Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
What is your understanding of God and how would you characterize your relationship with Him? I can open up any number of books and read about God, or read the Bible and not know anything about His nature and character. Through these steps, how has your perception of God changed? We have talked a lot about establishing a relationship with God, but how can you have any kind of a relationship with someone you don’t talk to? Through prayer and meditation we improve our conscious contact with God.
Prayer is simply talking to God. In Steps 4-7 we were honest with ourselves, and turned to God for His help. Working through the steps, that greater power we have relied on is not just a transcendent being, someone who is unreachable, unknowable and uninterested in our recovery. When we get to the point where we surrender and rely wholly on God, we are ready to move forward into Step 11.
Communicate with God Daily
In the Scriptures, we turn to words of comfort and encouragement. Psalms 16:7-8 states:
“I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I have set the LORD always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.”
This passage shows that the person’s relationship with God is a daily undertaking, that he is completely surrendered to God’s leading and knows that God is always with him. In Psalm 25:4-5, the writer is asking God to show him His way.
“Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.”
Proverbs 3:5-6 offers a familiar encouragement for many:
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”
Trusting in God, and not yourself, implies a close relationship and the surrender that opens us up to God’s leading.
Always Be Open to God’s Leading
The Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book offers some insight into this interesting journey. “In thinking about our day we are faced with indecision. We may not be able to determine which course to take. Here we ask God for inspiration, an intuitive thought or a decision. We are often surprised how the right answers come after we have tried this for a while. (page 86)” As the relationship grows, through prayer and meditation, the wisdom of God is channeled back and what we used to think was a good guess or a good idea, becomes a regular occurrence. We are open to the leading of God.
Mark 11:24 offers some insight into this relationship with God, as we go to Him for our needs: “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”
The Old Testament Book of Lamentations gave the same promise long before Mark’s New Testament statement of faith. “The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.”
The Gospel of Luke suggests that the asking and receiving is an element of the relationship we have with God and that those who truly put their faith in the one who created them are the ones who receive. Luke writes:
“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened” (Luke 11:9-10).
Maybe you don’t know what exactly you need, or what to ask for. The Apostle Paul, the book of Romans 8:26, explains it this way:
“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.”
Even in our indecision, God knows our needs and is ready to help. Once you are learning to communicate daily with God you’re ready for the twelve and final step of your journey: When you have complete Step 11 go to Step 12.