There is nothing more precious than the presence of God. This series explores the story of God’s presence throughout the bible and explores how we can host him well in our midst.
In the first two parts of this series (Part 1, Part 2) I set the scene by exploring the topic of God’s presence throughout the bible. It is a story of huge importance to us as believers. We are now dwelling places of God, carriers of his presence and partners in sharing him with the world around us. So in this post I want to explore some of the ways we can steward the immense gift of God’s presence and share some of my journey in this area.
Once we realise that God’s presence is of immeasurable value and yet he chooses to live within in us as believers it can be quite humbling and if we are honest a little daunting. Most of us live all to aware of our failings and lack. If it was up to me I don’t think I would say I was ready to host the King of the universe and yet I find myself in that situation now! No-one wants an unexpected visit from royalty! This is where our view of God, our father, is really important. If we think of God as a mean and angry man waiting to catch us out we will be unlikely to press in to His presence. If on the other hand we see God as a loving father who wants his children to thrive and succeed and is not scared by our mess, we will find freedom and adventure in the pursuit of his presence. The truth is God is not giving us Himself to catch us out, but to invite us into an incredible adventure of trust and relationship.
If God’s presence really was the thing that separated Israel from the rest of the planet and allowed them to display God to the world we should surely also see it as a high priority. Valuing His presence has a real practical side to it. God’s presence is always with us and yet are we always aware of it? A few years ago as I was learning about this whole topic I started to experiment. I was driven by a number of questions. How could I host the presence of God in my daily life? Could I become aware of God with me more and more in my own life? In John 1 we learn that at Jesus’s baptism the Holy Spirit came and remained on him. The word remained means abided. God’s presence lived with him.
For many of us in charismatic settings we experience God’s presence strongest in times of worship. How do we take that God-awareness with us into life. For me it started by some deliberate actions. I started by just stopping at different points through out the day and turn my thoughts to worship of God. I would pause in my thoughts, tell God I loved him and ask him to help me become aware of His presence. If I was able to I would stop and think of God. As I practised this I discovered that it became easier to do this deliberate action. As I did I would find peace, joy and hope well up in me. I became aware of God’s presence around and in me and it changed my perspective almost instantly.
“We will always reflect the nature of the world we are most aware of.” Bill Johnson
I found there were spaces in my day, making coffee, on the bus, walking somewhere, driving somewhere, in the shower. Spaces I could use to practice hosting the presence. For a season I did this as and when I remembered. I still do this from time to time and it really helps me stay God aware through out my day.
Hosting the Uncreated One is no small topic but I am on a journey. A journey of discovery and adventure. Jesus has me by the hand and He is teaching me what it means to value His presence. One way I have learnt to express my value for this is through taking moments through out my day. I have learnt lot’s of other things which I don’t have the space to write of here. I could talk of listening to his small still voice or being led by the Spirit or presence centred prayer or taking risk but I will leave them for another time. I hope this series has sparked some ideas for you though, I would love to hear your thoughts. How do you host the presence?
For those wanting to read further:
- The Practice of the Presence of God – Brother Lawrence (Free PDF)
- Hosting the Presence – Bill Johnson (Amazon)