being free

I like being free. I like the way it feels.

22 March 2010

practicing the presence part i

I recently finished a class on Spiritual Practices/Disciplines. The primary emphasis of the class was on developing spiritual practices in order to make space for encountering God. Some of the practices were prayer (praying the Psalms, praying the prayers of others, contemplative prayer, centering prayer, examination prayers and prayer journeying), meditative reading of Scripture (Lectio Divina), silent retreats, and practicing the Presence of God. For my final paper I had to write on one particular spiritual practice. I choose the practice of the Presence of God.

The practice of the Presence of God is an ancient discipline that guides an individual into a continual awareness and communion with God. The practice has been recognized by many spiritual traditions and described many different ways. Biblically it has been described as to “pray without ceasing” and to “live and walk by the Spirit” Brother Lawrence described it as “the Practice of the Presence of God.” Luther described it as “living before the face of God.” A.W. Tozer described it as “the manifest presence of God.” Though the discipline has been described in many ways, it all comes down to the same thing, remaining in a conscious awareness of God’s Presence.

I choose the discipline of practicing the Presence of God for four of reasons. First, I personally want to grow in this discipline. I recognize my need to keep an active awareness of God throughout my daily activities. I have also resonated with the Celtic view that all of life is spiritual. According to their view and according to Scriptures, there is no divide between the secular and the sacred. All of life is sacred. I believe learning to practice the Presence of God is an important part of living a holistic life of worship.

Second, I believe the observance of this discipline is a key to a centered and fruitful Christian life. As Brother Lawrence once said, “The practice that is the most holy, the most general, and the most needful in the spiritual life is the practice of the presence of God.”

Third, I believe the practice of the Presence of God is a greatly needed disciple for the church today. Many people today are searching for spirituality, yet they are not finding it in churches. People are longing for a real life encounter with God. They are not interested in religion, but they are interested in Spirit. I believe a renewed teaching and experience of the practice of the Presence of God is what the world is longing for. Christians have a powerfully spiritual message. We need to regain it.

Lastly, I believe modern Christianity is in need of an everyday form of spirituality. We are in need of spirituality for the here and now. Many of us live hectic lives. We need to know how God can and wants to meet us in our busy lives. We also need a spirituality that connects with our day to day lives, not just the afterlife. We need a spirituality that is grounded in the sacredness of creation. I believe practicing the Presence of God is that spirituality. As Joan Chittister once said:

“…most of us cannot rush to the sea for distance or fly away to other places for escape. Most of us must simply live where we are, in the midst of the crowds and the complex questions. Most of us have no other access to God and the good life except now, except here. The problem becomes discovering how to make here and now, right and holy for us. The here and now is all we have, any of us, out of which to make life worthwhile and God present and holiness a normal, rather than an unnatural, way of life.”

... more to come on the next post....


At 6:26 AM, Blogger 國男皓云 said...

Drive carefully. It is not only cars that can be recalled by their Maker.............................................

At 12:00 AM, Blogger Patricia said...

Looking forward to the next post.


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