We had a great night last week with brother Thierry. We felt incredibly privileged to have him come to speak with us and appreciated his humilty, honesty and openness of heart.
This month we are exploring the idea of practicing the presence of God. We learned that Brother Thierry and his brothers pray 6 times a day and have regular periods of silence as they seek to give themselves to God and abide in His presence. It was refreshing to hear from Brother Thierry how even he struggles from time to time to focus totally while praying but at the same time it was a challenge to us that times of drawing aside and centering ourselves on the love of Jesus would make us all people of Presence. As brother Thierry talked to us it was obvious from his words and spirit that his continual, conscious exposure and openness to the presence of God had changed and transformed his life beautifully.
I am gripped by this idea of the presence of God at the minute. I have been reading through Exodus and I have been inspired by the raw desire, desperation and drive within Moses for the presence of God. Moses had experienced the power and awesomeness of the Presence and he knew that without it he was wasting his time.....'if Your Presence does not go with us, we are not going anywhere.' I love this. I feel at this point in my life presently. I can't be bothered anymore with simply doing the Christian thing for the sake of it, or fulfilling the religious duties just to save face. I am more desperate than ever for the Presence, for that level of intimacy with God that touches our souls in the deepest place and transforms us. I am in childhood bewilderment once again at the fact that I, one made from the dust, have become the abiding place of God Almighty. That my body is the temple of God. That the Presence, which had the Israelites quaking in their boots and bowing in reverential awe and fear, is what I carry around within me every day. The missional life we believe should be one of Presence. As we engage with those we live and work with, I believe there should be something which marks us out as different. Maybe not different in the ways we have been brought up to believe to be but a simple grace, beauty and truth about our lives that leaves lasting imprints upon peoples' souls. Yeah we should seek to get people into church, but we must never forget that they should meet with Jesus when they meet with us, wherever that may be.
In striving to be these kind of people, we must find some space in our daily lives to centre ourselves before God. To become aware of His presence in our lives and to allow His love to flood and then overflow our souls. The disciplined place of prayer is not the end in itself, it is only the means. The end is 'righteousnes, joy and peace in the Holy Ghost;' it is a life of deep joy and liberty even in the face of great suffering; it is a life of knowing that we are loved deeply and unconditionally by our Maker. It is the Joy of the Lord. The word Presence in the Hebrew means literally before the face, and was usually prepositioned by the word for standing. Imagine the privilege of coming before Yahweh, the God of the Universe and His son Jesus, our beautiful Saviour - standing before the face of God.....suddenly praying 6 times a day does not sound difficult or boring!!
Thank-you for Your awesome Presence which will never leave us. Help us to discipline ourselves in time spent with You, not to earn spiritual brownie points, but to come to a knowledge of the greatest truth of all...that You love us deeply. In doing so may we come to know the sheer delight that comes in knowing you and making You known.
In Jesus' name