Posted by: Rina | November 20, 2009

The Practice of the Presence of God

“That with him the set times of prayer were not different from other times; that he retired to pray, according to the direction of his superior, but that he did not want such retirement, nor ask for it, because his greatest business did not divert him from God.”
-Brother Lawrence

The practice of the Presence of God causes us to grow into our identity.  This has been commonly called “soaking” in recent charismatic circles.  Basically, the idea is that we enter the presence of God and just sit in His presence and enjoy it.  We are not doing, we are just being.  Then, as we get up to move about our daily business, we take the presence of God with us and not just leave it in the prayer closet.  This serves two purposes.  First, revelation is sometimes given  as we just “sit at His feet.”  Secondly, we begin to become more heavenly minded than earthly minded.  Here are a couple of biblical examples.

In the days of Eli the high priest, the bible says that the “word of the Lord was rare.” (I Samuel 3:1)  When Samuel was a very young man, he received a word form the Lord.  It is interesting to note how young Samuel received this revelation.  Scripture tells us, “And it came to pass at that time, while Eli was lying down in his place, and when his eyes had begun to grow so dim that he could not see and before the lamp of God went out in the tabernacle of the Lord where the ark of God was, and while Samuel was lying down, that the Lord called Samuel and he answered, ‘Here I am.’” (I Samuel 3:2-4)  Notice that the ark of the covenant was the dwelling place of the presence of God.  Night after night, young Samuel would sit and sleep in the presence of God.  Samuel would just “be” in His presence.  Then one night, that which was “rare” began to become common place in Samuel’s life.  The bible tells us that, “So Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground.” (I Samuel 3:19)  The Divine Presence went with Samuel everywhere that he went and God acted on his behalf.  This is the bi-product of the loving exchange between us and the Divine.  “For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavilion; In the secret place of His tabernacle He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock.” (Psalm 27:5)  This is the “good part” that Mary pursued while Martha busied herself in the service.  Jesus comments that what is achieved just sitting in the presence of God, “would not be taken from her.” (Luke 10:31)

Brother Lawrence once write, “That we should establish ourselves in a sense of God’s presence by continually conversing with Him.  That it was a shameful thing to quit His conversation to think of trifles and fooleries.” (1) His point is that constant dialogue between us and God brings us closer to God.  It brings us to a place where the Holy Spirit is constantly supplementing our thought life with dialogue.  As the Holy Spirit continues to influence our thought life, we begin to possess the “mind of Christ.”  (I Corinthians 2:16)  The net result of this dialogue is the transformation of our mind.  It causes a shift in our thought from an earthly mindset to a  heavenly one.  This protects and preserves us from the flesh and the enemy and opens us toward growing in our identity.  Scripture tells us, “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God.  Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.  For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.” (Colossians 3:1-3)  As we continue in His Presence we grow from receiving a visitation of God to becoming a habitation of God. (2)  In constantly maintaining our dialogue with God, we fill our minds with heavenly things, and not on the superficiality of our earthly environment.  This will transform our identity.  We will grow into what heaven predestined us to become when we fill our mind with the things of heaven.

Endnotes

1.  Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God with Spiritual Maxims, Spire Books, Grand Rapids, MI; 1958,1967, page 16.

2.  The reader is encouraged to read, Che’ Ahn’s book, “Hosting the Holy Spirit”; Renew Books, Ventura CA 2000.

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