How to Experience God’s Presence

April 2, 2012

Many people believe in God but have difficulty feeling close to him on a daily basis. They don’t doubt God’s existence. It’s his presence that seems to elude them.

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Frankly, that was often my experience, especially as a younger Christian. I wondered why some people seemed to have such a tight relationship with God while he felt a bit distant to me. I never felt that God was “talking” to me, and I more or less played along when others talked about their daily conversations with God.

This is not a new problem. Brother Lawrence, a 17th century Carmelite monk, had such a vibrant personal relationship with God that even his fellow monks wondered how he did it. This humble man had such a deep and abiding sense of God’s presence that he barely felt a distinction between the hours he spent and work and those spent at prayer. He experienced a the constant presence of God.

Brother Lawrence’s letters and conversations are peppered with practical advice on spiritual experience. They have been recorded in the classic book The Practice of the Presence of God. I’ve found this book a great help, so I’ll summarize some of Brother Lawrence’s teachings here. You can also read or listen to this brief book for free.

Here are some tips for experiencing a relationship with God in your daily life.

Don’t get into a rut with spiritual disciplines; just spend time with God. It isn’t Bible reading, fasting, or even prayer that is your object—it is God. Seek him.

Think about everything you do in relation to God, as if he were standing right next to you. God is everywhere present, and he is with you right now. Be aware of that.

Immediately drive from your mind any thought that doesn’t bring you closer to God. This is far more important—and more difficult—than any other discipline. Be aware of yourself in relation to God.

Talk to God frequently—in fact, constantly—throughout the day.

When you spend focused time in prayer, don’t talk too much. You’re not trying to hear your voice but God’s.

Don’t be in a hurry or worried about anything; have confidence that God is directing your steps right now.

Confess your sin to God immediately; he’s not surprised by it, and you shouldn’t be either. Let it go and move on.

Welcome inconveniences and even suffering because God uses these experiences to rid you of selfishness and draw you closer to him.

What helps you experience God’s presence in daily life?

Lawrence W. Wilson

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I blog about Christian faith and ministry. I've also written a few books including The Long Road Home and Why Me? Straight Talk about Suffering.