Getting, and staying, in the presence of God is something that can change and powerfully impact the life of any human. God makes multiple promises about what happens when we stay close to him. James 4:7 says, “Submit yourselves (draw close) therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” When we get in the presence of God, the devil runs away from us. There are many stories throughout Scripture of the amazing things believers while living in His presence. David defeated Goliath, Moses parted the Red Sea, Gideon and the army of 300 defeated a nation, and the list goes on.
Can we experience the same level of blessing and power in our lives as well? Yes, when we live actively in the “Shadow of the Almighty,” (Psalm 91:1). The following are some healthy habits to establish in our lives in order to live in His presence.
Start each day intentionally – make it a point every morning to read the Bible. God speaks to us in a number of ways, whether it be through other Christians, through life events, or while in prayer, a major way God speaks to us is through His Word. The Bible is not everything there is to know about God, but it is everything about Him that He wants us to know. He tells us in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 – All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. The Bible has been given to us by God and is for our good.
It is easy to start each day by jumping out of bed later than we should have, grabbing a quick shower, getting ready for the day, and leaving for work. While we can get through life this way, it is not ideal. To truly experience the power and blessings from God each and every day, start out with reading Scripture. At the start, don’t try to be an overachiever. It’s easy to get excited, but if you try to do too much, it can become overwhelming and the chances of continuing this habit diminish greatly. Read a chapter or two each morning, and you will see a positive change in your daily life!
Pray Continually – As a teenager who went through a small Christian high-school, we had to memorize Scriptures fairly often. My favorite memory verse was always John 11:35, because it’s the shortest verse in Scripture. A close second, however, is I Thessalonians 5:17 which says, “pray without ceasing.” It’s a short verse, but it packs a powerful punch. It’s a reminder that we should always be in a state of communion or prayer with God.
As mentioned above, God speaks to us in a number of ways, but prayer is how we speak to Him. A conversation where only one person is talking is not a conversation, it’s not a relationship, it’s just someone being “talked at.” That’s how it is with God and us many times. Through life events, Scripture, the pastor of the church we attend on Sunday, God talks to us. If we don’t talk back, we’re just being talked at. Throughout the day, stop and talk to God. This can be done while driving your car, when you get a break at work, or you can start your day off with this. Take time to thank Him for the blessings and ask for help with the challenges you face. This is an important step in staying in His presence.
Turn Complaints into Praise – It’s easy to get sucked into when things go wrong. The car breaks down, the morning traffic is terrible, or the person you work across from is chewing with their mouth open again, but we can turn those complaints into positives. Practice the habit of every time you feel that complaint emotion about to come up, stop and praise God for a blessing in your life. Philippians 4:8 puts it this way – “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
The next time we find ourselves about to complain, think on those things mentioned above. Think on those things that are true, and lovely, and worthy of praise. Think about how God has taken care of you. Worship Him in your spirit. It’s easier to do this when you start your day out in the Word and continue throughout the day in prayer. Ultimately, you are establishing a daily, constant, connection with God in order to experience His presence.
Establish these habits in your life. Work on them daily. Open your Word and glean something from the Scriptures. Talk to God and thank Him for how He has blessed your life already. Turn your complaints into praise and experience Him in a whole new way. Stay in His presence, and when you do, you will truly begin to experience the power of God.