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What does it mean to practice the Presence of God?
God is invisible
I remember when in 2012 I visited the Jewish Museum in Bucharest. I was with a friend in the city, and we had some spare time. We arrived at the destination, and for the ticket, we were offered a tour of the Museum which was a Synagogue in the past.
Our guide, a Jewish lady, took us into a small room where she presented us pictures with the Jewish people from Romania and especially from Bucharest. Most of them were from the Second World War. Our guide then told us something like: You see the pictures on the walls? The images for us are not like the pictures/icons on the walls of the Christian Churches. We do not use them to worship people or God. Because our God is invisible and to worship people or icons is idolatry.
I just smiled. Because our God is invisible too. We cannot see God with our physical eyes but only through the eyes of faith. We can see God in the Bible and in the Universe He created. And in every living creature on earth and every single atom. Moreover, we can see God working in us, changing us from the inside out and changing nations. We know He is real when He speaks to us through His Word and people. And when He is saving people and healing them, etc.
God is real
Even though our God is invisible to our physical eyes, He is not invisible to our inner man. By faith, He is just as real as any other thing or person in this world— even more real. However, we often forget this. Because I am pretty sure that if we would have this sense of God’s Presence with us and inside of us we would be more careful of what we would speak, act and think— to mention a few areas.
But how can one become more aware of the Presence of God and practice the Presence of God?
If you have been involved in any sexual sin probably, you have experienced the same problems with your thought life as me. As you already know, a sexual image is not like any other image. Moreover, with a sinful image sinful thoughts will come. Your imagination starts going crazy. Your mind and imagination are polluted and corrupt.
Your thoughts are important
As you know, everything starts with a thought. You know the saying: sow a thought, reap an action; sow an act, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny? This saying is accurate. Everything starts in your mind. The battle is for our mind and what or who is controlling it. The truth is that we CAN decide. Therefore, it is important what we feed on. If we feed with garbage or sin the odds are that we will walk in sin. However, if we fix our eyes on Jesus, we will walk in His footsteps— in purity.
My mind, like yours, is always thinking about something. Moreover, if I do not pay attention, my mind will naturally choose to think about anything else but Jesus and His Word. Therefore, I had to learn to harness my mind with the help of the Holy Spirit and not let it wander.
The process of discipleship will involve taking responsibility for your thoughts and making sure you are disciplined about the thoughts you allow to stay in your heart.
What does it mean to Practice the Presence of God?
It is an exercise in faith in which one acknowledges that God is with him and lives inside of him. Is this Biblical? In Matthew 28:20b (ESV) Jesus said
And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.
How quickly we forget that! Now, reading and listening to what others had to say about this topic I have realized that for most of us— at least in the beginning— this is hard work.
It is something we need to be intentional about, and it requires constant focus on God and His Name— Immanuel— God with us. To start living and thinking and doing every action, every day, acknowledging that God is with us, is not simple. Your life will start changing as you become aware that God is with you. The fear of the Lord grows in you as you begin continually talking to God and conversing with Him from His Word.
Leanne Payne says
The Practice of the Presence, then, is simply the discipline of calling to mind the truth that God is with us. When we consistently do this, the miracle of seeing by faith is given. We begin to see with the eyes of our hearts.
To practice the Presence of God is not something emotional or sensory but a walk of faith. Is like Apostle Paul is saying in Colossians 3:2 (ESV)
Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.
Practice the Presence of God— what other people are saying
Oswald Chambers and Andrew Murray call the practice of the Presence of God as Jesus calls it— to abide in Him. Oswald Chambers said
Notion your mind with the idea that God is there. If once the mind is notioned along that line, then when you are in difficulties, it is as easy as breathing to remember.
Frank C. Laubach said about practicing the presence of God the following:
I determine not to get out of bed until that mind set upon the Lord is settled…It is very simple, so simple that any child could practice it. This simple practice requires only a gentle pressure of the will, not more than a person can exert easily. It grows easier as the habit becomes fixed. Yet it transforms life into heaven.
C. S. Lewis and many other men and women of God were passionate about practicing God’s Presence. I know Dallas Willard used to not get out of bed until he meditated at Psalm 23. Moreover, Pastor Charles Stanley talks often in his sermons about spending time in the Presence of God.
Practice the Presence of God— help against pornography
Especially in the beginning of my walk with the Lord, I was continuously bombarded with sexual thoughts. I knew not how to respond to these attacks of the enemy and the flesh. However, somehow, I knew that the Lord has to have an answer for my problems and that He is the answer. Therefore, I started to pray and asked wisdom from above to know how to stop this sin in my life with the first thought that comes.
That is how God has guided my steps to learn about spiritual disciplines and especially about prayer, meditating on the Word of God, solitude, and practicing the Presence of God. I have learned that if I contemplate on sin, I will sin. However, if I meditate on God and then choose to keep on thinking about Him no matter what I did that day, I can walk in freedom. This truth changed everything about my life! For the first time, I realized that freedom is possible. So the key to freedom is to abide in Jesus— that is to stay connected to Him, by faith, every moment.
Practice the Presence of God— it is a fight
I used to read every day, for a long time, Brother Lawrence’s letters and how he disciplined his life to
I remember in the beginning I used to wake up at 4-5 o’clock in the morning praying and praising Jesus and asking His help to stay focused on Him and not on myself that day. Often my prayer time was a struggle to keep my focus on God and not let my mind wander around.
I began asking Jesus to heal my mind from any ability to produce sexual thoughts. I was petitioning Jesus to heal my mind through His blood and Word. Psalm 103:2-3 (ESV) became my prayer
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases.
And in time I realized that God is indeed healing my mind and that I can focus more easily on Him.
My challenge for you: practice the Presence of God! If you already are doing this, persevere in this! If you are not practicing this discipline, start doing it. It can save your life!
Ask for grace and for the help of the Holy Spirit! Every believer needs two revelations: first, that he cannot do anything apart from Jesus (John 15:5). Second, that he can do all things in Christ (Phil. 4:13).
Do you agree?
Friend, take control over your thought life. And if you need help, let me know.
Feel free to share this post with your friends and don’t forget to leave a comment. And practice the Presence of God!
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I recommend two amazing books if you are curious about this topic. First, The Healing Presence by Leanne Payne. Second, The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence. Excellent books!
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