“Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?” Psalm 139:7 (NKJ)
What exactly is meant by the phrase, “practicing the presence of God”? In pursuit of an answer to that question, I found the best definitions from two renowned practitioners of this spiritual habit. Following are their responses for your consideration.
“…to acknowledge the Presence of God who is really there is actually a form of prayer, a way of praying always as the Scriptures exhort us to do. When we do this, the eyes and ears of our hearts are open to receive the word He is always speaking. We enter into a path of obedience perhaps unknown to us before where we joyfully acknowledge, ‘Jesus is Lord.’
Leanne Payne, The Healing Presence
“…continual conversation with Him, with freedom and in simplicity. That we need only to recognize God intimately present with us, to address ourselves to Him every moment, that we may beg His assistance for knowing His will in things doubtful, and for rightly performing those which we plainly see He requires of us, offering them to Him before we do them, and giving Him thanks when we have done.”
Brother Lawrence, Practicing the Presence of God
Practicing the presence of God is built on several foundational truths about God and His relationship with believers.
1) God lives within us. “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” 1 Cor. 3:16. Before returning to His Father, Jesus promised to send “another Comforter” that would abide with them forever (John 14:16). That Comforter was the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity. He guides believers in all truth—truth that He hears from the Father (John 16:13).
2) God desires to communicate with us. “Then God went up from him in the place where He talked with him.” Genesis 35:13. God is not some distant deity disinterested in His children’s daily affairs. We cry “Abba Father” (Gal. 4:6) knowing He hears our every word; in response we are to listen intently as He directs us: “this is the way walk in it” (Isa. 30:21). Communication between the Father and His children result in unity of thought and agreement in purpose.
3) God wishes to be in relationship with us. “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” James 4:8a. It has always been God’s desire to be in unbroken fellowship with man. By instituting His plan of salvation, He created the means by which that which was lost in the Garden of Eden could be restored. Now reconciled to God (Col. 1:20-21), man is once again free to fellowship with his Creator.
Jesus Christ was the greatest practitioner of living in the presence of God. Throughout His earthly ministry, Jesus synchronized His every move based on what He heard from His Father (John 5:30). Living in continual communion with God, Jesus modeled the power of practicing the presence. With these definitions and truths in hand, the spiritual reality of practicing the presence of God releases His fullness into the believer’s life. There is peace, joy and love in abundance. In unhindered communion with God, believers are able to live life more victoriously.
Good to the Last Byte…
In practicing the presence of God, believers live moment to moment in awareness and acknowledgement of God’s presence. Awareness of God’s presence means that in our heart, we proclaim Christ is Lord. In Him “we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28). Acknowledgement of God’s presence means that we live our life attentively listening to His voice. We live in unbroken communication with Him—“He in us and we in Him” (John 17:23).