Thursday, September 4, 2008

Assume Presence

The Lord will keep
your going out and
your coming in…

Psalm 121:8

Numerous times I have felt it necessary to “tell” God what he needed to do—“Be with us now.” “Be with Mary.” “Take care of my family.” “Guard and protect Pete as he travels.” My “to do” list for God is endless. I forget that asking for God’s presence isn’t necessary. Acknowledging his presence is another matter entirely.

Listen closely to most prayers and you’ll hear the majority of Christians telling God that he needs to do something. Perhaps there’s a brief thanksgiving and then a quick dash towards the request line. And, of course, the request line is always the longest. It’s almost as though God is viewed as a type of cosmic waiter, standing by patiently waiting for our orders because he has no idea what we could possibly need.

Some may argue that, as with a waiter, it’s appropriate to acknowledge our needs. There is a distinct difference however, between acknowledging our needs to God and telling him what needs to be done. I remember once telling God that he needed to take a particular person out of my life…they steadfastly remained until the time came when I acknowledged God’s will keep character. Instead of my telling I needed to be told.

There is concreteness to the word will. So, when we pray our starting point should be an assumption…the Lord will keep. Our requests then build on that assumption and become acknowledgements of our own inabilities. God knows. What we need is the ability to believe it.

God, I acknowledge your
presence with me. I believe
that there is no empty space
between you and me.
Help me to be continually
aware of your watchful eye.

Artwork--Moses Before the Burning Bush, Domenico Feti, 1613-14, Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna

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