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How to Deepen My Faith

I'm a senior in high school, so I'm almost at the point where I need to go out on my own in the world. I've been ready to leave for a while now, but I know that I'll need a guide for the big and small things to keep me on track. I haven't been the strongest in my faith, but I really want to change that. I got a new Bible, and I've been praying more, but I still feel like I'm not doing something right. I don't know how to "listen" to God, instead of just talk to him. I'm not sure how to read the Bible, and I can't even pull quotes out of thinner books, let alone one that can have 1000 pages and 66 books. I want to make my relationship with God something I try to strengthen, and I'm willing to put time aside every day for it, but I'm just not sure exactly how.

How do you keep your relationship with God strong?

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Well I must say that your desire is beautiful and I love that you realize that He should be a very important factor in your life. Good flipping job! :D Don't worry about picking out 'quotes' out of the smaller books. It'll come in time. For now, try starting your day with five to ten minutes in concentrated prayer. Prayer is a dialogue not a monologue. Talk to Him freely while leaving room for Him to speak. Be confident in that He will respond. Don't despair at first it will be a little weird, but eventually you'll get that 'rumbling in your spirit'. Listening to God take time and patience it will come, but I promise if you keep talking eventually He will answer. It may not be how you thought it would be, but He hears you and answers you. Next, try setting aside some time during the beginning or middle of the day to read the Bible. If even for ten minutes just read it with an open mind. Say a quick prayer for an open spirit and to be guided by Him. Try to keep the time consistent, it shows Him dedication. And of course try to pray for at least five minutes before you go to sleep or as you're laying down to go to sleep. It works for me. :D If you do these things, its a good way to keep God at the forefront of your day and on your mind for at least three times a day. You'll find that the more you think about Him and spend time with Him, the easier it is to grow in Him. It also doesn't hurt to have some good Christian friends who you can talk to during the day and be a reminder of the light. Also you can try writing down some things that stick out to you while you're reading the Bible. I do it, because as you said over 1000 pages and 66 books is a lot of information. Nothing wrong with writing some points down so you can retain the information better. Another good tool I use is listening to sermons from the iPod podcast lists. They are a great help when sitting in a dorm or having a break in between classes. Audio devotionals are good too! :D Those are some quick pointers to help you out. If you have any more questions or need some further clarification feel free to aim (on my profile) me or pm me, I'll answer both as soon as I can. God bless you and I hope this helps.

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Advice on reading the Bible: First of all, esteem the Scriptures greatly.

You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. 2 Tim. 3:14-17

They are designed for:

Regenerating (i.e. causing people to be born again; James 1:18; 1 Peter 1:23)

Making alive (Psalm 119:50,93)

Illuminating (Psalm 119:30)

Converting the Soul (Psalm 19:7)

Making wise the simple (Psalm 19:7)

Sanctifying (John 17:17; ephesians 5:26)

Producing faith (John 20:31)

Producing hope (Psalm 119:49; Romans. 15:4)

Producing obedience (Deut. 17:19,20)

Cleansing the heart (John 15:3; Ephesians 5:26)

Cleansing the ways (Psalm 119:9)

Keeping from destructive paths (Psalm 17:4)

Supporting life (Deut. 8:3; Matthew 4:4)

Promoting growth in grace (1 Peter 2:2)

Building up in the faith (Acts 20:32)

Admonishing (Psalm 19:11; 1 Corithinas 10:11)

Comforting (Psalm 119:82; Romans 15:4)

Rejoicing the heart (Psalm 19:8; 119:111)

So pretty much EVERYTHING you need will be imparted to you by the Holy Spirit through the Scriptures. A hunger for the word of God is pivotal. But even when your heart seems to be a bit cold, realize that it is somehow working for your good (though you should still confess and pray for deliverance).

Secondly, I suggest beginning in Genesis. Many foundational doctrines are there (how the earth was made, why people die and the cause of suffering, the way sin entered into the world, God setting in motion his plan for redemption, etc.). I recommend a Bible reading plan that takes you through the Scriptures in a year. You can get a daily Bible that does this for about $5.00 in some places.

Thirdly, read good commentaries, books, and sermons. PM me if you want some resources or suggestions.

A few tips on prayer: remember praise, thanksgiving, confession, petition, and pray the Scriptures (particularly Psalms or places in Paul's epistles where he prays for the churches).

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Thank you for the guidance! I will certainly work on keeping a schedule. One of my resolutions is to read the Bible in a year, and I printed out a schedule to do just that. I will continue to pray, but I'm just a little confused on how the two way prayer works. I don't know how God will "talk" to me. Is it different in everyone?

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