How do you think of God? Is God, to you, a remote Being who is available to you when you think you need Him? Is He just a sort of institution or tradition in your home, a faraway Someone about whom you read and to whom you pray? If this is true of you and I, we’d better shake ourselves out of our apathy and become aware of this reality: God is our creator (He made us), our Sustainer (whether we live or die is up to Him; He also preserves us spiritually), our Father (He rules us and demands of us obedience) and our Friend.

The relationship of friendship is a very special one. Those who are friends have an intimate knowledge of each other. They know the innermost feelings of the other, they know the other’s personality, his likes and dislikes, almost everything about him. So it is with God and us. Although we do not know God perfectly, as He knows us, we do have or can have a complete knowledge of Him through a study of His Word. As it is with any other friendship, this knowledge is necessary for a sincere and truly God-glorifying relation­ship. This is why a personal study of God’s Word is so important. It is true that the preaching is the chief means of grace and thus is the chief means whereby we know God, but we cannot just sit back and expect the Holy Spirit to work in our hearts and make us spiritually strong, without ourselves taking interest in learning of God. Take time to read and study God’s Word, even if it is only a verse or two a night. Your own spiritual sensitivity will be greatly increased and you will grow in the knowledge and love of God.

Another aspect of friendship is communication. Friends are people who confide in each other. They share with each other their deepest thoughts, their hopes, their fears, their aims, their hearts. So we do with God. In fact, talking with God about our problems, our joys, our deep spiritual desires should be as natural as talking to our friends. And because God is everywhere- present, we don’t have to wait until mealtime or until we’re all alone to commune with God. We can talk to God at any time and in any place. For example, a time for communion and talking with God can be as you drive down the road on your way to work or to school. Some would not call this prayer, but no matter what you call it, it is communion with God and God does hear it as long as it is sincere. These things are necessary for true and sincere prayer or communion with God (Heidelberg Catechism, Question and Answer 117): That our prayer is from the heart and to the one true God; that in our prayer we know our need and misery so that we experience a knowledge of God’s divine majesty and our own nothingness; that we pray in the knowledge that God hears us on Christ’s merits even though we are not worthy in ourselves. We can see, then, that talking with God, although He is a friend, is not like talking to another of our friends. It demands a very deep respect and humble adoration, something far greater than that which we would even give a human dignitary.

There is one more thing we must say about our communion with God. With our earthly friends, communication always goes both ways. They confide in us and we confide in them. In a sense this is true of our relationship with God, too. The difference is that God’s communication with us isn’t for the purpose of sharing with us His problems. Rather it is for the purpose of teaching us of Himself, showing to us what His will is concerning us, how we must conduct ourselves in our daily lives, etc. From this we can see that our prayer is not necessary for God’s sake, so He will be able to make wise decisions where we are concerned; but rather, prayer is necessary for our sakes, so that we may convey to God our sincere sorrow for sin and our deep thankfulness for deliverance from that sin, and also (Heidelberg Catechism, Question and Answer 116) “because God will give His grace and Holy Spirit to those only, who with sincere desires continually ask them of Him, and are thankful for them.” Again we see that we may not just sit back and wait for God to miraculously give us grace. God works through earthly means. He gives us spiritual growth in the way of our striving for it. This is a fact which we as young people seem to ignore. We seem sometimes to think that being Protestant Reformed, attending church twice every Sunday, going to catechism and praying around the table with our families constitutes a satisfactory amount of “religion” in our lives. How vain and empty can we get?! This kind of an attitude is the result of a selfish and wrong perspective on life – an idea that all things do or should revolve around us. Instead, our perspective should be God centered. We should look at life in this way: God is infinite. He always has existed and always will exist. In contrast, we are finite, in fact so finite that the whole of human existence can be repre­sented on an unending “time line” of God’s existence as the very tiniest dot. Then we, among the huge number of all individuals that ever did or will exist, aren’t even worth thinking about. If we think of life from this viewpoint, it will be obvious and real to us that God doesn’t exist for our sakes – to make our lives easier, but we were created for God’s sake – to glorify Him. In light of this perspective, we certainly won’t be selfish and self-centered, doing things because we like to or because it’s so much fun. Instead we will have God as the center of our lives and the criterion by which we will judge our actions and activities will be God’s Word and His commands and His will.

In conclusion, let’s remember that prayer is a privilege – a privilege given only to Israel. Anyone can utter a pretense of prayer, but only God’s people can truly pray and only they are heard by God. So let us as young people learn to make personal use of this most rewarding privilege and thus grow in the knowledge and love of God.

The Christian is placed in many different circumstances while on this earth. Some are characterized by hardships and trials, and others are full of joy and peace. How should the Christian respond? Throughout the Bible there are numerous times where God’s people sang in response to their various circumstances. Singing in response to God’s ordering […]

Continue reading

The book of Proverbs was written by King Solomon to his young adult son. Solomon’s purpose in writing Proverbs was “that the generation to come might know them [God’s wonderful works]…that they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments” (Ps. 78:6–7). Throughout the book, Solomon […]

Continue reading

The group of churches that John writes to in this trio of epistles had recently experienced a split because of doctrinal controversy. We do not know the exact content of the error that these false teachers were spreading, but it is apparent from John’s writing that their teaching somehow denied the truth of the incarnation—that […]

Continue reading

Jael: An Example of Christian Warfare

This article was originally presented as a speech at a Protestant Reformed mini convention held at Quaker Haven Camp in August 2021. Jael lived during the era of the judges. Deborah the prophetess was the judge who served Israel at the time of Jael. During this time, the Canaanites under the rule of king Jabin […]

Continue reading

Indiana Mini Convention Review 2021

One of this year’s “mini conventions” was hosted by Grace and Grandville Protestant Reformed Churches at Quaker Haven Camp. Located just over two hours away in northern Indiana, the camp was a perfect fit for the 120 kids and 15 chaperones who attended. A total of twelve different churches were represented: Byron Center, Faith, First […]

Continue reading

Editorial, November 2021: Catechism Season

At the point that this edition of Beacon Lights arrives in the homes of our subscribers, most young people in the Protestant Reformed Churches will have been sitting under the catechism instruction of their pastor or elders for more than a month. If our readers are honest, that observation probably comes with a (quiet) sigh […]

Continue reading

Tennessee Young People’s Retreat 2021

The 2021 Tennessee young people’s retreat was held August 9 to 13 by Providence, Hudsonville, Unity, and First (Holland) Protestant Reformed Churches. The retreat took place at Eagle Rock Retreat Center in the city of Tallassee. It was about an eleven-hour drive, give or take a bit due to stops for food and restrooms. Though […]

Continue reading