“Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always”
God is omnipresent and is therefore always with us. In Matthew 28:20 we read that Jesus makes a covenant with believers when He says, “surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age”. So, if God is always with us, why doesn’t it feel like it at times? Why do we become depressed, lonely, or feel empty when the Almighty is near? Why, even though we pray and read His word, don’t we sense His presence? Are we looking in the wrong places for God? Are we even looking?
Our relationship with God requires intentional effort on our part. He offers us much in terms of eternity and asks that we set our minds and hearts to seek Him (1 Chronicles 22:19). He wants us to share His story with others. He also expects that we share our story with Him; how we lived before we chose Him, what caused us to choose Him, and what our life has been like after we choose to follow Him. Some have assumed that, after offering a few words confessing their sinful ways, they were automatically in because they asked to be a follower of Christ. However, God wants more than words. He wants us to have a change of mind and heart so that our focus is on Him and not ourselves. He desires daily, ongoing fixing of our eyes on Him.
Maybe we don’t sense Jesus’ presence during the week because we don’t know how to look for Him outside church. We might engage in spiritual practices out of obedience and routine but forget they are a means by which we can grow closer to God and be offered His grace. Maybe we are ignoring the signs around us and are missing out on how He is revealing Himself to the world through others. It can be uplifting and enlightening when we connect with God first thing in the day and that experience can carry us through to the next encounter and so we should seek Him often.
How can you sense God’s presence? May I suggest three ideas that have been helpful to me?
Confess sin. Many theologians remind us that to be in God’s presence we must come clean with Him. We may have unconfessed sin in our life that needs to be addressed. Nothing can be hidden so why bother trying to act if nothing is wrong. The psalmist shares in Psalm 32:3-5 that when a sin weights heavy, God’s presence seems far but when sins are confessed a burden is lifted. We want to be clean in His Holy presence.
Be attentive. Start your day asking God to see His works in the world around you. You will encounter people who will bless you and people you can bless.
Pray throughout the day. There are different ways you can pray. You can offer scripture, pray words spoken by others or react to the moment. As you come across something, turn that scenario into a prayer. “Lord, bring calmness to that driver whose horn honking suggests frustration and maybe anger which could lead to other issues”. This prayer alignment with God allows you to see the world through His eyes. If you are not use to this type of prayer then offer a BREATH PRAYER where you ignore the noise, the traffic, the world around you, take a deep breath and just say “Jesus, I need you” or “Jesus, give me a heart for you”.
We want God’s presence as assurance, as comfort and as strength and not just as a fall back when we run into trouble. He is available always if only we choose to seek Him.