. I’ve tried unsuccessfully for years to overcome my past. I need your help.

“I’m sorry for keeping you out of my life. I’m sorry I didn’t even think about you as being able to help me with this situation.

“Please forgive me. Come into my life. Be God in me, instead of just God to the world in general. Please increase my sensitivity to spiritual things. I do intend to follow the spiritual directions and insights that you give me. I’m open for you to lead me and heal me.”

Use your own words. Enlarge on my suggestions in any way you want.

Next, you may want to tell God some of your frustrations, or talk about the inadequacies of your life and your inability to cope. It’s extremely important that you tell God whatever comes to your mind. This is not the time to pretend. This is the time to let it all hang out. Be honest — God can handle whatever you want to say.

After you’ve spent some time talking to God, return to just being quiet and visualizing God’s face. Keep your mind in that same open state and allow God to care for you, to love you, to warm you.

Finally, you’ve allowed the Creator of the universe to be invited into your problems and into your life. Let God bathe your life with His presence as you sit quietly before Him.

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Experiences with God vary from person to person. Some feel an instant sense of relief, even euphoria. For others it is a matter-of-fact conversation. Whatever your experience, remember you’re not competing with the experience of someone else — only communicating directly and privately with God.

2. Sustained Contact Linking with God is not a one-time experience. It should be repeated each day. In your daily conversations with God, follow the same format of quieting yourself before Him and visualizing His face.

Then thank God for the privilege of this spiritual link. Thank Him for whatever peace you are experiencing — for insights that are coming. Thank Him for your increased sensitivity to spiritual things, even though sometimes you have pain when you’re confronted with areas that need change.

Sustaining your contact with God will help you to live in the “here and now.” It will help you to link your childhood with your adult life, so that all the parts of your life will be healed.

Talk to God about the small group you’re in, books you’re reading, insights you’re getting from other people, and insights you’re getting as you spend time quietly meditating with Him each day.

Remember, you are not looking for perfection as you sustain your link with God. You are looking for His presence and peace as you continue to go through your healing and growing process.

You are looking for truth about yourself — yes, some things need to change, but you are not all bad. The healing process can only go forward as you know the truth. Jesus said, “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.”

God is more concerned about your emotional health than you are. His plan is to give you a deep sense of peace and the strength to face your painful past and your current challenges. Keep in focus these two important aspects of your contact with God. Prayer is your side of the conversation with God, while the Bible is His way of speaking to you.

Let me suggest a little assignment. Start reading a chapter a day from a modern translation of the Bible, such as the New Living Translation. Beginning with the Gospel of John. Use your daily reading as part of the process of sustaining your contact with God.

Reprinted by permission by Jim Conway Ph.D., Copyright 2000. Read more from Jim at Midlife Dimensions.