How can I practice the presence of God?

“Pray without ceasing” (I Thessalonians 5:17). How hard is that? Not hard at all when you think about what all that entails. This verse does not say you must be on your knees praying 24/7. That’s simply not possible. We all have to eat, work, and sleep. So, what does Paul mean when he writes this verse? He means that we are to remain aware that God is at work around us, wants to work in us, and then wants to work through us. For instance, if you are aware of God when you wake up, you might say a prayer before your feet hit the floor. You might listen to and sing praise music while getting ready for the day. When you are out and about, you might try to make sure you smile and speak kindly to people and really look to see if someone is hurting so that you can minister in some way. For instance, when in line to check out at the store, look for a name tag so you can address the person by name and ask if you can pray for that person. This is a simple way of placing yourself in the hands of the Lord for Him to use you to speak life to someone. What if you talked with God throughout the day about the little things of life as well as the big stuff? After a while, you would begin to see your awareness muscles becoming stronger and stronger. Then at the end of each day, sit down and thank the Lord for the ways in which He used you. Be grateful to Him for wanting to use you and ask Him to do it again tomorrow. This is the kind of personal engagement Jesus wants with us. Think about it: Is a relationship advanced more by communicating once a day, or multiple times a day? That’s right! Multiple times a day. So, begin that now.

Another important way to practice the presence of God is to spend time daily in His Word. Then, throughout the day, the Holy Spirit, who lives within you if you’re saved, will bring His Word back to your mind so you can speak life to those around you. John 14:26 remind us, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” So, as we pray before we read and study His Word, we prepare ourselves to experience His presence in our study time. And in our time with others, He reminds us of verses that will speak to the hearts of those who need truth in their lives. You see, you don’t have to have a seminary degree or be a preacher to be used mightily by God.

In gymnastics, Olympic athletes often compete alone but are part of a team. And when one thrives, the whole team thrives. The same applies to us. We need to be part of a team of believers, learning from each other and working together for the same goal. This team is found in a good Bible-believing, Jesus-loving, community-serving church. When we come together to learn and serve with one another, we become even more engaged with our practice of God’s presence in our daily lives. We learn how to be more compassionate, more patient, and more gracious as we take the best from each other's experiences and apply them. We also learn the importance of remaining clean and confessed before the Lord as we are real with each other about our struggles and failures. Remember, none of us is perfect or ever will be on this Earth, but the goal remains the same. You are not to strive to be like Sam or Sally; you are to strive to be like Jesus. As you persevere in that endeavor, you will have no desire to point a finger or to put someone else on a pedestal. Your goal every day is to be more like Jesus and point others to Him. If we will practice the presence of God consistently, we will grow as believers and be eternally effective for our great God and Savior, Jesus. It all begins and ends with prayer, so pray without ceasing!