In His Presence

28 May 2010 - On the plane from Denver to Charlotte

Genesis 40, Mark 10

Lord, I am picturing my soul, the very essence of who I am, resting safely and securely in the comforts of your protection and provision – forever. Is this what my brothers before me like Hudson Taylor, Frank Laubach and Brother Lawrence meant about your presence and practicing it always? I never want to leave here.

In my mind, my soul is surrounded by all the things which have spoken comfort and security in my experience: the softness of feathers, cool breezes, the rhythmic flow of water over rocks and into deep pool, fragrances of gardenia and tea olive with cream and butter and honey. These are only worldly shadows, I’m sure, which only hint at the wonders of your presence.

But there’s more. Amid the comfort,  I am in a high tower of your protection and provision. Under your wings I am free from harm and the worries of tomorrow.

Here I am desperately dependent, bowed at your throne, longing to do your bidding.

Lord, I want to remain here. How do I stay here in the midst of baggage claim and the ride home? When the current of the world pulls at me, I do not want to leave. Keep me here I pray.

Teach me as you taught my heroes of the past how to live life in your presence. 

How do I bring those I love into this place? Is this what intercession means?

Is evil abolished and utterly destroyed in this place, at your very name?

In your presence, O Lord, is fullness of Joy. Keep me I pray.

29 May 2010 – Screened in porch overlooking the woods 

Job 6,  Romans 10, Genesis 41

I’m back home after a great visit with my family in Colorado. Vacations are wonderful, but as I settle into a routine, I want to be aware of my presence with Christ in the throne room of God (Ephesians 2:6) even as I carry on my day.

And I know that He is present with me even now as I type. Today is an unscheduled buffer day. No set activities, but many things can be done: prop up the tomatoes and other vegetables, cut the grass, refill the bird feeders, prune and spray the roses, continue to clear out the brush and small trees in the back yard. Not to mention going through the mail and attacking the office work. And there’s exercise.

How can I abide and be aware of God’s presence during this time?

Frank Laubach had the same question back in January of 1930. He started off with trying to line up his actions every 15 or 30 minutes with the will of God, asking, “What, Father, do you desire said? What, Father, do you desire this minute?” [1]

I start this day with that same goal. I know that being in His presence, even while I go about my duties is the very best way I can spend this day.

And now I venture out into the day to do a few things outside. Lord, I ask you to help me do your will even in the midst. I am setting a timer on my watch for an hour and I pray that during this day it never reaches the alarm at the end. May I be aware of you and your will at least once every hour so that I might reset the timer.

Laubach defined prayer as “any effort or activity that fosters the awareness of God’s presence. Prayer is the simple recognition that God is present at all times, under all conditions and through all people.” [2]

30 May 2010 - Screened in porch overlooking the woods

Yesterday was my first official day trying to redirect my will to God’s every 15 to 30 minutes. For the most part it went very well. Every time God came to mind I reset my timer and it usually happened before 30 minutes passed, many at around 15.

Once in a conversation it went almost to an hour, but the conversation was with Betsy and it was about spiritual things.

Finally at the end of the day I got lost in playing a game and the timer went off. But all in all: not bad for the first day.

 Often I found myself lifting the person I was with or just with (I include phone conversations) up to the same throne of grace I picture my soul in the other day. A couple of times a worry about provision settled briefly in my mind, but the cool thing was that the worry itself brought me back to the throne room. The worries quickly evaporated in His presence.

I spent a lot of time outside working in the garden, cutting the grass and clearing out the wooded area beyond the porch. It was a very pleasant day and I felt much delight.

Today, Lord, I pray that I will be more thankful and that my delights would turn into praise.

As I read Frank Laubach’s entry for January 26, 1930, I am struck by his desire to have God pour through his fingers as he types, his feet as he steps and his tongue as he speaks. It reminds me of I Peter 4:11:

If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.

Laubach’s two great “burning passions” were to be like Jesus and “to respond to God as a violin responds to the bow of the master.” [3]

He was convinced that when we encounter others we should quickly be done with small talk and move on to the richer subjects such as sharing with each other the adventures of our souls.

“Open your soul and entertain the glory of God and after a while that glory will be reflected in the world about you and in the very clouds above your head.” [4]

These are my prayers today, O Lord. These and that my body will get back on South Carolina time. By Tuesday, when I start my string of classes, sleeping 2-10 am will not work.

31 May 2010  - Screened in porch overlooking the woods – Memorial Day

Job 7, Romans 11, Genesis 42

Yesterday was another unscheduled day at home as I move towards a stretch of several months teaching classes. If I were to grade the day as far as my goal of redirecting my will towards His every 15-30 minutes, I would give it a C. For the most part the Lord would come to mind within 30 minutes, but I want to do better about delighting in God’s throne room and praising Him as I go.

Also, I really want to be more present with the people I encounter, either in person or over the phone. As I encounter others through email or other modern forms, I want to spend a moment and pray for them.

As I looked at Laubach’s journal today from January 29, 1930, I came across my favorite section from the whole book. It is entitled Only one thing now:

“I feel simply carried along each hour, doing my part in a plan which is far beyond myself. This sense of cooperation with God in little things is what so astonishes me, for I never have felt this way before. I need something, and turn round to find it waiting for me. I must work, to be sure, but there is God working along with me. To know this gives a sense of security and assurance for the future which is also new to my life. I seem to have to make sure of only one thing now, and every other thing “takes care of itself,” or I prefer to say what is more true, God takes care of all the rest. My part is to live this hour in continuous inner conversation with God and in perfect responsiveness to His will. To make this hour gloriously rich. This seems to be all I need to think about.”[1]

Wow! Lord, please allow me to know this sense of security and assurance for the future that Laubach speaks of. Yes, and please allow me rest in your presence in such a way that I would realize that the resting is my primary focus.


[1] Letters by a Modern Mystic,  Man of Prayer, p. 21

[1] Laubach, Letters by a Modern Mystic,  Man of Prayer, p. 20

[2] Laubach, Introduction, Man of Prayer, p. 8

[3]  Letters by a Modern Mystic,  Man of Prayer, p. 20

[4] ditto, p. 21

 

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