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Staying Close to Him

March 04, 2024
Dick Leggatt

Do you feel close to the Lord right now? Would you like to draw closer to Him? What steps do we need to take to increase the intimacy of our relationship with Jesus?

I am constantly amazed at how easy it is for me to drift away from a flowing, close relationship with the Lord. Today, as I was reflecting on this dilemma in my own life, the thought from Psalm 131:2 came to mind: “…like a weaned child with his mother.” An un-weaned child leans in toward the mom seeking food, and that is perfectly normal. But a weaned child simply wants to be near—a great picture for staying close to Him.

“I Will Draw Near”

When Cindi and I lived in Cleveland, we were a part of the local International House of Prayer (IHOP) established there in 2001. My regularly scheduled “slot” to lead worship was Wednesday morning from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. For many of those early sessions, I ended up sitting at the keyboard at IHOP all by myself. During those solitary times, I learned a lot about being a worshipper—a great season of staying close to Him.

One of those morning worship sessions especially sticks out in my memory. I was playing the section of “Better Is One Day” which contains these lyrics: “My heart and flesh cry out for You, the living God; Your Spirit’s water for my soul. I’ve tasted and I’ve seen; come once again to me. I will draw near to You; I will draw near to You.”

All by myself, with no one else attending this prayer/worship session, I just kept repeating that phrase: “I will draw near to You; I will draw near to You.” This repetition probably went on for about 15 minutes or so. As I kept singing this phrase over and over, I progressively sensed the nearness of the Lord Jesus. My aim had been to express my desire to draw near and stay close to Him. But His response was to draw near to me.

An Intentional Decision

Drawing near to the Lord is not always the most natural instinct for you and me. Often, it requires a decision on our part—especially when we face disappointment and stress. One of the greatest examples of this intentional response is David in 1 Samuel 30.

At a season of his life when David was already experiencing some significant disappointments, catastrophe struck. He and his men returned from three days of battle to discover that the Amalekites had raided their camp at Ziklag, burned it to the ground, and taken captive their wives, children, and livestock. Honestly, had I been David, I might have been tempted to withdraw from the Lord in a huff, telling Him: “This is the last straw! Isn’t it bad enough that I’m out here on the backside of the desert, serving the Philistines with a ragtag bunch of losers, and You allow this to happen to me as well?”

Sometimes, when calamity strikes, our first response is to blame the Lord for it and to withdraw from Him in resentment. Amazingly, David did just the opposite.

Some Helpful Lessons

Even when he was facing great distress and pressure, David took some steps that set a great example. They show us how to draw near to the Lord and stay close to Him.

Verse 6 tells us: “Now David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved….” What was David’s response to this dilemma? We see the answer at the end of verse 6: “But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God.” His next step is in verse 8: “So David inquired of the LORD….”

You and I might have been tempted to distance ourselves from God, complaining and sulking over our misfortunes. But David, in contrast, pulled in close to the Lord.

Despite the difficulties we may face, our strength lies in staying close to Him.

A Lifelong Process

Drawing near to Jesus requires intentionality on our part. Derek Prince makes this point absolutely clear in week two of a three-week radio series under the overall title of “Twelve Steps to a Good Year.” His theme for that week was, “Let Us Press on to Maturity,” a clear signal that staying close to Jesus has to be a deliberate process for us.

Notice, first of all [in Proverbs 4:18] that righteousness is a path. A path is something we move along. A path is never designed to stand still in, much less to sit down in. So, righteousness is a path. It implies motion; it implies progress; it implies development.
Then it says this path is like the light of dawn. That is when we first come to know the Lord in His glorious fullness as Savior and Lord. It’s like a sun rising after the darkness. It’s like a dawn that comes in our hearts. But that dawn is not the end of God’s purposes; it is the beginning.
It says this path is like the light of dawn that shines brighter and brighter until the full day. So, when we are walking in the path of righteousness, the light should always be getting brighter on our day. Each step, each day, the light should be brighter than it was before. It says, “until the full day.” That’s our destination: “the full day,” the height of noonday.
God is not content that we stop at less than that full brightness of the noonday sun. The dawn is our beginning point; the path is the way of progress; the light gets brighter and brighter. But there is no permitted stopping place until we reach the full day.

Drawing Close

Have you had some upsetting, disappointing experiences? Or even a traumatic one like David endured? Or is it simply the hectic pace of life that derails you? Have any of these circumstances served to stifle your determination to stay close to the Lord?

I hope the personal thoughts shared in this letter, along with Derek’s teaching, have encouraged you to draw close to Jesus. Even if there haven’t been specific difficult experiences, you may sense an increasing need to draw near to Him in these challenging times. Why don’t you and I express that desire with the following prayer together?

Dear Lord, my heart’s desire is to be close to You always. Sometimes, the trials I experience, along with the frantic pace of life, tend to separate me from You and drive us farther apart. That is not at all what I want or need in my relationship with You, Lord Jesus. May that tendency end today!

With this prayer, I want to come to You with all my heart and with all my strength. As the song says, “I will draw near to You; I will draw near to You!” That is my intention, and now it is my declaration. I come to You now, Lord, drawing near to You with the full intention to stay close to You.

Thank You for helping me to draw near. I know that as I come closer to You, dear Lord, you are drawing closer to me. Thank You, Lord. Amen.

A Continual Emphasis

What you and I have just expressed to the Lord is really something we could say to Him every minute of every day. I believe His heart would be blessed to hear these words more often from us. So, let’s make it our continuing goal to stay close to Him.

All of us here at Derek Prince Ministries want to support you in your desire to draw nearer to the Lord, and we want to help in any way we can. We would be absolutely delighted to provide you with the full message, “Twelve Steps (Week Two)” from which we drew the quote by Derek. We know it will strengthen you in your resolve to maintain a close relationship with Jesus. Our prayers are with you in that pursuit.

Please allow us to thank you again for your prayers and your faithful financial support. Great advances are taking place all over the world through the dissemination of Derek Prince’s teaching, and you are a vital part of that effort. Thank you again.

His Nearness; Our Good

A desire to stay close to the Lord as highlighted in this letter is one of the most basic and beneficial pursuits of the Christian life. As Derek pointed out in many of his messages, some acts of obedience are nothing more than the best kind of “enlightened self-interest.” One such “selfish” step that is beneficial to us? Staying close to Him.

The passage that comes to mind as one of the best expressions of the benefits of closeness to the Lord is Psalm 73:28. The NASB 1995 version simply states it this way: “But as for me, the nearness of God is my good.” When we experience the Lord drawing close to us, it is a wonderful benefit to us in our relationship with Jesus Christ.

This same thought is expressed in a slightly different way in the New King James Version—and this rendition reflects the theme of this letter a little more closely: “But it is good for me to draw near to God.” It is a good pursuit for us—staying close to Him.

All the best,

Dick Leggatt
President, DPM–USA

Twelve Steps To A Good Year

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