How do you become friends with someone? For some of us, that’s a no-brainer because we find it easy to connect with others and build rapport. For others among us, that’s a huge ask, as connecting well with others might not be easy or feel safe. It is the same way with intimacy with God.

The older you get, the more it’s likely taken for granted that you know how to make friends, and the more awkward our attempts at making friends become. However, it is possible to learn how to make friends with others, just as it is possible to grow in our ability to know God like a friend.

Yes, God can be your friend! He occupies many roles, including Lord, Father, comforter, our source of life and joy, and so much more. Depending on your upbringing and experiences with God, it’s possible to keep God at a distance and not let Him draw near to you as you would a dear and trusted friend. Yet in at least two places in the Bible, Abraham is described as “God’s friend” (James 2:23, Isaiah 41:8).

Becoming friends with God.

How do you become friends with God? In some ways, that takes us back to the question of how we make friends with other people.

You befriend others by approaching them or allowing them to approach you; then begins the process of getting to know them, the things they like, and who they are. That process requires vulnerability and curiosity as you ask questions as well as reveal and explore aspects of yourself. Being friends with someone also takes patience, as it takes time to build a cache of shared experiences that allow you to form trust.

With God, to get to know Him best requires that we look at Jesus Christ. When we see Him, we are seeing God, and through Him, we come to know God and become God’s friends (Colossians 1:15-22; Ephesians 1:3-14; John 14:6-7; Matthew 11: 25-30).

Abraham became God’s friend by believing God and what God had said to him; we too become God’s friends when we listen to the words of Jesus and believe Him. The journey to friendship with God begins with us when we take Jesus at His word when He says, for example, “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” (Mark 1:15, NIV).

Growing in intimacy with God.

As with any other relationship, your friendship with God ought to grow. Relationships grow as the people in them spend time together, share more of themselves, and deepen their mutual trust by showing themselves reliable and true to their word. Yes, there’s often conflict in any relationship, and growth also happens as you work through that.

All this is true of a person’s relationship with God. The difference is that you’re being friends with a perfect Person who is always good, right, true, and infinitely patient with you. If you walk long enough with God, there will be times you’ll appreciate that perfection, but your imperfection won’t always feel comfortable with the situation. That too is a growth area for us.

Whether you’re at the start of your journey, or you’ve been walking with God for a long time, some things are always true in developing intimacy with God, and here are a few of them:

Remain steeped in God’s Word.

Psalm 119 is a long reflection on the value of God’s word for our lives, and it’s worthwhile to take time to understand it. Make time in your day to read and reflect on a portion of the Bible, then ask God for help in wisely implementing what you’ve read.

Pray always.

Prayer is a great way to connect with God, to let Him know what we’re thinking and feeling, and for us to unburden ourselves (Philippians 4:6-7). God already knows what we need (Matthew 6:32), and prayer is an expression of our vulnerability and dependence on God.

There are many different examples of prayer in the Bible –joy and thanks, anguish and despair, repentance, petition and intercession, and so much more. These can be models for you in your prayer life. Pray for others, pray for yourself, and let others pray for you. Pray without giving up (Luke 18:1-8).

Don’t go it alone.

Intimacy with God often requires solitude. There is a difference between solitude and isolation which we won’t go into here, but it’s important to know that the Christian life is not meant to be one you pursue alone.

In one of Paul’s letters, he writes these words to his friends:

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.Ephesians 3:16-19, NIV

It’s hard for us to even comprehend exactly how much God loves us. God’s love is so huge, so beyond what we can even imagine, that Paul says we need power to be able to grasp the reality of it. That’s an amazing love! This is the kind of love that God has for us, and it’s something Paul wants his friends to understand and experience through the Holy Spirit.

Paul wanted his friends, “together with all the Lord’s holy people,” to come to this realization. While they were all invited to understand this incredible and out-of-the-world love that God had for them individually, Paul wanted them to do this together with others.

God loves people as individuals. But He also loves His people as a community, as a large family from every nation, tribe, station of life, gender, and cultural background. God’s people individually and together enjoy God’s love. You can grow in intimacy with God alongside others who are pursuing joy in God too. Find others with whom you can journey deeper into your knowledge of God.

Know that it’s a journey.

Like any relationship, there’s no easy formula or one-size-fits-all way of doing things. The way you relate to God won’t look the same as how others do it. Some people love to journal, and they connect with God that way. Other people take long walks in the woods while listening to a Christian podcast, Scripture, or worship music. That might not be you, and that’s fine.

Find what works for you. As you allow God to speak into every area of your life, including how you handle money, attitudes toward others, and issues such as anger or people pleasing, He will challenge you to change how you do things.

Getting help in developing your intimacy with God.

Change isn’t always easy, even though later we might feel lighter and happier because of it. We can trust that any changes that God enjoins us to make are for our good and our joy. It’s a journey that takes time and space, and often it requires help.

That help can come in the form of friends who can keep you accountable, or a spiritual director or life coach. It can also take the form of a professional Christian counselor who can help you navigate your relationship with God and others. You can reach out to connect with a counselor of your choosing.

A Christian counselor will create a safe and non-judgmental space for you to express yourself freely. There may be issues and questions that make it difficult for you to trust God and be vulnerable with Him. Your counselor will walk with you to help you discern any unhelpful or untrue thoughts and explore your expectations and disappointments so that you can have a healthy relationship with yourself, others, and God.

“Sunset”, Courtesy of Harli Marten,, CC0 License; “Sun on the Water”, Courtesy of David Cantelli,, CC0 License; “Mountain Road”, Courtesy of Matt Howard,, CC0 License; “Praying Hands”, Courtesy of Deb Dowd,, CC0 License


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