Can Keeping the Sabbath Strengthen Your Relationship with God?

Person standing on a mountain looking out over the clouds, similar to how Moses climbed the mountain of God to talk with Him.

When you want to become closer with someone, naturally you try to spend more time with them. The weekly Sabbath presents the perfect opportunity for intentional, prayerful time with God

After all, it’s a day set apart to recognize and celebrate Him as our Creator.

To make the most of the opportunity to deepen your relationship with Jesus, let’s look at:

What is the Sabbath?

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Why Should We Keep the Sabbath?
Why Should We Keep the Sabbath?

The Sabbath is a day of rest, where we pause our regular weekly obligations to honor God’s role as Creator of the world.

The Sabbath actually goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden. 

This was God’s original intention for the Sabbath. Time to spend with Him and enjoy everything He created for us

That’s why, on the seventh day of creation, God blessed the Sabbath day and “made it holy.”

And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all his work that He had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that He had done in creation.

Genesis 2:2-3 (ESV)

God ceased His work of creating as an example to us. Not only do our bodies need physical rest—we also need to rest our minds and refresh our souls. 

For 24 hours, starting Friday at sunset, we aren’t focusing on our to-do lists. We’re not doing business or expecting others to serve us. We’re making time to connect with our Creator. 

Learn more about the history and significance of the Sabbath. There’s more to learn than you might think!

So, let’s find out how we can connect with our Creator on the Sabbath day. 

Man holding a Bible as he walks through a field at sunset alone, communing with God.

How can we make the most of this Sabbath opportunity?

We can use the Sabbath to connect with God by using the time to learn more about Him, and by doing activities that keep our minds on Him and His creation.

Quality time is big in any relationship, so of course it will be important in your spiritual growth with God. 

And quality time isn’t necessarily about having time, it’s about making time. 

Imagine coming home from work and your spouse is cooking supper. You walk right past them, hurrying to collapse on the couch. Maybe you eke out a quick “hey” before catching up on work emails with the TV on in the background.

Then, when it’s time for bed, you make a comment about your schedule the next day before falling asleep. 

Obviously, if this pattern continued, your relationship would suffer. When every interaction is rushed, social connections never deepen. 

No, it’s not wrong to check your emails or update your appointment calendars. These things often need our attention. 

However, it’s small things that pile up and consume our attention that can also keep us from actively pursuing a relationship with God. 

Just as you would make time for a friend to strengthen that relationship, your relationship with God is strengthened when you take time to get to know Him better. 

Here are some ways to do just that.

A pastor praying in the front of the church santuary before giving the congregation the Sabbath sermon.

Study the Bible on Sabbath

What better way to connect with God than to read the Word of God?

We even find that Jesus “went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read” (Luke 4:16, ESV). Studying Scripture has long been a Sabbath tradition, both in groups and in solitude.

The Sabbath offers undistracted time to read and reflect on the passages you read. Try keeping a notebook or journal with your Bible, so you can write down any questions or thoughts that come to mind while you study

Remember to pray before, during, and after your study as well. Make it not only a study time, but a time of communing with the One you’re wanting to learn more about. 

Reading the Bible can also show us other ways to spend time with God.

For example, reading the Psalms can teach us examples of praise, prayer, and worship to God.

Worship God on Sabbath

Worshipping God and praising Him, like we see David do in the Psalms, allows us to focus on how amazing and incredible He truly is. 

As we welcome the 24-hour Sabbath at Friday evening’s sunset, we can tune our hearts to a spirit of worship.

…True worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth…

John 4:23 (ESV)

Lord, You are my God; I will exalt You, I will give thanks to Your name; For You have worked wonders, plans formed long ago, with perfect faithfulness.

Isaiah 25:1 (NASB)

Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe.

Hebrews 12:28 (ESV)

Worship is a heartfelt expression of adoration and respect. It can take many forms:

  • Music (listening, singing, playing)
  • Prayer
  • Reflection
  • Testifying of what God has done 
  • Church services / corporate worship

The Bible gives us many examples of God’s people singing, shouting, clapping, or even simply praying together. All in the name of God’s sovereignty and love.

Whichever form of worship you choose, know that God delights in it. Your sincerity is all that matters.

Attending church on Sabbath

This form of worship, praising God with a faith community, is such a great way to connect with God as we also connect with others who believe in and seek Him.

The Bible even talks about gathering together on Sabbath for “a holy convocation,” or an assembly of God’s people (Leviticus 23:3).

Both the Israelites and the early Christians met together to worship and encourage one another each Sabbath.

As they went out, the people begged that these things might be told them the next Sabbath. And after the meeting of the synagogue broke up, many Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who, as they spoke with them, urged them to continue in the grace of God. The next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord.

