EXTRA!!! Finding God’s Presnce

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

What is God’s will for us? Where can we find joy? Is it God’s will that we find joy? What should we pray about?929 112-LR

All these questions are answered in the three short verses above!  God’s will for us is that we be joyful, that we pray continually, and that we give thanks in all circumstances.

I don’t know about you, but this seems rather simple to me. Why do so many people say that it is so hard?

When we pray, whose presence are we in?  God’s of course.

How easy is it to slip back into the old ways when we are in His presence?  Not very, for we are centering on our relationship with Him.  We fall backwards when we are looking away from Him, isn’t that right? So, maybe the key is to do what Paul said, and pray continually!

But how?  We have families, chores, jobs, school…! The answer is so easy and so obvious that most of us miss it; just talk to Him!

Yes, that’s right, just talk to Him!!!

Talk to the Lord all the time.  Start when you wake up, “Good morning, Lord, thanks for a new day.”  Was that difficult?  Then, as you get ready, keep talking to Him about your day, about the things on your mind, about how much you love Him, and how thankful you are for all that He has done in your life, and the lives of those around you.  Talk to Him about how much you want to serve Him today, and that you want to serve Him today because you love Him.  Talk to Him on your way out the door, on the bus, in traffic, at your work station.  Talk to Him about your work and how you want to do the very best you can so that that He can be glorified… because of how much you love Him.  Talk to Him at lunch, on your way home, in the kitchen, at the dinner table…

Develop the habit of talking to God!  Approach this not in fear and trembling, but as though you are with your very best friend in all the world… because you are!  He is the friend that you can say everything to, your fears, your sins, your mistakes… He knows about them anyway, so why not get these things off your chest? You see, we don’t need any formal written prayers, that are of dubious value anyway, for this isn’t a corporate or ceremonial thing.  It’s just you and the Lord.  Nobody needs to know, except for the Lord… but soon, everybody will see the difference it makes in who you are and how you behave.  They will see your joy, your inner peace and your new inner strength.  Your whole outlook on life will change as you make this practice a part of who you are in Christ, for this is where spiritual growth will take place.

None of this means that you might not have a more formal time set aside for prayer and reflection; this will enhance it.  This does not mean that you don’t study the Word; it will enhance your study. This does not mean that you skip church; it will enhance it.

Some of you will note that I’m not saying anything that hasn’t been said before by others, and that is true.  This practice of continual prayer is as old as the Scriptures, and over the centuries many have written about it, including Brother Lawrence in the classic “The Practice of the Presence of God.”  You need not take my word for it, you can get that on the internet for free.

Or, you can just start talking to God right now.  Tell Him how much you love Him in your own simple words, in your own heartfelt way, and be ready to be amazed at where he will lead you!

ALSO… I’ve added a page with links to my posts on the Journey.  You might have seen them last Fall, they are the ones about spiritual practices, and you may want to check them out again for more information on this topic!

About Don Merritt

A long time teacher and writer, Don hopes to share his varied life's experiences in a different way with a Christian perspective.
This entry was posted in Christian Life and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to EXTRA!!! Finding God’s Presnce

  1. Little Monk says:

    This is terrific, Don. I’m so very happy when I see people offer this insight and recommendation. It’s hard to learn to do this, when it sounds so “crazy” to normal middle-American life. I mean for lots of folks this is what “Bible thumpers”, or “holy rollers”, or “religious” (liturgical professed clergy), do… but… but… not ME. It’s not really meant for ME. When the reality is… um… yeah… it IS. This is not a practice of the “religious fringe”… we have this Eternal and Omnipresent God. He’s already HERE. So, um, like… TALKING to Him, just seems the right thing to do, eh?

    One thought came to me as I read through this great post… We tend to find this “easier” when we’re in the “right mood”. When we waken sensing grace in our lives, when we feel submissive and grateful to God, or even when we have needs (whether for ourselves or others) and we acknowledge His power, grace, love, and authority. Like kids who are fine hanging out at home or encountering Dad when we’re clean, well behaved, and our report cards are in order. But then, there’s those OTHER times.

    I often find it’s those other times when these verses are the most challenging. But David is my unending source of encouragement and inspiration here… along with Peter… and even Jesus Himself. “Praying always” doesn’t mean we always “feel” holy, or grateful, or gracious, or even loving. It is the greatest gift to my life to know I can “run to the Father”, I can “pray” SAFELY, even when I am utterly out of order. Whether I’m feeling selfish, or angry (even with HIM), or frightened, or depressed, or discouraged… He doesn’t say, has never said, “Come to Me, when your ducks are all marching in a straight line”.

    He just says “Come”… and I’ve never known Him to turn me away, or strike me, or criticize or condemn me for coming. If, when, my heart is out of order… He yet waits me out and comforts, until I am calm enough, still enough, to engage with Him and see, and hear. In fact, I regain my composure all the more quickly when I DO go to Him… in whatever disheveled state I am in.

    Just thought I’d add that. “Pray Always”… and the rest of this instruction, don’t just apply to when we feel all “bright and beautiful”… but perhaps even more deeply when we do not.

    Great series and post! Grace — LM

    • Don Merritt says:

      LM, this is a really great comment, because it isn’t something that even occurred to me. I’m not one who even thinks of “feelings” when it comes to these kinds of things! To me it’s about what I know to be the truth, so pray continually is a fact, so what are you waiting for! LOL

      That said, I’m probably in the minority, so I didn’t address that aspect, so THANK YOU!

