practice the presence of God

Missing God

Our world is saturated with the Holy. It is full of God's presence. God's presence are the very waters we swim in each day, and yet every day and every week I can close each one having completely missed Him. When we realize the truth of Ephesians 4:6 that is over all, through all, and in all, there becomes a saddening reality on our part. We realize God is present everywhere, and we still miss Him entirely in the course of a day or a week.

We need what Richard Foster calls prayer of examen of consciousness. We need to recognize what Erwin McManus calls divine moments in need of seizing. We need with Brother Lawrence to practice the presence of God.

Each day is full of God's presence, and my mind and heart need to be attentive to His presence. I need to 'prayerfully reflect on the thoughts, feelings, and actions of my days to see how God has been at work among me and how I respond' to those moments.

Each day is my opportunity to be present where I am. God invites me to see and hear and respond to what is around me, and through it all, to discern the footprints of God.

What may God be doing in and through my kids today? What may God be inviting me into through the neighbor, the barista, the homeless man I come across today? What may God be teaching me or forming in me through the loss of a job, the loss of a love one, a confusing circumstance, or a relational altercation?

These are all divine moments when heaven invades earth. More specifically, these are all moments Heaven invades my world today.

I only pray and ask that I have eyes to see and ears to hear.

How to pray all the time

Endless, unbroken lives of prayer are very possible.  Through some searching and with the help of some further reading, this is beginning to be clearer and clearer. We have such a Western Christianity that we have removed a lot of understanding from original Christianity, which happens to have its roots in the East.  One large difference is in our understanding of heaven and God's presence.

Western Christianity has this understanding which prays things like, "God, please show up tonight. " "God, be with us tonight." "We prayed, and God just showed up that night."  We have this understanding of God being in heaven somewhere above the clouds awaiting our demand to show up.

Eastern Christianity; historical, Biblical Christianity has a different understanding of heaven and God's presence.  In Biblical accounts of God's presence, OT and NT, God calls out of heaven, but heaven is near.  Heaven is "at hand"...this means heaven is present around them somehow.  It was the very presence of God at hand, surrounding them.  God inhabits the space surrounding us.

This means we are constantly in the presence of God.  We do not actually need to ask for (or demand) that God "show up".  This means we have only to grope out after God, or as Luis of Granada (an old century Christian) once said, "any raising of the heart to God."

It is possible at all moments of the day to focus our hearts on God and trust that he is always present.  This means we no longer have to be preoccupied with making the sacred time, space, and words in order to really experience the presence of God.  This means that we only need to be aware of God's presence with our hearts in order to experience God's presence.  This means it is actually possible to experience god all times of the day, continually.  This means we can experience God even in the mundane tasks of a day.  This means we can join with Brother Lawrence in "Practicing the Presence of God".  This means prayer for another person can be merely feeling what they feel (as best you are able) while "raising your heart to God".  This means we may have been praying all along as long as we were placing ourselves before God.

We cannot put God into this pious little space and time and assume these are the only moments we experience the presence of God.  We cannot dissolve God out of our every day experience.  He is always present.  We only hope to grope out for him and raise our heart out to him more continually.