Skip to comments.Beginning Catholic: A Stronger Prayer Life: The Presence of God [Ecumenical]
Posted on 11/11/2008 5:57:07 PM PST by Salvation
Does the presence of God animate your life?
Do your thoughts turn to him throughout the day, aware of his loving presence and deep concern for even the trivial aspects of your daily life?
Awareness of the presence of God is one of the foundation stones of the spiritual life.
Here's some help for developing this practice simply and quickly.
St. Augustine tells us:
If God "dwells within us", then everything we do is in the presence of God.
Developing an awareness of the presence of God simply means recognizing this, keeping it in your thoughts, and living like we really mean it.
This is a huge factor in the spiritual life. Imagine how different life would be if you were always aware of being in God's loving presence! Even the smallest tasks would be meaningful, you'd treat everyone with greater love, every word you'd say could be said in union with God.
This kind of awareness is what St. Paul means when he says "pray without ceasing" (1 Thess 5:17).
Being in the presence of God is simply living in union with Christ. This is one of the major goals of the spiritual life. And it's something you can start to do now!
Here are suggestions for developing this habit.
Each uses something to trigger you to remember: God is present right now!
Then pause for a second and say a brief prayer. Something like, "Lord, I know you're with me always. Help me to grow closer to you."
Or simply use St. Peter's words from Scripture:
Try some of these suggestions to help you "trigger" your awareness of the presence of God. I know some sound corny, but they do help:
Start with one thing, something simple. Deliberately turn it into a habit. Practice it for a couple of days, and you'll come to rely on it!
Simple, almost hidden practices like this will bring you many benefits throughout the day. It's a terrific aid for developing inner peace, and the realization that all of your words and actions matter a great deal.
And once you start this habit, you'll find that you've also begun the next one...
Now that you're becoming constantly aware of the presence of God, you'll find it natural to turn to him for everything.
Each time, keep it brief if you need to. Just a couple of seconds if that's all you can spare. Perhaps a bit longer if you have the time to wait in silence with him, after you've had your say.
You are always in God's presence. He does love you without limit, and wants the best for you.
So live like you mean it!
Talk to him throughout the day. Even about small things, talk to him.
A great danger is that you'll live like your faith and life are two separate things. You'll go to Mass on Sunday, but for the rest of the week you'll live like God doesn't exist.
Don't fall into that trap!
Two of the best habits for integrating faith and life are:
This will form a wonderful habit of prayer that runs throughout your day. Everything else will be framed by your deep love for God, and your desire for union with him.
Now you'll find it easy to spend a few minutes in silence with the Lord...
...in mental prayer, where you'll learn to listen to God!
It all begins by putting ourselves in the presence of God. In fact, the Catechism of the Catholic Church begins its beautiful reflections on the Our Father by stating as much: "After we have placed ourselves in the presence of God our Father..., the Spirit of adoption stirs up in our hearts seven petitions, seven blessings." (Catechism, 2803)
May the Spirit stir up great love in your heart as you begin to live in the presence of God!
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Dear God, Please help me, because I'm a clueless stupid sinner. After 20 years of the same prayer, I get no answer. What say you?
Perhaps God has answered and you just did not recognize his answer.
Did it come through circumstances in your life?
Was a door opened for you and you didn’t walk through it?
Were you asked to do something and didn’t follow through on the request?
God answers our prayers constantly. Our job is to listen ALL the time.
My wife came up with this prayer, which I think is brilliant in its Augustinian simplicity: "Lord, give me/us what I/we need to do your will."
But prayer, despite the root meaning of the word, is more than petition. Maybe, just maybe (I would not consider me any kind of expert in these things) it would be good to thank God for what He has already given you. You have a mind, a computer, the ability to reason, more or less, a desire to turn to God, ACCESS to God (we often seem to neglect the wonder of God's willingness to pay any attention at all to our blather), friends and acquaintances to whom you can turn for conversation about prayer and other things. You have remarkable and commendable persistence and patience in besieging God so long and so simply.
There is one place, for you, where you can meet God: in His "here". And His "here" includes your "here", as His "now" includes your "now". So here and now is where God is.
We have two problems. The first is that of course we don't really believe that. And the second is that we are rarely content to be here and now. Sometimes it seems that all I have to do is open my breviary and my mind goes rushing off to the demands of the coming day.
Me to God: Your call is very important to me. Unfortunately all my faculties are busy with nonsense. Your call will NOT be answered in the order in which it was received, because if any other nonsense interposes itself, your foolish servant will go a-haring off after that. Only you can deliver me from this. Still, I will try to be here and now, and try to believe and behave as though I believed that even when I am not here, you are.