Have you ever read the biography of a famous person?

Great biographies or autobiographies give us an inside look into how a person ticks. After reading about someone’s life, you might even think, “Wow, I feel like I really know them now!”

Even so, you’d never claim to have intimacy with someone after reading their book. Intimacy is, by definition, mutual. Studying their book would increase our insight about them, but studying their book, no matter how enlightening it is, would never grow our intimacy with them.

We’ve been learning how our intimacy with God only grows through personal interaction. Today my point is this: If you want to grow a deeper intimacy with God, you’ll need to learn how to have conversations with Him.

The voice of God

Hearing God’s voice is critically important. Jesus himself said that “man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). The greek term used for ‘word’ here refers to spoken words, not written ones. And the sentence is constructed to mean we live by God’s ongoing, continuously spoken words. 

Jesus also said, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27). The clear message is that we follow Jesus by listening to His voice.

Hearing God’s voice is life-changing, not just because we get to hear Him speak, but because it enables us to have conversations with Him. Nearly every place in scripture where God speaks, a conversation begins. The Father’s goal isn’t a download, it’s a dialog. He isn’t looking for passive receivers, but active engagers. 

What about the Bible?

I’m not denigrating the role of scripture in our intimacy with God. We just need to get clear on what that role actually is. Reading someone’s book may not grow intimacy with them, for example, but being familiar with their story would be extremely helpful if we actually met them over coffee. Knowing how and where they grew up would come in handy during our conversations. If you remembered reading they love donuts with sprinkles, you might bring a bag as a gift to impress or encourage them. That autobiography would help us turn insight into intimacy if we wanted it to.

In the same way, Bible study isn’t just an exercise we engage in to gain insight into God. Bible study is supposed to be a conversation with God designed to develop intimacy with Him. Jesus framed the purpose of His written word, the Bible, by saying, “You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life” (John 5:39,40). The scriptures are “living and active” (Hebrews 4:12) because they are God’s word. They are what God has already said, and as we study them, they become what He is currently saying.

God is waiting for our response

When we read a Bible passage, God is speaking! So… what’s your response? Imagine being back in High School and your crush passes you a love note across the cafeteria table. Would you just fold up the paper, analyze the words, and move on? Or would you flick a glance and a blush across the table and start talking to your future? At the very least, you’d write something back!

When you’re reading the Bible, maybe you don’t understand what you’re reading—tell God that. Maybe you have a question—ask it! Maybe you’re filled with joy—express it! Talk. To. Him. Jesus says the purpose of the Bible is to help you make that connection and keep you on the right track with it. Similarly, praying without ceasing isn’t about us talking incessantly at God; it’s an ongoing conversation with God. 

Now with the Father, as all things in the spiritual life, things happen by grace through faith. The grace part is that God grants you this free and beautiful access to Him through Jesus. The faith part means believing you have full access to a God who longs for intimacy with you. But not just believing. Doing. It means living, speaking, and giving that way.  

Whenever you speak to God, you should anticipate a response. His response may not be what you expect, and it may not come immediately—but speaking, listening, and responding are how conversations work. It’s how intimacy grows. If you don’t believe God is speaking to you, or if you don’t believe an actual conversation is possible, you probably won’t experience it. These things unfold by grace, through faith, remember. 

The easiest way I know to learn how to start conversing with God is by keeping a prayer journal. Write down your questions for God, directing them to Him, and then put your pen to the page, anticipating His response. Or, begin with His word, then respond to Him, then listen again. Write down what flows into your mind; you can always test it once you’ve got it down. When God responds to you, respond to Him. Keep the conversation going. 

You’ll never be the same!

In my next post, I’ll be exploring how to grow intimacy with God by experiencing God’s touch. Here’s a video summary of this post. Enjoy!

What stood out to you about this post? Do you agree? Disagree? Let’s talk!


Become a Master Encourager in a world gone mad.