How To Get Closer to God in College: Top Tips

College friends praying together outside

As you navigate your way through the world, it’s likely that you’ll find yourself becoming busier and busier with each passing year. When you’re ready to head off to college and take your first steps toward independence, you may become so busy with classes, new friends and social activities on campus that it can sometimes be tough to spend time with God. However, routinely nurturing your faith is important for your spirituality.

There are plenty of opportunities to integrate worship and spiritual reflection into your daily routine. In addition to attending worship services every week, you can use the following tips and strategies. Learn how to get closer to God below.

In This Article:

How To Nurture Your Faith in College

It’s often thought that young people are most likely to stop practicing their religion when they move away from home to attend college. This may be caused by several reasons, such as their parents are no longer reminding them to go to church or pray to God. In addition, it can be easier to nurture your faith in college if the school you are committing to is based on Christian values, like Grand Canyon University. The student experience can vary widely depending on the context and goals of your chosen school.

In fact, a scientific study has found that “college’s effect on students’ religious beliefs is both weak and fragmented,” and that the substantial broadening of a college student’s social connections on campus may actually work to “sustain religious beliefs as well as religious practice and commitment.”1

Nevertheless, it is indeed possible for college students to drift farther from God if they don’t make time for regular, ongoing spiritual reflection, prayer and worship.

How To Get Closer to God

College students are often very busy. It can be difficult to find the time for prayer when you’re attending a full schedule of classes, studying for exams, meeting new friends and exploring your new community. Use the following tips and strategies to address the issue of how to get closer to God.

Get Involved in On-Campus Religious Activities

Your school may offer a weekly worship service that you can attend. However, you can also look beyond the weekly service to find other activities. For example, the Department of Spiritual Life at GCU offers outreach activities, weekly Bible studies groups and more. Students can also participate in student-led Life Groups, which involve Bible study sessions that are also intended to build peer relationships.

If your school doesn’t offer much in the way of religious activities on campus, you can look beyond campus to the greater community. Find a church near campus that offers a full calendar of activities to participate in.

Consider Using the Buddy System

Even if you make a good-faith attempt to attend weekly worship services and participate in church-related activities, you may find that, over time, you participate less and less. If you are slipping into this tendency and you want to hold yourself accountable for regular attendance, consider using the buddy system.

Find someone in your dorm, class or campus club who is facing the same challenge as you. The two of you can hold each other accountable for attending services regularly by going together. You might even go to a cafe together afterward to enjoy coffee while discussing the topic of that day’s sermon or Bible studies class.

Adjust Your Schedule and Routine To Spend Time With God

You might use a day planner or a scheduling app to keep track of your classes and study schedule, as well as your other commitments. So, why not schedule time with God?

In addition to scheduling time for prayer and worship services, look for ways to adjust your daily routine to allow yourself to grow closer to God. You don’t need to be in a specific place to communicate with God. Choose a few times during the day for check-ins. Here are a few ideas:

  • Before going to sleep at night
  • Before getting out of bed in the morning
  • While commuting to and from campus
  • While working out in the gym
  • While brushing your teeth

Show Your Faith With Your Daily Actions

Although communicating with God and attending worship services are important ways of practicing your faith, you can also demonstrate your faith through your everyday actions. Strive to be a role model for other Christians in your life by living with integrity and Christ-centered purpose.

Showing your faith with your daily actions doesn’t have to be a burden to your schedule; it can easily fit into your daily routine. Here are a few ideas:

  • Lift up other people emotionally when they are feeling down.
  • Say a prayer of thanks before meals.
  • When dining with other Christians, discuss your faith and ask others to share what they are thankful for.
  • Remember that forgiveness is central to the Christian faith. When someone hurts you, do your best to forgive them and move on.
  • Enjoy listening to Christian music while you’re studying.
  • Listen to a Christian podcast while driving or commuting on public transportation.

Try Using a Daily Devotional App

The Christian faith has existed for quite a long time now, but nothing in the Bible says it can’t go high-tech. You might consider using an app to guide you through a daily devotional.

A devotional can offer a scriptural passage for your consideration, perhaps paired with a short reflection. It may also offer a suggested prayer. Daily devotionals tend to be fairly short, but they do require some reflection. Try to set aside just 10 minutes per day for your daily devotional.

You may find it easier to stick to the schedule of doing a daily devotional if you use an app. There are plenty of daily devotional apps to choose from. Some of them even offer Bible trivia questions to help you further engage with biblical teachings.2

If daily devotional apps is something you are into, there are also various apps for spiritual growth that you can check out.3

Turn Your Social Media Scrolling Into a Higher Purpose

If you’re like many college students, you probably spend a great deal of time on social media. You may have been told that in order to spend more time with God, you’ll need to cut down on the amount of time you spend scrolling through your social media feeds. However, there is an alternative option.

Consider using your social media time for a higher purpose. Follow accounts and join groups that have a Christ-centered purpose. You’ll not only have opportunities to grow closer to your faith each time you take out your smartphone, but you can also connect with others around the world who share your faith.

Enjoy God’s Creation on the Weekends

If you do happen to have a block of free time on a weekend or during a school break, consider using the time to get out in nature and enjoy God’s creation. Ask a Christian friend from school to go on a nature hike with you. Climb a mountain, marvel at a canyon or simply take some time to enjoy the songs of birds.

Grand Canyon University is a private, Christian school that encourages our student body to regularly spend time with God and nurture their faith. We offer academically rich degree programs rooted in the Christian worldview, and we strive to instill a sense of Christ-centered purpose in our students. At GCU, you’ll find countless opportunities to grow closer to God and stronger in your faith. 

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1 Mayrl, D., Uecker, J. (2011, September 10). Higher education and religious liberalization among young adults. National Library of Medicine. Retrieved Aug. 24, 2023. 

2 (2023). Crosswalk’s top 11 devotional apps everyone should know about. Salem Web Network. Retrieved Aug. 29, 2023. 

3 Benjamin writes. (2023). 5 Recommended Spiritual Growth Apps for Believers. The New Man Movement. Retrieved Oct. 14, 2023


Approved by the dean of the College of Theology on Oct. 9, 2023.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.