Practicing the Presence

Fourth Tuesday

“May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”  Psalm 19:14

The past few days I’ve been writing about God’s ongoing presence in our lives and how we can become more aware of that. As I was meditating on this verse, I had to stop and ask how aware I’ve been in my own busy week of God’s presence. I believe he is always with me, but lately I haven’t left enough margin to consciously participate with him in my daily life. Beginning my day by meditating on the Word of God gives me insights like this that remind me to be more present to my own life.  When I’m distracted, I miss out.

In Christian meditation, God communes with us by his Holy Spirit. It’s not a retreat into nothingness but into union with the God of Life and Love. Rather than seeking to lose our identity, we hope to be open enough to connect with his Spirit, even for a moment. Christian meditation invites us into change.   We can’t come into his presence without being transformed in some way, closer to the true self God created us to be. When I practice stillness in body, mind and spirit, even for a few moments, I get a glimpse of his love for me and his calling on my life. By seeking to quiet my mind enough to enter the presence of God, I become aware of his greater purpose, not only for me but for the world I live in.

I’ll admit this is challenging. My ego self resist any and all efforts to still my mind, because the ego thrives on activity, trying to trump up some way to be important. Some days I try to be still and listen and experience nothing but distractions. But if there’s been even a moment when I was still enough to let go, it changes something within me. I walk away more open to God’s Spirit speaking and guiding me as I move through my day. On those days when I’ve experience surrender to him in prayer, I find a peace that passes understanding, even if storms are blowing around me. I often get insights like today that I wouldn’t have come up with on my own, either within my prayer time or later in the day. Frequently I’ll get a sense of how to pray for or interact with someone who’s been on my heart. Divine guidance is available to me, if I will only listen.

Today’s prayer practice: Meditate on Scripture

Meditate on the verse above, sitting quietly and listening for what God has for you. Pay attention to your most recent thoughts and words, for out of our mouths, the heart speaks. How has God been your rock, or your redeemer? What other names of God have been significant to you lately? Choose one and find a way to remind yourself that you know him by that name.

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