“Small Things That Matter in a Life of Prayer”
This is the third lesson in the winter session of the Hudson Valley School of Prayer called “Finding Life in Regular Practices of Prayer, is hosted by David and Julia Ewert.
The small things we do everyday that prompt prayer are vital to a vibrant, growing prayer life. What is it that you do every day that reminds you that God is present and calling us into fellowship with Him through all the big and small moments of our lives? If there is nothing, we urge you to add in something that reminds you to pray. Don’t let the busyness or confusion of our days keep us from moments when we breathe out a prayer to God and breathe in His grace.
Prompted by small things you do every day, what prayer practice of yours, prayed silently or spoken aloud, helps direct your heart to its Creator?
Suggested Resources for diving into this topic:
(Click on the title to be directed to the link associated with that title.)
“Momentary Liturgies for Practicing the Presence of God,” pp. 249-251, Every Moment Holy, by Doug McKelvey.
Doug suggests these for memorization. Have you memorized inspirational statements, Bible verses or songs that continually draw you back into prayer? We encourage you to do a refresh on them and make a point of using them again in your pursuit of a vibrant prayer life.
“What does it mean to be in the presence of God?” by David Sanford.
David speaks of six truths concerning God’s presence taught in the Scriptures (“Presence” – Heb., panim, meaning “face”; Grk. Words prosopon and enopion have a similar meaning). It is vital to prayer to have at least a beginning understanding of each of these truths:
- God’s Presence is Everywhere (omnipresence), cf. Psalm 139:7-12, Deuteronomy 10:17, Jeremiah 32:17, 1:5, Luke 12:7;
- God’s Presence Fills Heaven, cf. Revelation 5:8, 13, 6:9-11, 7:9-10, 8:3-4, Romans 8:34, Hebrews 7:25, 1 John 2:1, Romans 8:26-27;
- God’s Presence Also Fills the Earth, cf. Numbers 14:21, Psalm 8:1, Isaiah 6:3, 11:9, Habakkuk 2:14;
- God’s Presence Takes Up Residence in Every Christian; cf. Romans 8:9, Matthew 28:20, John 14:16;
- God’s Can Reveal His Presence to Anyone in Any Manner He So Chooses, cf. Exodus 3:1-17 (burning bush), Numbers 17:1-12 (budding staff), 1 Kings 19:9-18, Acts 1;
- When God Reveals His Presence to You, You’ll Know and Feel It, cf. Romans 13:14.
How to Practice the Presence of God – Fr Mike Schmitz.
- “Come With” (Go with Him). Whatever the next step, we pray, “Jesus, can You come with?” “Do you want to come with?” He is always present to us so when we ask Him to come with, we are being present to Him
- Look upon Him…with that interior gaze: “Jesus, You are here. Thank You!”
- Speak to Him. Talk to Him no matter what you’re doing, where you’re going. Practice the presence: verbalize, think, remind ourselves Jesus is here, with me!
What do I expect when I ask Jesus to come with? The Lord is free. God is not our ATM. He’s not robotic in His love for you – you don’t punch in the right numbers and then He gives you what you ask for. So, sometimes it might be amazing with great blessing or great feelings that come with awareness of Him. Sometimes it might be difficult to see Him or hear Him – because God is free, and He’s free to love us as He wills! The fruit of remaining in Him always comes from Him! And He is faithful to love us as we need.
“6 Presence Prayers to Pray” – Bob Hostetler
Dwell in God’s presence throughout the day with a prayer that asks nothing but hopes much.
Remember sitting in your grade school classroom? The bell rang. Classmates hurried to their desks. The teacher’s voice rang out, calling the roll. You heard your name. You answered, “Present!” Believe it or not, that can be a picture of prayer.
Remember Isaiah’s account of a life-changing vision in the Jerusalem Temple? He saw the Lord, seated on a kingly throne. He saw majestic heavenly beings, who sang about the holiness of God. The room shook. The place filled with smoke. The prophet was overwhelmed with a sense of his lowliness. “Then,” the prophet says, “I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And Isaiah said, simply, “Here am I. Send me!” (Isaiah 6:8, NIV).
Isaiah’s response is a great example of a “presence prayer,” similar to a student saying “present!” or a soldier showing up for roll call. It is a prayer that asks nothing but hopes much. It is a way to show up, to be “present” with God, and to experience His presence with you.
The best presence prayers are simple and short. They can be repeated often, silently or aloud. Try choosing one (or more) of these and making it a habit to help you dwell in God’s presence throughout the day.
1) “Here I am.” This is an echo of Isaiah’s prayer in Isaiah 6:8. Try saying it often throughout the day.
2) “You are here.” Jacob had a dream of a stairway to heaven and on waking, said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it” (Genesis 28:16, ESV). The Lord is always close to you; this prayer simply affirms his presence.
3) “Yes, Lord.” Like the Canaanite woman who pleaded for her daughter’s deliverance in Matthew 15:27, or Martha, who affirmed her belief in Jesus in John 11:27, “Yes, Lord,” is a good presence prayer to say throughout the day.
4) “My Lord and my God.” Thomas’s post-resurrection exclamation—“My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28)—is a strong affirmation of faith in the risen Christ.
5) “You are my king.” Try praying this presence prayer (found in Psalm 44:4, among other places) anytime you stoop or kneel in the course of your daily routine.
6) “You are my rock.” Remind yourself of God’s presence with this prayer, drawn from Psalm 18:2, anytime you see a rock, a cliff face or mountain.
Some presence prayers are even shorter or more informal (“hi” or “there you are”). But they can be among the most powerful prayers you pray, as they not only remind you of God’s immanence but also help you to remember to be present with God. And the more that happens, the more God can do in you and for you, in answer to your prayers.
A Guide to Practicing God’s Presence – Kenneth Boa & Jenny Abel (PDF)
See esp. pp. 29-30,33,35,40-41,45,47,50-57,55-56,60,63,65,72-74,76,84,87,92-93,97-98, 100,104,106-108,113,118
The Practice of the presence of god – brother lawrence
“Brother Lawrence was a man of humble beginnings who discovered the greatest secret of living in the kingdom of God here on earth. It is the art of “practicing the presence of God in one single act that does not end.” He often stated that it is God who paints Himself in the depths of our soul. We must merely open our hearts to receive Him and His loving presence. For nearly 300 years this unparalleled classic has given both blessing and instruction to those who can be content with nothing less than knowing God in all His majesty and feeling His loving presence throughout each simple day.” (Amazon book description)