Acts 13:42-44 (ESV)

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

Hebrews 10:24, 25 (ESV)

It’s beneficial in multifaceted ways for believers to gather, learn, and worship together. Being an active part of God’s family of believers can be such a great blessing to you and your family each week.

And Jesus promises that when we gather together, His Spirit is there with us:

For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.

Matthew 18:20 (ESV)

Just like we have an innate need for community in our everyday lives, we need the community of other believers as well. God is a relational God, and we all long for meaningful connections. And through these profound connections with others, we can also get profound glimpses of God.

Praying on Sabbath

Since we’re making time for God on Sabbath, it’s the perfect opportunity to enrich your prayer life.

Prayer involves intentionally directing our attention to God. 

Just like when we sit down with a friend, there’s eye contact, we silence our chatter, and we make it plain that we’re here to listen, share, and reflect together. It’s a similar intentionality with prayer, even if we can’t “see” God sitting with us.

Through prayer we can more clearly hear God communicating with us. We can use prayer to praise God, confess our sins, express gratitude, and ask for guidance.

But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Matthew 6:6 (ESV)

And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.

Luke 18:1 (ESV)

Prayer helps us connect to God in a meaningful, personal way. That’s why the Bible also encourages us to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). God invites us to pray to Him anytime, anywhere, in any way.

But the Sabbath is a special day that allows us to focus on connecting with God more deeply, without the distractions of everything else. We don’t have to feel rushed or hampered by the demands of the workweek.

Fellowship with other believers on Sabbath

As we established earlier, the Sabbath is a wonderful time to connect with other believers who encourage us in our walk with Jesus. 

We can learn so much from each other, and by connecting with them, we can see the different creative sides of God. As a relational God that also valued uniqueness and cooperation, we can see different facets of God’s “personality” expressed in those He created.  

And by gathering together with the intention to study God’s Word, or spend time with others with a spiritual focus, we’re following the example of Jesus’ disciples and the Christians of the early church.

They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

Acts 2:42 (NASB)

Having friends to hold you accountable is also important to Christian growth. The perspective of others who care about God and about us is invaluable. And as Christians, we can help each through hard times, and “encourage one another and build one another up” (1 Thessalonians 5:11, ESV).

Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.

Proverbs 27:17 (NASB)

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

Galatians 6:2 (ESV)

Enjoying Nature on Sabbath

Since Sabbath is a celebration of Creation, it only makes sense to celebrate His creative power by spending time in nature.

With a day set aside, we can reflect on God’s love for us through the beauty of His creation. Enjoy the fresh air, colorful landscapes, and majestic sky. Experience the quiet and calm you can get by leaving behind the hustle and bustle.  

The Bible talks about how we can connect to God through nature. God reveals Himself through His handiwork.

For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made…

Romans 1:20 (ESV)

The world around us testifies to God’s power. When we look for Him, we see Him in every work of creation. Even though the earth is flawed by sin, glimmers of the majesty of God’s creativity still shine through. 

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. Without speech or language, without a sound to be heard, their voice has gone out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.

Psalm 19:1-4 (ESV)

It might even help to bring your Bible with you when you go outside. Read the story of creation, especially when it talks about the Sabbath. Take in the beauty around you, reflecting on how God spent the very first Sabbath.

Person sitting studying a highlighted Bible, to better understand God’s Word.

Keeping Sabbath helps us put God first

We make time for what’s important to us. If there’s something we want in our lives, we’ll often rearrange whatever we can to make it fit.

The truth is, we’re all busy. But we all make choices each day about how we’ll spend our time. Each one of us has the same number of hours and minutes in a day. 

What’s important to you?

God commanded us to keep His Sabbath day holy for our own good. But just because it’s part of the Law of God doesn’t mean the Sabbath is about a list of dos and don’ts. 

In fact, the Sabbath was given to us as a gift of God’s grace. Just like all of God’s laws, the point of them is to promote and preserve our happiness, our capacity to love, our strength, and our devotion to Him as Creator and Sustainer. 

Keeping the Sabbath is something we do out of love for our Creator—not because we have to.

And once we understand the significance of the seventh-day Sabbath, setting aside that time each week can become something we look forward to. It can be invigorating to discover how the Sabbath offers you time to rest and connect with God.

Making the Sabbath a priority honors God and expresses gratitude that He made us and the world we live in. 

It also expresses faith that, even though we broke the world He gave us, He still allows us to be connected with Him. And this points forward to heaven…when we will enjoy His creation in perfection, without the taint of sin.

Embracing Sabbath like this can draw you closer to God in ways you may have never imagined. And it can be a sampling of His creative majesty, that we will one day experience in full, after Jesus returns

This Sabbath, connect with God and worship with fellow believers in a local Seventh-day Adventist church near you. Or you can join us online!