Willard speaks of three forms of God’s presence with us or three ways in which we recognize this presence. First there is simply a faith that God promises it therefore it must be true. This is accepted without any evidence or sense that God is actually with us. It is blind faith which is not necessarily bad but not very satisfying either.

Secondly there is a sense that God is there in some way much like we might be aware of someone watching us. This can vary from a slight to a strong impression.
Thirdly there is the obvious knowing that God is with us because of what he actually does. The effect of doing is evidenced and unexplainable by our own powers.

I like the picture painted by quote from Brother Lawrence:

I make it my business to persevere in his Holy presence, wherein I keep my self by a simple attention and a general fond regard to God, which I make call an ACTUAL PRESENCE of God; or, to speak better, an habitual, silent, and secret conversation of the soul with God, which often causes me joys and raptures inwardly, and sometimes also outwardly, so great that I am forced to use means to moderate them and prevent their appearance to others.

This describes the rare times when I have felt God’s presence and it is when I am delighting in some truth or beauty to a degree that I am almost overwhelmed by it. There comes almost a giggle which is difficult to suppress. Sometimes I have felt a “rush” of seeming electrical waves coming over me starting at my head and ending in my feet. It  is a moment of ecstasy during which I could no more accomplish or control any other activity but to sit there and delight. These experiences were common when I first became a Christian but have been much rarer for the past couple of decades.

Willard also speaks of a fourth way in which we experience God’s presence and that is in a conversational relationship. This is where guidance can occur.

Romans 8:14 (NKJV)

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

Father in heaven, help me to experience and practice the presence of God. Allow me to enjoy and delight in it.


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