Update 2/12/23: As the news of the revival at Asbury University has spread, I am reminded that "practicing the presence of Jesus" is something we can all do to help flame a revival in our individual hearts. Sharing this post from a few years ago when I found myself in a time of dryness........
The blog post below is an excerpt from Closer to God: Simple Methods, Starting Today. I'm sharing it here because honestly, I have really back-slided for the last 2-3 months in my spending quality time with God. I've even fully failed in keeping my prayer record updated. My prayer life is suffering too, as I've tried to squish it into busy days that have started back with the start of the school year. Not unexpectedly, my daily level of anxiety has increased, my afternoon fatigue has been tremendous, and my motivation has been low. Ugh! I know better than this; so why do I keep coming back to this place?
Thankfully, I have a plan to get back into "practicing His presence." I wrote about this simple but life-transforming strategy a few years ago, and now I'm posting and sharing the excerpt here. I will be re-implementing this strategy over the next 30 days, and I encourage you all to do the same. Let's see what happens!
"...So the Biblical challenge is this: keep all your mind on the Lord all the time.
I wondered -- can anyone do such a thing? Then I wondered, why would the Bible tell us to do something if it wasn't possible? Next I wondered, how could someone do such a thing? Or at least, how could someone try to do such a thing?
And then a very simple, very childlike idea came to me. Using a child-level idea, I set up a private challenge for myself. I created a personal plan of action that some of you may think is silly. I decided that, for me, the only way I could come close to keeping the Lord on my mind all day would be to pretend that He was actually physically with me, as well as being spiritually with me.
I'm actually a little embarrassed to tell the lengths I had to go to in order to attempt to keep the Lord on my mind. Again, because it seems so simple, so childlike, and even maybe a little immature. Yet, do you know who else did what I am about to describe to you? King David. David seemed to have taken a personal "think about God as much as possible" challenge throughout his life. Yet David wasn't too embarrassed to tell about it. He wrote all about his walking with the Lord and talking with the Lord, all throughout his life...
...So here it is: I decided to take a "Remember He is With You Challenge" for 30 days straight.During these 30 days, I would remember that God was with me all the time by pretending, like a child pretends in his imagination, that He was actually physically with me.
See, I would wake up in the morning and think of Jesus as if He was sitting at the foot of my bed, saying "Good morning! This is a new day God has for you." Then He would follow me into the bathroom -- yes even the bathroom -- and sit on the edge of the tub as I brushed my teeth. There, He would help me get my thoughts ready for the day.
Next, I would leave to drive to work, and He would sit in the passenger seat of my car, and we would talk about whatever was on my mind for the day. He would lead me to think about the challenges that might come up at work that day, and He would cause me to consider how to best approach handling them.
While at work, I would be extremely busy, of course. So, I decided to put an extra empty chair in one of the corners of my office, and to me, that was "His chair." Whenever I would get a few minutes break from working on a written report, I would imagine He was there. Although I was really busy, that chair reminded me that if something stressful happened during the day, I could immediately consider Him for help. If I had a stressful meeting, I would just imagine Jesus sitting right there physically in the room, at an empty seat at the conference table, watching over everything, and reminding me -- I will guide you through your troubles, so please remember I am here, and I want you to genuinely depend on me.
Finally, on the drive home from work, I would pretend Jesus would be physically in my passenger seat again, reminding me that even though my day had been long and tiring, that I should remember to have patience with the children, and all the household tasks, and all the after-school tasks that keep us busy. At home, He had a place on the sofa in the living room; and He would help me to remain calm when the children started fighting or in whatever happened or needed to be done while with my family.
I did this all in my own mind. Even my husband and my children didn't know I was doing this. Of course I didn't tell them. I couldn't let them know my mind was so weak that I had to play child-like imagination games with myself, in order to remember God...
...Well, let me tell you what happened. I scheduled and followed this personal "Remember He is with You" challenge for 30 days straight.
Simply put -- it was a very enjoyable month, and by about day 20, I didn't have to "pretend" anymore that He was there.
I no longer had to pretend on His presence; because by that time, I could perceive His presence. After only 20 days or so, I couldn't get Him or His ways out of mind if I tried. Finally, finally! I had found His presence...
If you would like to learn simple, practical ways to walk with God every single day, then you would really enjoy Closer to God: Simple Methods, Starting Today
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Author's other books can be found at: https://www.amazon.com/Sherry-Elaine-Evans