It is hard to know God on a deeper level without getting still and quiet. Ultimately, my heart, mind and body can find rest by spending time with Him.
1. Through Prayer
I can start my time with God on Sabbath in prayer and listening to God.
a. Pour out the Worries- In the early stage of prayer, my mind can be so full that I keep getting distracted by thoughts of life. It helps if I pour out all concerns and worries to God upfront. When I release those, then I can begin to focus on getting real with God.
b. Reflect on God- Another way to focus in prayer is to reflect on the character of God. Think of His different names and traits and thank Him for each.
c. Repentance- I can use this time to repent from all known sin in my life. It is refreshing and humbling to be honest with God. I also need to make sure I ask God to reveal any sin in my life that I need to deal with. Without this step, I may be blocking the gateway between me and God. When I am right with God, He can hear my prayers and share His will.
d. Rebuking Satan- Getting alone with God in prayer is often a time that Satan tries hard to attack. If this is the case, I need to openly rebuke Satan.
e. Come into Agreement- Going down a list of “God please do this” does not always accomplish what I hope or desire. In fact, it might just be MY desires and not God’s. I would do better to ask, “What would You have me pray about this situation, God?” I don’t need to try to twist God’s arm to get Him to do anything. I just need to come into agreement with God. That is easier for those who know Him and hear His voice more clearly. The closer I get to Him, the more I will find myself praying His will without even knowing it.
f. Listening to God- This might be the hardest part of prayer for most. God wants me to pause and ask Him His will. What does He desire? I then need to listen for His instruction. I should desire to hear from God Himself and to receive what He has for me so I can be in agreement with Him.
g. Waiting- It’s important to wait for God to answer. It might not be immediate. And it can come in various ways. Some people are under the impression that God can only speak to us through His Word. But God has never been limited. He can speak audibly, to our hearts, through a vision or dream, through another person, OR through His Word. I can trust it is His answer when it lines up with His character and His Word.
h. Thankfulness- A thankful heart is a great part of prayer. I can express gratefulness for all He has done in my life and all that He is as my God. I need to thank Him for all answers to prayer.
Praying His will from a pure heart ALWAYS brings about a powerful result…whether it is seen or unseen.
2. Through Reading His Word
When I read God’s Word, it can be like spending time with a best friend. I listen to His stories, hear His heart, understand His likes and dislikes better, and comprehend who He is and what He desires.
Reading His Word without knowing Him at all or without knowing Him very well can be more challenging. But He wants to reveal Himself to me as He knows I am ready and willing to receive (just like in prayer).
I find it helpful to approach reading God’s Word as a whole. That means I try not to come to conclusions by reading just one or two verses. I need to make sure I know the background, context, and whether it backs up the rest of God’s Word. As a general rule, I NEVER come to conclusions about God’s Word based on a commentary or on a pastor/speaker/writer’s thoughts. It is my responsibility to check everything out for myself and know what God says.
3. Through Physical/Mental Resting
“And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he RESTED on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.” Genesis 2:2
“Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the sabbath of REST, holy to the Lord.” Exodus 31:15
People try many things to assist them in getting rest, like lying on the beach, taking a vacation, taking sleeping pills, etc. I find that nothing brings true rest (both to body and mind) like resting in God on Sabbath!
a. Physical Resting on Sabbath
Rest: Cease work or movement in order to relax, refresh oneself, or recover strength.
So many Sabbath verses in God’s Word speak of rest. The area of physical rest is probably the most common part of Sabbath. I love having my work set aside so I have time to sleep in or get a nap (or both!). When else do I have the opportunity to lay back in my recliner and just be still and quiet? Or play with my kids with no deadlines or schedules?
It is refreshing to my body to restore that balance of sleep when I have had a long and busy week. My brain, attitude, and outlook are all positively brightened when my body receives plenty of rest. I’m sure that God, being the designer of my body, knew that I would need a day of refreshment so I could face the coming week at my best.
Some Health Benefits of Rest/Sleep:
The body can gain and save energy during rest.
Essential for long-term memory formation.
Essential for the immune system.
Essential for mental health.
Essential for recovery from injuries.
Essential for recovery from stress.
Essential for hormone regulation.
Essential for learning.
And many, many more…
b. Mental Resting on Sabbath
Resting my mind from work may not be thought of as often as physical rest, yet it is an important part of my Sabbath. I am easily tempted to think about what work I didn’t get done, what work I have to do after Sabbath, or just anything that is stressing or worrying me. I can analyze things to death!
God asks me to turn over all of my burdens and thoughts to Him. When I pray, I release all my worries and cares to God and trust Him to care for them. And as I free my mind of my thoughts and focus on God throughout Sabbath, I find that I am much clearer and capable of handling life’s problems when the new week begins. I can see things through God’s eyes and have a better perspective.
God’s Blessing of Sabbath Rest
It’s true that I need to get the proper rest/sleep every day to keep my body and mind strong, but God blessed us with a specific time to stop and be refreshed. He knew what a hard time I would have putting my work and worries aside, so He commanded me to do just that. And I am very grateful!