In the previous post, I gave 4 eternal values that make a difference to prayer life. This post puts the spotlight on the first one: awareness of God’s presence.
The desert travellers knew the routine. When God paused their journey, the tabernacle was set up1, the camp formed around it, the cloud rested over the sanctuary and God’s glory filled the Holy of Holies. The Shekinah was among them but, apart from Aaron’s annual adventure beyond the veil, no one was allowed near that manifest beauty of Presence. Glory was close, but inaccessible. When the journey resumed and the cloud lifted, God was still with them, but distant. The changes from close to distant were signaled by trumpets and a shout: Rise up, O Lord!2
Imagine if God stopped the take-off. No more ascending cloud, no more distance. He would remain close, accessible all the time, and walk with them.
Israel would have probably struggled with the message, terrified at the thought of God walking among them. The idea was impossible and unimaginable.
Yet, it’s exactly what God promised. He whet their appetite for an experience of his presence that seemed impossible and was unimaginable: I will put my dwelling place among you, I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people (Lev 26:11, 12).
That promise hit shadow levels of ‘yes’ in the nation’s history, but it was only when Christ tabernacled on earth3 that the promise was fully unpacked. And his death tore the veil to open up life in the full “YES” of the promise for us.4
Paul reached back to that Lev 26 promise and ushered it onto the new covenant stage: As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.” (2 Cor 6:16). It was time for the Spirit to draw believers into the excitement and awe of living in the full YES of what was unimaginable and impossible. God is present – close and accessible – all the time!
He adds this extra bit: he is constantly with us as a loving Father. And, “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty (2 Cor 6:18)
Awareness of God’s presence effects prayer intimacy, restfulness, admiration, desire and continuity. As it makes a difference to praying, it reshapes living. As the influence on prayer life deepens, the impact on living spreads. That influence grows the more we talk to him about our awareness of his presence. So we deliberately make it a prayer conversation piece.
Using 2 Cor 6:16,18 as the anchor scripture, here are four themes and a few types of prayer that can help steer the conversation. Focus on one theme for a day or more before moving to the next. Talk with him about your awareness that his presence with you is…..
- CONSTANT I will live with them
- Prayer of Wonder: Expressing your WOW at the size of the miracle of God with us – how you feel about close-up Glory, about living in the company of the highest and holiest Lord over all.
- Prayer of Trust: Speak to the Lord of a heart and mind resting in awareness of his constant presence. Whatever the unexpected, the needs or challenges, nothing is unknown to him and he is present to defend, enable and give hope.
- ACCESSIBLE and walk among them
- Prayer of Celebration: Rejoice (sing, dance, shout, express joy) that grace has cleared away every obstacle, and made it possible for you to have constant access to the Lord…to be face to face, able to encounter him, enjoy him and pour your heart out to him.
- Prayer of Thanks: Tell him of your gratitude for his involvement in the details of our journey. He walks where you are, never unaware of your circumstances, and never distracted or too busy to listen and “give grace to help”
- UNCHANGING I will be their God, and they will be my people.
- Prayer of Praise: Exalt the mercy and kindness of God who has joined you to himself by a covenant that no Darkness or difficulty can change. He has made you a person of his presence, now and forever.
- Prayer of Consecration: Renew surrender, to live in a way that honours his presence at all times, under all circumstances, whatever the cost.
- CARING I will be a Father to you….
- Prayer of Adoration: Express love for the Father who is never absent, always with you, for you. Your heart responding to being cared for perfectly and loved unconditionally by him.
- Prayer of Hunger: Tell the Father of your longing for a deeper awareness of his presence and of his love working in and through you.
Then, whatever your ASKING point, whether personal or missional, draw it into the fresh awareness of God’s presence. Let that awareness continually influence what you ask and how.
1Num 9:17, Ex 40:36 2Numb 10:2,35 3Jhn 1:14 42 Cor 1:20