Practicing the presence of God on an hourly basis is a difficult habit to attain at times. We get so busy with our activities and thoughts that we often forget God’s presence. One of my best friends, Jon, said it like this: seeing the sunset and taking a moment to thank God and acknowledge his hand in it, that’s practicing the presence of God. Talking to God and saying “I don’t understand what you are doing here God, I trust you, but I don’t get the plan here, and I am not sure I like it,” that’s practicing the presence of God.
Brother Lawrence was a monk in the middle 1600’s who sought the presence of God even in the mundane daily chores. As a practicing monk, they adhered to the hours of prayer every three hours, but he sought God’s presence even in the between times. He sought God’s presence as he prepared meals and washed the dishes. What it comes down to directly is forming good habits.
At our house, we have 2.5 acres to mow and many trees to work around. It also gives me plenty of opportunities to practice the presence of God by looking around at the beauty of creation, looking at how many things I have to be thankful for, but I also can go through a chunk of my day without my mind turning to God… unless I am purposeful about it.
Paul writes in Philippians 4:8-9 “Finally brothers (and sisters) whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is any worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me–practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”
Paul set’s the example of how to keep his mind on the presence of God. Think back to the numerous times he has been in prison. What is he doing? He writes to all of the churches about how to live the gospel of Christ in a world controlled by the Roman Empire. Or let’s go to Acts 16:22-25 “The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten with rods. After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. When he received these orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks. About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.”
How often can we think about the things of God in the day? Maybe it’s a short prayer for a friend or family member as their names come into your head. Perhaps it is a quick “thank you God for the rains you sent but a huge thank you for the sunshine today.
Frank Laubach a Christian missionary wrote in one of his letters “Can I bring God back in my mind-flow every few seconds so that God shall always be in my mind as an after-image? I choose to make the rest of my life an experiment in answering this question.”
Take a few moments each hour and think on the things of God. Maybe it is his love, his grace or his mercy, or say a short prayer for whatever happens to be on your mind. Set an alarm on your phone to remind you to turn your thoughts to God, and see how this helps shape and mold your day… even if it is doing routine tasks like Brother Lawrence.