¿Habla español?

New Ways of Pursuing the Presence of God

I love to gather with other believers and worship God.  For my whole life, this has been a huge part of how I pursue God.  I find so much comfort in connecting together with people who also want to pursue the presence of God.  Then COVID happened. The thought of turning on my TV to pursue God was foreign to me, it felt so impersonal, so far away, so lonely.  As time went on, I realized that I would have to get used to worshiping God in this manner, but wondered if I would ever feel connected to the people of God again.

Months into doing church in this manner, I began to realize something that surprised me--I am in charge of my own pursuit of God.  Now, I know this may not come as a surprise to you; but, as the responsibility of gathering together has become less and less, pursuing God has become more and more up to me.  During this time I have had to discover new, inventive ways to gather my heart to God.  Personal development has become key in this season, and making meaningful connections with people in my circle via zoom or meeting in some other space, has also been important.  

Part of this process has meant that I developed new personal routines to connect with God.  A new practice that I have begun in the mornings is centering or contemplative prayer.  Contemplative prayer isn't saying prayers, but living in consistent union with God; so everything you do is a prayer.  It's this humble writer's belief that this was what Paul was talking about when he said "pray without ceasing" (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).  

Friends, if I'm being honest, this has been one of the most difficult things I have ever done!  I am a talker, even in prayer; my prayers are about eighty percent of me talking. I can't tell you how many times I've been in prayer and God has told me, "Ursala, shhh!"... too many words!

The practice of centering prayer is just that, a practice.  Training our habitual minds to turn off the distractions of social media, emotion, and anger will probably take a lifetime to achieve.  There are monks (contemplative monks) that live their whole lives in this divine union with God.  I can only imagine how amazing a life with this continued posture towards God would be!  This level of discipline is not one everyone can achieve.  My current goal is to work myself up to a 20 minute morning sit.  Then, once I achieve that, I will try for an additional 20 minute evening sit.  One moment of pursuit at a time.

Sitting and resting in God has brought stillness to me in this busy, crazy world--especially during all the civil and political unrest going on right now.  Pursuing the presence of God in this manner has given me something eternal to focus on, which is so important when everything around me is changing.  If you have started out this new year with a passion for the presence of God, I encourage you to try adding the practice of contemplative prayer (centering prayer) to your daily routine.  

If you have any questions, or just want to do more research on this practice, Richard Rohr's writings and videos are very helpful.  Also, Thomas Keating's writings and videos have been helpful to me.  I know that we will gather together and pursue God again; until that time, let us hold on to these and other practices that help keep us centered in Christ.

Related Posts

No Comments


Categories

Tags

12 Days of Christmas 20 minutes 2020 Acts Adonai Antelope Valley Bibile Bible Birmingham But God COVID-19 COVID Christian Voter Guide Christian home Christmas Church Colossians Communication Corinthians Dallas Willard David Devotional Doing Life Together Eastertide Easter Ecclesiastes Emmanuel Ephesians Epiphany Esther Father's Day Father Galatians God With Us God first God is good God's Will God\'s Will Gospel of John Gospel of Luke Gospel of Mark Happy Father's Day Hebrews Holy Spirit How to Pray Isaiah James Brown James Jeremiah 29:11 Jeremiah Jesus John 3:16 John Wesley John Kingdom Come Kingdom of God Leadership Lectio Divina Light of the World Lord Luke MLK Malachi Mark Martin Luther King Jr. Mary Matthew Merry Christmas Micah 6:8 Micah Monday Night Manna Nehemiah New Testament Old Testament Only God Knows Paul Peter Proverbs Psalm 23 Psalm 40 Psalms of Joy Pursuing the Presence of God Revelation Romans Ruth Haley Barton Savior Sermon Son of God Son of Man Son Surprised by Joy Thanksgiving The Free Market The Lord's Prayer Timothy Titanic Twelfth Night Voter Guide Women in Leadership Women of Faith act justly action adventure afraid anchor answers anxiety art awkward back to school balance baptism be prepared beauty and struggle belief believe black friday blackbelt blessed blessing boundaries broken brotherhood burden butter called by God called care cause celebrate centered in Christ challenges childbirth children choice choosejoy christian christ church online citizen civil rights clean hearts cleaning comfort community compassion into action compost conflict resolution conflict confusion connect contemplative prayer conversation with God creation dad dating daughtership delight depression discernment discipleship discovery discrimination distracted divine divinity do good do the action dreams early church eating disorder eden election emotional health empathy encouragement endurance enough excess expectations failure faithfulness faith fall family dynamics family fun family systems family favorite scripture fear feel find and follow Jesus forgiveness freedom friendship fruit fun galaxy garden generations generosity genesis gift goals god good news gospel government grace gratitude gravy great cloud of witnesses green bean casserole green thumb grief grit groups growth ham hangover happiness harsh truth healing healthy habit heart holidays holiday homeostasis homeschool hope how the Lord speaks how to read scripture how to talk about loss humanity human inspiration intimacy invitation isolation journal journey joy just believe justice kids kingdom of heaven let it be life together light live loss love mercy love loving like Jesus magi marathon march marginalized marriage mashed potatoes memories mental health mentalhealthmonth momlife mom motivated by joy mourn moved with compassion move neighbors new year new nothing but joy nowandnotyet one body overflowing with gratitude pain pandemic parenting parents pastor peace perseverance perspective phillipians planted by water politics practicing gratitude pray for pastors pray without ceasing prayerwarrior prayer praying praywithoutceasing pray present prize promise of God promise prophetic psalms psalm purpose quarantine questions race read reconciliation recovery reflect rejoice relationships relationship repentance resources riot roles routine rules sabbath sadness safe at home salvation scripture about justice scriptures about fear scriptures about joy scriptures about peace scriptures about race scripture seasons season self-care self-differentiation serve share shelter at home shepherds signs silence simple pleasures single dad single mom single parent sinking sink slowly sober social distancing solitude sonship soul music spiritual disciplines spiritual health spiritual practices stars star stayathome still good storm streams of water strength stress struggleisreal success sudden summer take heart talking with kids technology the truth is out there the truth will set you free the way the truth and the life thessalonians think thisistheday time together traditions transformed transition treasure trials trust in the Lord trust truth turkey understanding unfailing love universe vice president virtual vote waiting waking up walk humbly weather wedding worry worship youmatter