Scripture encourages us to:
Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face continually. I Chronicles 16:11
We can thank 16th century monk, Brother Lawrence, for coining the phrase, “practicing the presence of God.” I love that thought!
It conjures up the idea of being aware of God’s presence often—definitely when we are praying, especially when we are praying. I admit that, at times, I can verbalize to God but not fully key in with His very presence. Words in the wind, you might say.
It takes discipline to truly be aware of entering His presence as though He is sitting there with you in the room.
It means seeking the very heart of God, crying out to Him in repentance, in fervor, in earnestness Are we willing to express our anger to Him, our heartache, our desire to know Him and seek His direction more than our own, to grow in Him and receive nourishment from His vine?
That kind of praying takes work, my friend. It takes concentration. It also takes time.
Time to move from my presence into His presence. Time to talk out loud to Him, to draw up my inmost thoughts, pleas, and concerns. Time to praise and adore him before I jump into the sick list or intercession for those having difficult circumstances.
Time to sit quietly, focus, and… listen. (Oh, the hardest part of all!)
But look at the rest of Brother Lawrence’s phrase, practicing the presence of God.
Practicing means to be very intentional, even through the day—while making the bed, driving to work, walking to the grocery store, preparing to meet a friend, sitting on the bleachers at a ballgame, finding the right words in difficult situations, practicing, practicing his presence.
As Paul urges,
Pray without ceasing. I Thessalonians 5:17
This takes extreme discipline because we normally go through our days thinking about the next thing we have to do, going over our lists, engaging in an activity.
I did a little survey on Facebook this week, asking, “What time and how long do you usually spend on emails and Facebook each day. Most said about 30 minutes in the morning and 30 in the evening. One admitted what many of us need to admit—too much time.
Like all things, today’s tools can be used for good, but can also be used to excess.
Maybe social media isn’t your nemesis. There are thousands of other addictions. One way to self-examine is to think, What things are constantly on my mind?
Is it possible for us to practice the presence of God as naturally as we practice other things? As with all challenges, one step at a time.
I paused just now to pray that some phrase in this blog would stand out to you with flashing neon lights. And I prayed that I would practice what I preach.
Let’s start practicing!
~ Joyce ~