Learn to notice God's presence
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God, Are You There?

If God is present everywhere, why do we feel so all alone? Richard Rohr says, โ€œWeโ€™re already in the presence of God. Whatโ€™s absent is awareness.โ€

Sometimes it can feel like we are all alone in the world. However, God is always there. In , David looks for a place he can hide from God but he ends up confessing that there is no such place โ€“ God is present everywhere. Or as Dr. Jim Grier once said, โ€œInstead of thinking of God as present everywhere, we should think of everything as being present before God.โ€ Meditate on that one, itโ€™ll blow your mind!

If God is present everywhere, why do we feel so all alone? Richard Rohr says, โ€œWeโ€™re already in the presence of God. Whatโ€™s absent is awareness.โ€ How can we become more aware of Godโ€™s presence? Here are six places to look for God and a spiritual discipline to help you practice noticing Godโ€™s presence in the everyday stuff of life.

God is present in his creation.

says that the heavens declare the glory of the Lord. Jesus talked about the birds of the air and the flowers of the field as illustrations of Godโ€™s loving care. If you are willing to look with Spirit-led eyes, you will begin to see God in every blessing, the smile of a stranger, and in everyday things like eating and drinking. Each of these things points us to God and reminds us of his continual presence as both Creator and loving Father.

God is present in his people.

Jesus said, โ€œFor where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among themโ€. Even though this statement is made in the context of church discipline, Jesus is making a general statement and applying it to a specific situation. In other words, when the church is gathered to know and do the will of God, Jesus is with them. God is present in the church.

We can see Godโ€™s presence in the reading and preaching of the Word. We can often know Godโ€™s presence as we pray together, especially as we seek wisdom from the Holy Spirit. The prayers of the saints are described as incense before God. Weโ€™re even told that God inhabits (or is enthroned on) the praise of his people.

God is present in your heart.

In biblical terms, the โ€œheartโ€ is the very core of the person. It directs the will, the mind, the personality, and everything that makes you, you. says that the Spirit of God dwells in believers. This means that as we become new creations in Christ and as we submit to the Holy Spirit, he changes us from the inside out โ€“ he changes our hearts. As we submit to the Spirit, he lives in us! This is what allowed Paul to say, โ€œWe have the mind of Christ.โ€.

God is present in silence.

Do you remember when Elijah went up to mount Horeb to meet God? God wasnโ€™t in the wind, the earthquake, or the fire. He was in the sound of a still silence. Sometimes we need to take time away from everything to get still โ€“ to cease from our striving and work โ€“ and to listen for God in complete, reverent silence. Perhaps this is why the sons of Korah instruct us to โ€œBe still, and know that I am God.โ€

God is present in the wilderness.

Before Elijah went up on the mountain, before Moses spoke to Pharaoh, before Paul became the apostle to the Gentiles, they each met God in the wilderness. Often God uses the darkest and most depressing times of our lives to prepare us for future ministry. This โ€œdark night of the soulโ€ might be the way that God most often uses to bring about great spiritual growth. Pete Scazzero likes to ask God in these times, โ€œGod, how are you coming to me through this?โ€ God is present even in our deepest pain if we are willing to listen to him.

Sometimes itโ€™s even good to enter our own โ€œwildernessโ€ through extended times of silence and solitude with God. These times can be intense spiritual battles and hard-fought stilling of our hearts and minds. However, when we fight through the internal noise, we can sit silently in Godโ€™s presence and wait, should he decide to speak.

God is present in the circumstances of life.

George Mueller once said that when trying to discern Godโ€™s will he takes into account providential circumstances which often indicate Godโ€™s will โ€“ not on their own but in connection with the Spirit and the Word. God is present in every little moment of life. He is working all things together for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose ().

The Examen: A Spiritual Discipline for Noticing Godโ€™s Presence

A simple spiritual discipline called โ€œthe Examenโ€ can be a useful tool for noticing Godโ€™s presence in everyday life. Here is how you can practice it:

Either just before going to bed or first thing in the morning, take a few deep breaths and ask the Holy Spirit to help you review the last 24 hours in his presence.

Ask yourself, โ€œIn the last day where did I notice Godโ€™s presence or grace?โ€ As you notice each one, thank God for it.

Now ask yourself, โ€œWhere did I fail to notice Godโ€™s presence?โ€ or โ€œWhere did I neglect God?โ€ Just notice each one but donโ€™t beat yourself up. Notice but donโ€™t judge.

End by asking God to help you notice his presence more in the next 24 hours. Rest a few moments in his presence and enjoy his company.

How have you noticed Godโ€™s presence today? Leave a comment below.

Author of ๐‘ป๐’‰๐’† ๐‘พ๐’†๐’‚๐’“๐’š ๐‘ณ๐’†๐’‚๐’…๐’†๐’“โ€™๐’” ๐‘ฎ๐’–๐’Š๐’…๐’† ๐’•๐’ ๐‘ฉ๐’–๐’“๐’๐’๐’–๐’•: ๐‘จ ๐‘ฑ๐’๐’–๐’“๐’๐’†๐’š ๐’‡๐’“๐’๐’Ž ๐‘ฌ๐’™๐’‰๐’‚๐’–๐’”๐’•๐’Š๐’๐’ ๐’•๐’ ๐‘พ๐’‰๐’๐’๐’†๐’๐’†๐’”๐’” Zondervan Reflective, March 28, 2023 | West Michigan Regional Director for Pastor-in-Residence Ministries (pirministrie.org) | Co-host of the Hope Renewed podcast | Clergy Coach | Certified PRO-D facilitator | Spiritual director | Graduate of the Soul Care Institute | Provides training in soul care and leadership | Consults for churches and leadership teams | Leads workshops and retreats | Served as an ordained pastor for 18 years | MDiv from Grand Rapids Theological Seminary. | Learn more about Sean at seannemecek.com

3 comments on “God, Are You There?

  1. Pingback: How to Spend 30 Minutes in Silence with God — The Pastor's Soul

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