Practising the presence of God  – Femi Aribisala
By Femi Aribisala
Are you careful with the way you spend your money? Well, what about your time? How do you spend it? Time is one of the most precious “commodities” we have. David says to God: “My times are in your hand.” (Psalm 31:15). This shows we don’t even know how much time we have. Besides, it is a depleting and non-renewable resource.
Max Lucado says: “By the time your life is over, you will have spent six months at stoplights, eight months opening junk mail, a year and a half looking for lost stuff and a whopping five years standing in various lines. Why don’t you give these moments to God?”
Looking unto Jesus
In everything, Jesus is our template and example. He is: “the way, the truth, and the life.” (John 14:6).
Jesus operated in unbroken fellowship with God the Father. Sometimes, the bible records Jesus answering the Father, without any record of the Father audibly saying anything: “At that time Jesus answered and said, ‘I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in your sight.’” (Matthew 11:25-26).
This indicates that there was a continuous stream of heart conversation going on between Father and Son. Jesus always laid emphasis on this continuous fellowship with God the Father. He says: “He who sent me is with me. The Father has not left me alone, for I always do those things that please him.” (John 8:29).
Paul enjoins us to: “pray without ceasing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). But you may well ask: “Is this even possible?” Remember this: “It is God who works in you both to will and to do for his good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:13). Therefore, one of the first imperatives is to ask God for the grace to be prayerful and to always be conscious of him. God himself has already established the framework for this: “In God we live, and move, and have our being.” (Acts 17:28).
Isaiah says to God: “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you.” (Isaiah 26:3). But is it actually possible for the mind of a man to be stayed on God? Practice makes perfect. Try it for thirty minutes and then for one hour. Keep extending it. This means your every thought, your every imagination, must have God at its center.
To arrive at the state where we are in continual fellowship with God is very difficult in the beginning. But though it is difficult, we know that we can do all things through Christ. (Philippians 4:13). The beauty of this is that once we are determined to do this, God himself becomes immediately involved in the process.
As a matter of fact, he is its facilitator. We are his workmanship who: “as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 2:5).
God should become our living and walking consciousness. This is the heritage of our redemption and atonement. David says: “I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.” (Psalm 16:8). He also says to God: “My voice you shall hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning I will direct it to you, and I will look up.” (Psalm 5:3).
Make this achievement a prayer point and start every morning with a “Good morning Holy Spirit.” Let God be the first person you talk to every morning and the last person you talk to every night. Ask him at every opportunity: “Daddy, what are we doing today? Dear Holy Spirit, what would you like to teach me today?
Thinking about God
God searches the heart and he examines the deepest motives. He says: “I know the things that come into your mind, every one of them.” (Ezekiel 11:5). Therefore, it is imperative for the Christian to fill his heart with little internal adorations of God. It is of the utmost importance to think of God at all times. Or, in the first instance, to think of God as often as possible.
As worshipers of God, you should be: “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Ephesians 5:19-20).
The bible says God is very particular about this: “Then those who feared and loved the Lord spoke often of him to each other. And he had a Book of Remembrance drawn up in which he recorded the names of those who feared him and loved to think about him.” (Malachi 3:16).
Isaiah says those who love the Lord should jettison their thoughts for the thoughts of God: “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” (Isaiah 55:7).
Intimacy in prayer
In many respects, the concept of prayer has become too stiff and formal. Therefore, learn to speak to the Lord and not merely to pray. Just speak to the Lord. True fellowshiping with God means that we graduate from praying to God, to talking to God. Don’t let your limited knowledge of the scriptures become a constraint. Remember that King James is dead, but the word of God is living and active.
Prayer is not an exercise in holiness. It is not even talking to God. Prayer is talking to your Father. Jesus says, when you pray say; “Our Father.” This denotes intimacy and familiarity. Jesus never taught his disciples how to pray: he only taught his disciples to pray. (Luke 11:11).
No man can teach a son how to talk to his father. Just talk.
God sometimes hides himself from us. But don’t be discouraged, it never lasts. Isaiah says: “I will wait on the LORD, who hides his face from the house of Jacob.” (Isaiah 8:17). Sometimes God is also deliberately silent. David complains about this: “Do not keep silent, O God! Do not hold Your peace!” (Psalm 83:1).
Should this kind of thing happen to you, don’t be fazed by it. God is simply stretching your faith and teaching you patience. Whatever you do, never give up on God; confident that God will never give up on you. The silence of God is actually one of the best pointers that you are now close to him and in a mature relationship.
Continue talking to him whether he answers or not. God answers in many different ways. But he always answers.
People who live long together eventually begin to sound alike, talk alike and even look alike. As we talk more with God, we gradually take on his thoughts, his principles and his attitudes. We take on his heart: “Delight yourself also in the Lord, and he shall give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4).