Friday, May 6
Last post, I wrote about being present with our teens. It's not easy, but it can be more beneficial and less stressful than the other alternative, in which all our time with our teens is spent trying to manage them in some way. This post will explore the idea of making ourselves present to God. Learning to dwell in his presence will prepare us to be present to others, including our teens.
How do you approach God in prayer? Do you come to him with a list of thanks and requests? Do you pray in the shower? In the car? In bed at night? Maybe you get up in the morning and pray, or pray throughout the day. I find that sometimes praying just wears me out. I once determined to pray for a long period of time each day. I wrote out a long list of names and situations that I wanted to bring before God. I got myself in a prayerful mindset and sat in a lonely place and prayed through my list. After a few days, this process became exhausting! Also, to my shame, the prayers quickly grew cold and business-like.
More recently, I've tried to approach prayer less as "talking to God" and more as "time with God." This has been so much more refreshing! I still pray through lists sometimes, but most often I will just sit and be with God. Maybe I can tell him what is on my mind and ask him to intercede in the lives of others, or maybe I can just sit in silence, trusting that it is enough to simply place myself in his midst.
I apologize for all the first person singular pronouns. Let me share what a friend recently told me. He said sometimes when he is driving in the car, he will clear off the passenger seat so that Jesus has a place to sit and ride with him. They don't talk constantly- maybe the radio is even on. Even when he's not "praying" he is consciously spending time in his "presence."
I urge you to take time to consciously enter God's presence. Don't worry about what you need to pray about. Don't scold yourself if your mind wanders. Just give that to God. Don't worry about waxing eloquent or running down a list of needs or thanks. Don't come to him with an agenda, just come to him. Don't believe God will meet you in silence? Remember his last words spoken in Matthew: "I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Can you find satisfaction in this non-judgemental, no-pressure place?