“Get to God, dear heart”

Colleen Elisabeth Chao is an editor and author. She enjoys dark-dark chocolate, side-splitting laughter, and half-read books piled bedside. She makes her home near Boise, Idaho, with her husband Eddie, their son Jeremy, and Willow the dog. 




“Get to God, dear heart”

“Get to God, dear heart”

“Get to God, dear heart”

I love praying Scripture back to God. It wakes up my sluggish heart, it focuses my scattered thoughts, it helps me sense God’s presence.

And it’s been one way for me to heed C.H. Spurgeon’s advice:

What you need is to get to God through what you read, and not merely to come to the Book. The Bible…or the most pious prayers cannot save you; you must pass through these things, which ought to be helps, and not make them into barriers…. You have to get to God, dear heart.

As I pray Scripture out of a desire to “get to God,” my goal is to pray with feeling. When I used to act on stage, I would read a script with all the fervor and intention it takes to create a person wholly different from myself. My lines were there to breathe life into my new character. So even when I was sick or exhausted or heartbroken, I stepped out on that stage and said my lines with all the emotion I could summon—because my character’s very life depended on it.

In a similar way, I ask God to help me engage with his words in a way that makes me feel the life in them, even during my deepest funks and fatigues. After all, his Script is “no empty word for me, but my very life” (Deuteronomy 32:47).

Below are two passages I’ve prayed in recent days as a way to “get to God”:

Jeremiah 32:37-42

Lord, make me dwell in safety today. Let me live in the shelter of knowing that I am yours and you are my God. Give Eddie and me one heart and one way, that we may fear you forever, for our own good and for the good of our son. Thank you for making an everlasting covenant with me, that you will not turn away from doing me good. Put the fear of you (not man) in my heart, that I might not turn away from you. Bring me great peace as I remember that you rejoice to do me good, and you have planted me in this land of faithfulness with all your heart and with all your soul. Help me to believe that you want to bring upon me all the good that you’ve promised me—even in the wake of disaster.

Psalm 37

O my soul, don’t fret about the wicked and wickedness all around you. Don’t envy their power and exaltation and ease. For they will soon be mowed down like grass and wither like green herbs.

Lord, I want to trust in You and do good. Help me to dwell in this land faithfully, joyfully.

O Father, even now my head and heart are all over the place, but I ask you to let me delight in you above all else today, and I trust that as I do that, you will give me what I most desire.

Once again today I commit my way to you; I trust in you and know that you will act. You will act on behalf of me, Eddie, Jeremy, our circle of friends, those we want to come to know you. Be active in all of our lives today!

Let my righteousness in you shine as the light, my justification in you like noonday.

Help me be still before you and wait patiently for you. Again, don’t let me worry about those who seem to be prospering while we suffer, nor about those who carry out evil plans!

Give me the grace to refrain from anger—help me run from wrath. Give me the grace to not fret because I know it tends only to evil.