Over the span of my ministry, and truly over the span of my adult life, I have heard the terms "being present" and "ministry of presence". Over the last 5 weeks I have been reflecting on the meaning of presence; what it means in my life, family and ministry; but more specifically with God. What does it mean to be wholly present with God? In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, not to mention when tragedy or trauma strikes, how do we stay wholly present with God? I know all too well the nights when I am getting ready for bed and begin to pray and before I know it, it's morning and I feel asleep before I finished my, "Dear God...". Since my car accident I have spent a lot of time working on my walk with God and presence is something I come to value and see quite differently. So... How can we be wholly present with God?
Value the Gift
What I have come to value more is the incredible gift of grace that even allows me to enter into the presence of God. That He sees me through the precious blood of Christ. That I even have the ability to speak to Him directly is incredible. Once I begin to value this gift more, the more time I began to spend in His presence and the more I began to feel the power of prayer. The gift of entering into the very presence God is priceless and required the torture, death and resurrection of God's only begotten Son to receive.
Though we were made for community, we all need time to recharge our batteries. We all need time to spend in one-on-one communion with God. Corporate worship is amazing and a recharging experience, but let's be honest, it can also be taxing. Setting aside some time every once and awhile to spend alone, by yourself, just you and God is just as important as spending alone time with your friends, family or spouse. Once I set aside time every day just to bask in the presence of God I found myself recharged and even reinvigorated. Something, that as my schedule got busier and life got in the way, I lost sight of.
It can become way too easy to let the distractions of life drown out God, but when harnessing the power of being in the presence of God, we can use God to drown out the distractions. Being wholly present with God allows all the things of this life that are place holders for God, to fade and for God to sit on the throne as King of our lives; where He rightfully belongs. The peace that comes from this is indescribable, it's true, divine peace.
If we were to be honest with ourselves, we would admit that we have relegated worship to 15-30 minutes on Sunday mornings before the pastor dives into his/her sermon, but it is so much more than this and He deserves so much more praise. Often times when we come to God in prayer, we do so to make an "ASK" rather than to offer a "PRAISE". Worship should be an ongoing experience that happens hundreds of times a day as you experience God's majesty, mighty, grace, love, mercy and forgiveness.
All of this to say, that to be wholly present with God is to be absent from all else. To give all of one's self to Him. To spend alone time with Him, listening to Him, being wooed by Him, falling in love with Him. Being wholly present with God means to place Him at the apex AND foundation of your life and relationships. Being wholly present with God is to make Him present in all areas of your life.