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May 5, 2024 | Daily Devotionals | May 5

Practicing His Presence


The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.  ––Zephaniah 3:17


Do you have any one-sided friendships? Where the other person only talks about themselves, or never asks about you? Typically those relationships don’t last—we figure out that the friendship can only go so far if it’s one-sided. (It’s different, of course, with a family member—a bit harder to walk away from.)


Here’s the left-hook we don’t see coming: God feels that way when all we do is bark prayer requests at Him. And I’m often the one laying on the canvas: At times I feel myself slipping back into list prayers (checking off a list of people) and organ prayers (e.g., “Lord, please heal Uncle John’s gall bladder”). There’s nothing wrong with petitional prayer—where we ask God for things. But He wants more than our spiritual To Do lists. He wants us. 


Maybe you’re thinking, “No matter what I try, I just can’t sit still and ‘chat’ with God. My mind wanders or I get bored.” Like anything else, intimacy with the Father takes time and effort. It’s crazy how when we date someone we like, we are willing to put the time and energy into getting to know them. But when it comes to God, because we can’t “see” Him or discern the transactional advantage (ouch), we lose steam. 


Here are a few things that have helped me grow my time with God:

  • Reframe – Contemplate verses that talk about God’s love for us. Take a verse each week to contemplate.  
  • Practice His presence – I recommend Brother Lawrence’s classic book The Practice of the Presence of God. It’s a discipline to sit in God’s presence. Learn from a master. 
  • Start small – Can you sit in silence for 1 minute—letting go of any intrusive thoughts? And if you can’t, keep pen and paper nearby to jot down that task that popped into your head so you can capture it and get back to silence. Then try it for 3 minutes, then 5, etc.


Father, I want a two-way relationship with you; help me make the time and effort. 


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