I love teaching about prayer, and a favorite session is practicing the presence of God. You may be familiar with Brother Lawrence, he the seventeenth-century French monk who intentionally kept God near throughout the day as he prayed, worked in the kitchen, and so on.
To emphasize how God is near to his people, I start off the session with a series of Bible verses, from the Old Testament and the New:
Solomon said in 1 Kings 8:27, “But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less the temple I have built!”
Isaiah 57:15: For this is what the high and exalted One says—he who lives forever, whose name is holy: “I live in a high and holy place, but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.
Jeremiah 23:23-24: “Am I only a God nearby,” declares the Lord, “and not a God far away? Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them?” declares the Lord. “Do not I fill heaven and earth?” declares the Lord.
Psalm 23 says “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me.”
Isaiah 43:2 “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you.”
Jesus to his disciples, last words in Matthew: “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).
In Acts 17:27-28, Paul, speaking to the Greeks on Mars Hill in Athens, said, “God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’”
All of these passages reverberate with the same truth: God loves to be near to his people. We only need to call to mind his presence within to be assured of this truth.
As we enter the Advent season, a time to celebrate the God who became Man, we can remember that he did so not only to save us, but to be near to us.
Do you sense God’s presence near to – and within you – today?
Want to join me when I speak sometime? Check out upcoming events here. (I have a break until March!)