Toward the end of our Biblical story this week, David sums up his efforts to build up his faith. He tells Saul “… let not my blood fall to the earth away from the presence of the Lord …” (I Samuel 26:20)
In the midst of his intentional efforts to build up his faith, David summarizes his pursuit by affirming that no matter what detours may be presented, he must remain in the presence of the Lord.
David made a bold plan and executed it with precision. Along the way, he resisted some temptation, was able to separate himself from the crowd, and spent time dealing with his own personal problems. And he was able to do all that because he was committed to a single pursuit: stay in the presence of God.
A Carmelite friar in the 17thcentury had a similar desire. Brother Andrew (his real name was Nicholas Herman) was a cook in a monastery. And as he went about his duties of preparing and cooking food, he intentionally practiced staying focused on the Lord. Chopping, he thought of Christ. Cleaning, he considered Jesus’ sacrifice.
His intentional spiritual focus was captured in a series of conversations and letters that we can read and study. (The book, Practicing the Presence of God, is available to buy and a PDF version is available for free online.)
The more I thought about the message, the more I thought about Brother Andrew’s approach. He wanted to rise above his circumstances and the pettiness of his everyday life. He was searching for real meaning and purpose. He wanted to develop an awareness of the presence of God. He saw it as a practical reality.
That might be a great pursuit for all of us this week.
Let’s start with a high view of both the providence and power of God. As the good brother remarked, “Good when He gives, supremely good. Nor less when He denies. Afflictions from His sovereign hand are blessings in disguise.”
With that backdrop, let’s start making a very practical plan for practicing His presence in our lives. Start conversations with Him throughout your day. Pray out loud in the car (people will just think you are on the phone). Take a break at work, walk around the building, meditate on a single verse. Gather your family at the dinner table and pray together for a friend or family member. Finish your day by memorizing a verse that is important to you right now.
A plan needs a purpose. Let’s practice the presence of God.
Sherry Worel is a Bible teacher at heart and lives a life of ministry. She’s been involved at Coast Hills teaching Women’s LIFE, Bible studies, online courses, devotionals, participating in Upstream conversations, and much more. Having a love for education, Sherry has over 50 years of teaching experience with schools, churches, and mission agencies. As well as earning her Master’s at Talbot Seminary, she rounded out her education with 35 years as Head of School at Stoneybrooke Christian School. Sherry is happiest with a book or fishing pole in hand.