Spending 30 days writing letters to God changed me
Before starting polytechnic, I was going through a season of isolation from Him. Worse still, I felt entirely responsible for drifting away.
I knew I had to do something to go back to God, but I didn’t know what.
One day my cell group leader shared that she had taken on a “30-Day TAWG Challenge”. There and then, I was reminded of my promise I made years ago, one that I had yet to fulfil.
I remembered going to a church camp when I was 12 years old. On the last day, we make a promise to God, something that we felt compelled to do.
My younger self innocently wrote down “I promise to do Time Alone With God every day”, without knowing what it really meant.
You see, in my youth ministry, TAWG stands for Time Alone With God, or what is more commonly known as Quiet Time.
But secondary school was one of my busiest times, especially in the two years leading up to O-Levels. Breaks were few and far between. I went to church every Saturday, but even then I couldn’t connect to God.
After such a long time of not talking to Him, I didn’t know where to start.
But I was inspired by what my leader had shared, so I tried doing what I was most comfortable with: writing journal entries, or what I call prayers to God, for 30 days.
It felt awkward, but I decided to begin simple by letting Him know about my day, like the time I went out with friends to celebrate a birthday party or the story idea I had in mind.
He already knew all these things, but that didn’t keep me from telling Him about it. It was like writing letters to a close friend – I loved that He would always listen (or read) and do it without judgement.
I ended off each prayer with the words, “I trust You”.
It was a reminder to myself that I didn’t have to shoulder my burden alone, that I could learn to lean on Him for help.
After the 10th entry, God also encouraged me to add prayer requests for my family and friends in things they were having trouble with. This made me see how my Quiet Time didn’t only have to benefit me – it could also help others in some small way.
It became so natural for me to keep writing every night that I didn’t think about stopping even after hitting my target of 30 days.
When school started, I saw the new season in polytechnic as a challenge to keep placing God above all else. I didn’t want a repeat of what happened in the past.
And I was glad that I didn’t allow my assignments to compromise the time I spent with Him because I encountered a very trying situation in my first semester.
In a group of three girls whom I hung out with, things were unintentionally said that soured our friendship. We became more and more distant, and there was nothing I could do to bridge that gap.
Trying my best to be friendly drained me so much that by the time I got home, I would grab my journal to pour my heart out to God about how I really felt.
I was confused about how our friendship could change so drastically, and hurt from the way we treated one another. God was the only person I could be fully myself with.
One night, He spoke to me about the need to keep showing love to the both of them, promising that He would give me strength to help me.
“I love you,” He told me, “so learn to love those around you.”
Led by God, I did my best to obey His command to love. Going back to school every day to face my friends wasn’t easy, but I wanted to learn how to love someone the way God loves all of us.
Things didn’t change, but as I wrote to God each night, He constantly refilled my spirit with determination, enough for me to pen down “please help me to treat her with love, as she is my sister in Christ”.
At the end of the semester, my friends and I had a heart-to-heart talk. Something one of them said stayed with me even to this day: She told me that I had taught her what it meant to love.
I was so thankful that I wrote a prayer to God that night. I didn’t know it back then, but that was the first step towards us becoming closer friends.
It may have started with 30 days, but one year on I am still writing prayers.
Spending time with Him has made me more aware of God’s presence in my life. I don’t feel like my life is just about studying anymore, though it isn’t any less important.
I have a newfound mission to shine God’s light and reflect His love to others as inspired by Matthew 5:16.
“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
This is something I would never have discovered without my commitment to have a consistent Quiet Time with Him.
God loves you and wants to spend time with you too. I’ve also learnt that there is more than one way to have time alone with God.
Here are some ideas for you to get started. Don’t wait!
TIPS FOR TIME ALONE WITH GOD
Praising God is a great way to centre our focus on Him.
Have the ability to play an instrument? What better way than to use that talent to glorify God? Even your voice will do.
Don’t worry about playing or singing well. Simply enjoy that time you have in His presence.
God looks at your intention to worship, not your skill level.
PRO-TIP: You can also check out these song playlists we’ve put together if you need music recomendations!
To know God better, you need to read His word. Everything written in it came from the mouth of God Himself, transcribed through His people who were filled with the Holy Spirit.
It’s good if you have a Bible reading plan. But if you’re lost, try starting with the gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke or John. They tell the story of Jesus’ life on earth from birth to resurrection, and are quite simple to understand.
Aim for something doable. Try one chapter a day or half a chapter.
God can speak to you through the Bible! Whether or not you’ve read it before, He will give you a new revelation. All you have to do is ask.
Prayer is essentially talking to God. You can say your prayer out loud, in your head or write/type it out!
If you’re not sure how to pray, think about A.C.T.S.
Adoration: Praise God for His character, e.g. goodness, faithfulness or unconditional love. You can also use a verse in the Bible if you’re stuck!
Confession: Admit the ways in which you have sinned against God. All of us make mistakes, but God’s mercies are new every morning. There’s always a chance to go before God to ask for forgiveness.
Thanksgiving: Thank Him for what He has done or what He has blessed you with today, such as time to do your work or even just the good weather.
Supplication: Pray for others or for yourself, committing what you need to the Lord and trusting that He will provide for you.
Prayer is a conversation, a two-way street where God can also speak to you, so I encourage you to listen to God too!
THINK + TALK
- How has God spoken to you recently through your time alone with Him?
- Which of these types of prayers (A.C.T.S.) are you not doing or doing too much of?
- What is your relationship with God like? Are you able to communicate freely with Him and be honest about your feelings?