An uncomplicated yet powerful spiritual exercise is to merely practice the presence of God throughout our day:
- thanking God for a beautiful sunset or the best coffee we’ve ever tasted,
- asking God to help us with a computer problem or find something,
- sensing God’s presence as we close our eyes and listen to a favorite song.
Throughout the day, we can use short little “breath prayers” to surrender situations beyond our control, whether it be bad news at the dentist (“Into Thy hands” is my fave BP in the dentists chair) or a person we can’t understand or relate to (“Show me this person’s heart—it’s in there somewhere!”).
I used to find myself easily bored but that has changed with years of practicing God’s presence. There’s always something to converse with God about:
- Look—there’s a lost dog. What can I do to help this poor creature? Show me what to do!
- As I sit in the doctor’s office waiting room with nothing to read, I can pray for the person next to me who looks like they’re expecting bad news. I can pray for my kids’ teachers. I can ask God to give me some fun ways to goof off with my husband.
- I can pray in the line at the hardware store by thanking God for all the marvelous inventions around me: weedkiller (creates beauty); locks on doors (privacy in the bathroom); porch swings (fun and feelings of freedom and relaxation).
Practicing the presence of God makes the Great Commandment easier:
Love God, love others
Join the Conversation
How do you practice God’s presence? Fun ways? Simple ways? Ways that keep you out of trouble?
A note to readers: Jan Johnson explores this idea more deeply in the second DVD, Practicing the Presence of God, in a new DVD series, Spiritual Formation as Abiding. (This second DVD is now available along with a full-color participants guide with Powerpoint slides for you to use on your own or to duplicate and use with a group.)
Jan Johnson is the author of twenty books including Invitation to the Jesus Life and Abundant Simplicity and a thousand articles and Bible studies. She speaks at retreats and conferences, and teaches (adjunct) at Azusa Pacific University and Hope International University. Also a spiritual director, Jan holds a D. Min. in Ignatian Spirituality and Spiritual Direction. She lives with her husband in Simi Valley, California. You can visit her at JanJohnson.org.