Dwell in God’s presence throughout the day with a prayer that asks nothing but hopes much.
Posted in , Apr 21, 2015
Remember sitting in your grade school classroom? The bell rang. Classmates hurried to their desks. The teacher’s voice rang out, calling the roll. You heard your name. You answered, “Present!”
Believe it or not, that can be a picture of prayer.
Remember Isaiah’s account of a life-changing vision in the Jerusalem Temple? He saw the Lord, seated on a kingly throne. He saw majestic heavenly beings, who sang about the holiness of God. The room shook. The place filled with smoke. The prophet was overwhelmed with a sense of his lowliness.
“Then,” the prophet says, “I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And Isaiah said, simply, “Here am I. Send me!” (Isaiah 6:8, NIV).
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Isaiah’s response is a great example of a “presence prayer,” similar to a student saying “present!” or a soldier showing up for roll call. It is a prayer that asks nothing but hopes much. It is a way to show up, to be “present” with God, and to experience His presence with you.
The best presence prayers are simple and short. They can be repeated often, silently or aloud. Try choosing one (or more) of these and making it a habit to help you dwell in God’s presence throughout the day.
1) “Here I am.”
This is an echo of Isaiah’s prayer in Isaiah 6:8. Try saying it often throughout the day.
2) “You are here.”
Jacob had a dream of a stairway to heaven and on waking, said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it” (Genesis 28:16, ESV). The Lord is always close to you; this prayer simply affirms his presence.
3) “Yes, Lord.”
Like the Canaanite woman who pleaded for her daughter’s deliverance in Matthew 15:27, or Martha, who affirmed her belief in Jesus in John 11:27, “Yes, Lord,” is a good presence prayer to say throughout the day.
4) “My Lord and my God.”
Thomas’s post-resurrection exclamation—“My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28)—is a strong affirmation of faith in the risen Christ.
5) “You are my king.”
Try praying this presence prayer (found in Psalm 44:4, among other places) anytime you stoop or kneel in the course of your daily routine.
6) “You are my rock.”
Remind yourself of God’s presence with this prayer, drawn from Psalm 18:2, anytime you see a rock, a cliff face or mountain.
Some presence prayers are even shorter or more informal (“hi” or “there you are”). But they can be among the most powerful prayers you pray, as they not only remind you of God’s immanence but also help you to remember to be present with God. And the more that happens, the more God can do in you and for you, in answer to your prayers.