Last week, our family helped some friends celebrate the birthday of one of their sons. We had a great time eating and talking and watching a movie together. At one point, I had a great discussion with two good friends concerning the presence of God.
One of my friends is reading Brother Lawrence’s The Practice of the Presence of God, which sparked our conversation. I read this little book (which is available free online) a few years ago, and it had a big impact on me, much like it is having on my friend. Brother Lawrence describes the reality, simplicity, and intimacy of living in God’s presence – not just daily, but moment by moment.
Every aspect of our life – not just our “spiritual” lives – should be affected by the presence of God. For example, if God is always present with his children – and I believe that he is – then everything that we do is in communication with him. When we talk, God hears us. When we move, God knows. What we feel, God is aware of it. There is nothing in our lives that we do not communicate to God. But, if all of life is communicated to God, then what is prayer? What is the significance of prayer? I believe that prayer is when we are aware of our communication with God. Thus, prayer is not only when we sit alone and “talk” to God, although that is prayer. Prayer also occurs during our conversations with other people, if we are aware that God is present and that he is part of our coversation.
But, what about other aspects of life – especially the apsects of life that are not considered “spiritual”? Does God’s presence – and living in the reality of God’s presence – affect those aspects of our lives as well? Yes! Absolutely! For example, consider the concept of contentment. We usually base our contenment on how we feel about ourselves, other people, our jobs, our homes, our money, our health, etc. But God tells us that we can be content because he is with us and will never leave us (Heb. 13:5). If we become less than content because of situations in our life, then that is a demonstration that we are not living in the presence of God – we are not content with God himself. More than likely, we had become content with the blessings that we were receiving from God instead of being content with God himself.
What other aspects of our lives do you think would be affected if we learned to live in the reality, the simplicity, and the intimacy of the presence of God? How would these areas be affected by our living in the reality of God’s presence?