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Living Like God Is Present

"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” I Thessalonians 5:16

The beautiful, yet terrifying truth of Christianity is that God is with you. Everyday, during every moment, He never leaves. This is beautiful because God is always with you, you're never alone. Terrifying because well, God never leaves you. You're NEVER alone. One of the most stark discoveries we will have at the end of this life will be just how present God was in every good and bad moment of our life. He was there. He was active. He made most of our successes happen. He blunted most of our hardship. Even our hardest moments could’ve been so much worse if He had not been our aid. No matter how we feel about that, when that final day comes we will see just how active He was and we will call His leadership perfect. Point being, God is always present.

As a pastor that often writes and speaks about prayer, I’ve noticed a misunderstanding in most Christians. Most see prayer as a form of therapy. While I've observed most struggle to take time to pray altogether, but even in that they wish they did because it would help them feel better. However, the primary goal of prayer is not to feel better, but to acknowledge the presence of God; or more understandably said, the present-ness of God.

In prayer we acknowledge that we are not alone. That someone else is in the room. That someone else is God and He is Holy, powerful, and for us. Prayer is when we pause and step into this truth and live aware of the presentness of God.

This is what Paul meant in Thessalonians when he said “pray without ceasing”. He wasn’t meaning that we have to constantly say or think prayerful things every second of the day. He meant instead that we would constantly acknowledge the presentness of God in everything that we do.

The way I've trained myself to "pray without ceasing" is I set reminders on my phone every hour or so that say "look around". Whenever I see the reminder, whether it's in conversation, driving, or working. I say under my breath or out loud, depending on the context, "You are with me". If I'm able to pause and say more I say, "Thank you for being with me.". Then I pause again. The pause is important because God is real. I'm not pausing to talk to an idea, I'm pausing to speak with THE living God of the universe who is present. I want to hear what He has to say and make space for it.

If I have a few minutes I'll continue. "Strengthen me, help me walk in your ways", pause and listen. Usually this is the part where I repent for something I inevitably said or did that I shouldn't have. If I have a few more minutes I'll carry on, "Use me today, who can I serve or bless?" pause and listen. "Release revelation, I want to know you more." Pause and listen.

This generally takes 5-6 minutes. Sometimes I don't have the time or context to pause more than a moment to say "You are with me". But even that is monumental. The primary goal is to acknowledge that God is present. That He's real, living, active and with you in this moment, and those moments.

If you have time, take time right now. Pause and acknowledge that He is present, and listen to what He has to say to you today.

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