Wanting God vs. Needing God

You say, “I don’t have time to pray or read my bible.”

I say, “You don’t have time NOT to pray or read your bible!”

Therein lies the problem. Instead of a want to pray and read mindset, there is an underlying need to pray and read attitude.

There was a distinct switch in my heart a few years ago that led me to this new understanding and desire to want to pray and read instead of feeling the need to do it out of duty—like it’s good for me. Needing to do it for me instead of for the enjoyment of experiencing God’s presence and personal relationship through it.

Until you make that switch in your mind, where it comes from the overflow of love for Christ you say, “I want to pray and read my bible, to connect with God in a personal way, because I love Him and want to get to know more of His love,” you will continually pick up and lay down the task of praying and reading over and over again.

Until it becomes less about you and what you get out of the relationship, and becomes more about a love for God and a desire to love Him and grow in your relationship with Him, praying and reading the bible will continue to fall short in your experience with it.

This may sound harsh to some of you who believe you love God. You desire Him to be first in your life. You say He is first. But in the quiet places of your heart, ask yourself the honest question, do you truly love Him for Him? Is God the first priority in your life because you love Him and desire to BE with Him? If so, it wouldn’t be so hard to invest time into growing in that love relationship with Him the best ways I know how: pray and read the bible.

Similar to a relationship when you are first dating someone you really like, which then turns into what you believe is love, it’s hard not to spend every waking minute with that person. Your desire to spend time with them overrides other obligations, people, and things—sometimes to a fault. But guess what? There’s never faults for spending more time with God.

I don’t always get this perfect, but I did finally come to a place when I realized this Christian faith walk is not about me. It’s not about simply pressing a button and receiving a get-out-of-hell-free-card either. There is more to life besides getting the token of acceptance in heaven, by believing that Jesus Christ is your Savior. It’s about a relationship with God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit—a triune God (John 1:14)—here on this gravity filled earth by experiencing His presence NOW through prayer and digging into the ancient text. Our life is NOT about checking off a to-do list you think you need to do for God to be accepted, loved, and adored. God doesn’t go by the list of “10 things you need to do to be a good Christian and be accepted by God.”

God doesn’t need us to pray or read our bible for Him. He is already madly and deeply in love with us, just for us, and is complete without us. (Acts 17:24-35) He created us and kept us only because He wanted us, and still wants us in all our flaws and failures—He does not need us. That is true love my friends. God loves each and every one of us, and simply desires us to love Him, but out of want and desire to love Him back as well. A reciprocal relationship of true love.

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.

(1 John 4:8-9, NIV)


Rachel Swanson

Rachel has an authentic warmth that exudes into her speaking, writing, and personal relationships. She is passionate about helping others see the value and purpose in their life, relating well to others who struggle with: the comparison trap, feeling insignificant, or those recovering from the disease of perfectionism–life struggles she is all too familiar with. Rachel is founder of Refine and Restore, a blog encouraging love and relationships, providing inspiration for others with her home DIY projects, and helping restore others towards a deeper more intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.