Monday, May 17, 2010

Practicing the Presence of God

The practice of the presence of God is an interesting spiritual discipline for Christian living. Bishop Jeremy Taylor placed it as the third most important means of growing in grace. The idea is continually seeking to live as though God really is present to help us, forgive us, and empower us to live life under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

The discipline of practicing God's presence involves multiple aspects. These range from relational experience of Jesus Christ, to the simply cognitive: it reforms our worldview so that we can imagine the world as it really is, soaked in the presence of the God of Jesus Christ. Jeremy Taylor says these things (link to the entire portion of his book)
3. Let everything you see represent to your spirit the presence, the excellency, and the power of God; and let your conversation with the creatures lead you unto the Creator; for so shall your actions be done more frequently, with an actual eye to God’s presence, by your often seeing him in the glass of the creation...
4. In your retirement, make frequent colloquies, or short discoursings, between God and thy soul. Seven times a-day do I praise thee: and in the night season also I thought upon thee, while I was waking. So did David; and every act of complaint or thanksgiving, every act of rejoicing or of mourning, every petition and every return of the heart in these intercourses, is a going to God, an appearing in his presence, and a representing him present to thy spirit and to thy necessity.
7. ‘God is in the bowels of thy brother;’ refresh them, when he needs it, and then you give your alms in the presence of God, and to God; and he feels the relief which thou providest for thy brother.
8. God is in every place; suppose it, therefore, to be a church: and that decency of deportment and piety of carriage, which you are taught by religion, or by custom, or by civility and public manners, to use in churches, the same use in all places; with this difference only, that in churches let your deportment be religious in external forms and circumstances also; but there and everywhere let it be religious in abstaining from spiritual indecencies, and in readiness to do good actions, that it may not be said of us, as God once complained of his people, ‘Why hath my beloved done wickedness in my house?'
10. He walks as in the presence of God that converses with him in frequent prayer and frequent communion; that runs to him in all his necessities; that asks counsel of him in all his doubtings; that opens all his wants to him; that weeps before him for his sins; that asks remedy and support for his weakness; that fears him as a judge; reverences him as a lord; obeys him as a father; and loves him as a patron.
Also, see Greg Boyd's sermon series on this powerful discipline. It is quite good. He especially gets the imaginative aspect of things, in the sense that imagination is  Just search the linked page for the word 'presence.' Maybe listen to the sermons for a week

1 comment:

Rich Griese said...

I am also interested in the study of very early christianity. I am currently reading, Walter Bauer's _Orthodoxy and Heresy in Earliest Christianity_. I have studied the topic for almost 20 years now. I have read a number of other of the great works on this topic like Strauss, Harnack, Schweitzer, two additional Bauers (FC & Bruno), and many many others, but this is my current read.

I am always interested in meeting others that are interested in the study of earliest christianity to have ongoing conversations and share reading lists, etc... you can contact me by email at

Do you have specific aspect of the study that interest you, that you might be interested in discussing, and perhaps having on going discussions on the topic in general? Feel free to email me to talk about it.

My main interest is the very earliest period. Perhaps from the modified Messiah idea that may have begun around the time of the Maccabean revolt through the beginnings of christianity itself, till the Council of Nicea in 325CE, and perhaps a few years after that as some of the results of that council took effect.

On my main site I don't post my christian history posts, since most people have no interest in christian history, so I try to make my main site more of a general purpose one. But I do post on christian history topics, and collect resources and links that others interested in the subject may find useful. I am happy to share these with folks that are interested in that kind of thing.