Pastor’s Note: Simply Be In His Presence
Last weekend we began a new Church year with the first Sunday of Advent. We also started a new series of 4 minutes on the topic of “prayer.” As I said last weekend, there are many different forms of prayer and the hope is to sample several different forms of prayers so people can identify something that resonates for them and experiment
with the different forms/styles.
Prayer is fundamentally turning to God and acknowledging his presence in our lives. Think for a moment when a person walks into your house. Normally we go to greet to that person at the door and say some welcoming statement. God is always waiting to be let into our houses and be part of lives. When we go outside into the real world, God is already there; he is in all of creation. God got here before us and prayer is trying to become more aware of that reality. As such, there is no one way to accomplish this.
Last weekend we introduced the simplest form of meditation I know, called “infused contemplation.” (There is technically a difference between meditation and contemplation, but that is another day’s instruction. For now, let’s just call it meditation.) This prayer is simply letting go of everything and sitting in the presence of God with no desire but to “be in his presence.” It is simple, but even in its simplicity it is difficult to accomplish because we have so many distractions.
I gave the example of the distracting thoughts that will come into our mind (e.g. the work we still have to do, the emotions that we are dealing with from work, the stress of our financial situation, etc.) and disenable us from being present to God. All of these are natural but can be difficult to overcome. I introduced a way to keep the attention of your mind: a mantra. I gave you an analogy about the stick put into an elephant’s trunk so he would not be distracted when he walks through a marketplace with all the food. Because he has a stick in his trunk then his mind is occupied with holding onto it.
The same can work with us. If we can hold onto a mantra such as a holy word or phrase, then we will not be distracted. Possible phrases are “Lord Jesus, have mercy on me.” Or “Lord Jesus, I love you.” Or simply “Lord Jesus.” Or make your own up. We slowly repeat the words over and over again and then we slowly become aware of the presence of God in our lives.
Some people find this particularly easy. Others find it particularly hard. Still others are in between. Trust me, it takes practice so please do not give up. It really does work. Keep trying.
What is the desired output or feeling? Nothing other than the awareness of God. Think of being in the presence of your loved one (spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, parents, etc.); sometimes we just want “to be” with them. Not necessarily saying
or doing anything but being in their presence. This is especially true when we are ill. The same is true of our spiritual lives. Spiritual fitness is not always about “exercise” or “doing” but also about “being” in the presence of God. So let’s try it again this week, but now try it each day!