      Isn’t it an amazing thing that with all of our differing gifts, abilities, personalities and all that, God can still use as as a Team, as His Body in so many ways, for different perspectives to accomplish His purposes!

      Yes, an Awesome God is He!

  2. paulfg says:

    “Simple” doesn’t do this justice, and the two comments above add so much. Two cents or pennies with love from me.

    One cent: chatting, talking, praying, etc. no one I know does that 24/7. That is “noise” rather than relationship. For me relationship includes silence to just be together. Aware. Appreciating. Enjoying. Togetherness. A sort of love thing. I find myself enjoying the silences – as opposed to “forgetting”

    Two cent: positive grateful praise without irritation sadness anger is just not my relationship. I have been known to have a “vibrant” conversation ending with me growling to him “prove it then”. He did in a very loving way. I reckon he loves me. And that is what he gets.

    Which is why if “pray” is what you do, fine with me. I find that word means less than “relationship” as described in all the lovely words above. One of you said “words are important”. And that is why my concern is that “prayer” means different things to different people.

    • Don Merritt says:

      Relationships are funny things, aren’t they? no two are exactly the same. Some argue and push… and work. others have quiet delicate conversation… and work. Still others have long silences that bring the parties closer together… and work. Still others do all three (and more) at various times. Seems to me the key element is for the parties to communicate, and in our relationship with God, once communication begins, we just let Him lead.

  3. Great post! Living like you recommend, (always talking to God) turns into transformation! The more we have this constant communication with God, the more we want what God wants, as he wants it, and when he wants it. When we don’t get what we want right away, (for example; a mother praying for a prodigal son to give up his sinful ways) we have to continue to pray always, in faith. How long? We must never give up, we keep praying till the day we die! In faith, and peace. Really liked your post!

  4. ascendinhim says:

    Reblogged this on Ascend In Him and commented:
    Be encouraged, soldiers.

  5. Im coming to really enjoy your posts more and more. I look forward to see what you will write next. thank you again

  6. vwoods1212 says:

    Hey DM, great post as usual. I think what I heard some young Christians term it is “cares of life”; which prevents them from doing what you suggest. I don’t know, I think they use that word so pat that it just might become a slang.

  7. Enjoyed post and subsequent comments that have added so much. I like to remind some of my friends that praying is also conversation – not that we lose our awe of His infinite HUGENESS, power and all that He has done, but that we don’t trivialize or objectify Him by falling into repeating mindless phrases (as many evangelicals do, sadly), or by using His name/variants as space fillers when we are just taking up air time because we really have nothing to say and so should just be still and know He is God:

    John, I just think you are amazing, John, and I wanted to say how much I appreciate what you do, brother, because, John, I don’t think I have really ever said it enough, bro. But John, I hope that we can take more time, brother, to get together, because, Jon-Jon, you are my special little bro. Thanks, John for listening to me yammer on, kiddo.
    (Aack! Gag! Brrrr! We wouldn’t do that to anyone else, but we do that to Him?)

    A few other things about prayer come to mind, but I don’t think this is the best venue to address them because they might distract from what you are trying to convey.

    • Don Merritt says:

      Point taken, thanks! I think that conversation with God reveals His awesomeness even more; imagine, this great God will actually talk with me!!!! WOW!

      • That’s the benefit of being still and meditating on what He has done. I look at the world, the stars, and consider His hugeness, and yet His concern for us, and it can become overwhelming and breathtaking. I imagine standing in front of the sun (trying) while at the same time realizing how small it is, and that He made it, and it helps with perspective. My ‘buddy’ He isn’t. My Creator God and Father He is, yet He has made a way for us to safely enter His presence. Holy is He!

  8. Elaine says:

    What a great question and great post! Why, indeed do we try to turn something so easy into something so complicated? Seems at times we are our own worst enemies and we work overtime at making the simple things in life seem so difficult. I know I am very good at that nonsense sometimes.

  9. D W Martens says:

    Though I’m late at getting to reading this post, the consideration of praying always has been a frequent thought with me in recent years. Some years ago at work I endured one of those mandatory motivational talks where one’s “self-talk,” that goes on in our heads, was mentioned. That term kept coming back to my mind for some while after; then, in light of (Ps 139:2) “… you perceive my thoughts from afar,” it occurred to me: Rather than my self-talk being to myself or some other imagined person, I should try to direct it to the Lord. Though I’ve had limited success in doing this consistantly, I believe this practise should be included in our praying continually. Praying aloud is a wonderful way to pray, but our thought prayers and conversations are just as well heard by him. It fits well with the “renewing of our minds,” also.

    • Don Merritt says:

      You may laugh at this, but I thought of you as I wrote this, something I vaguely recall that you said once upon a time… Anyway, for those of us who tend to over think think things, not to mention for those of us who might have a tendency to over think the wrong things, this is a wonderful exercise!

      And, as you can attest, I am a firm believer in a more structured personal prayer as well. They make a potent one-two spiritual punch!

  10. tellthetruth1 says:

    I tell Father and Jesus everything. The good and the bad alike. Hubby says: “Who you talking to?” I tell him I’m praying! Love this beautiful affirmation. Your blog is another home for me to come running to every day 🙂

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