It has been a long day and you’re eager to get away to ease your mind. It’s the 3rd time you checked your watch in the last hour. It’s not like you have anywhere to be. What’s the root cause of this uneasiness?
Your time spent in devotion feels like a distance memory. What you remember is that you had your devotion but not the actual insight you got during that time.
It’s not that way everyday. Some days, that feeling and sense of connecting with him lasts longer than usual. But, come 3pm it feels like being back to square one. Does it have to be that way?
Discovering a Better Way
Spending time in morning devotion is something most believers cherish. You might refer to this as your quiet time.
It might not feel as passionate as it did early in your walk with God, but you know its value. So you keep at it.
Somedays, that time feels like a checkbox . “I did it, so I’m good with God”.Other days, you almost don’t want to leave.
Yet, is it possible to carry that deep connection with God beyond this sweet moment?
The Act of Practicing God’s Presence
At its core practicing God’s presence is being in that state of receptiveness and responsiveness to God’s nudging.
One question that has likely lingered on your mind as a believer is, “Can I experience this all day? If so, what does that entail?”
His recommendations are still very relevant, even after 400 years. Here are the highlights:
1. Converse with God often:
Take advantage of every opportunity to converse with God.
Looking for a parking spot? Tell Him: “Lord, help me find a good spot”.
About to go into a tough meeting? “Lord, help me out on this one”.
In a tough conversation with a coworker? “Lord, give me the right words to say”.
It’s about taking every opportunity to speak to Him. It’s a way of keeping Him on your mind and positioning your heart to listen.
2. Refer All You Do to Him:
This is where you express clear dependence on God. This applies even in things you are super skilled at or take for granted.
Getting on the treadmill for a run? “Lord, help me be safe and have a good work out”.
About to write code or sketch a painting? “Help me be creative and productive”.
Relaxing and watching a game of football with friends? “Lord, help us have fun regardless of the outcome and to enjoy this time together”.
3. Quickly Refocus When Distracted:
For the righteous falls seven times and rises again – Proverbs 24:16
Over the course of most days we miss the mark. We get off track in our speech, thoughts or how we act towards others or around them. Brother Lawrence’s encouragement is to quickly refocus when this happens.
This involves a redirection of our heart and gaze on God. Let Him pick you up and you keep going.
4. Avoid Those Things That Don’t Lead to Him
This one packs a lot of punch. Yet, if you think about it, it makes complete sense.
If a thought, action, conversation or environment doesn’t lead your heart to God you can’t really be practicing His presence because He’s not present. There’s a potential of this being subjective. One thing that might lead someone away from him might not lead you away from him. A friend may struggle with being around bars because of strong memories and bad habits from the past. But, you might not.
Hanging out in a bar with coworkers could be an opportunity for you to be light and an example. You very well could practice God’s presence there as you converse often with Him, refer all to Him and quickly refocus with His grace.
Related Post: A Higher Perspective
The Right Lens For the Right Frame of Mind
One caution here is in line with Paul’s admonition:
Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died. So do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding. – Romans 14:13-19 NIV
He goes on further to say:
It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble. The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves. But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin – Roman 14:21-23 NIV
This is one side of the coin. The other is what you expose yourself to that doesn’t lead you to him. You ought to avoid what leads you to stumble. Remember
“pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.”