NEW! Let It Rise by Mary Jo Pierce is available now! In this book, Mary Jo shares how God graciously revealed the sacred ingredients that, when mixed together, helped her develop and nurture an intentional life of prayer.
To celebrate the release, we are featuring a free excerpt from the book. You can purchase Let It Rise at GatewayPublishing.com or Amazon!
Cultivating His Presence
Cultivating the presence of God keeps us in times of joy and times of despair. This reminds me of Moses and the Tent of Meeting (Exodus 33:7–23). This leader knew the cloud-by-day and fire-by-night presence of God. He knew the burning bush presence of God. He knew the bread of His presence (showbread) in the Tabernacle. Yet here in the Tent of Meeting, an intentional place to meet with God pitched outside the busyness of camp, Moses spoke to God face-to-face. And it is there that God called him “friend” and promised to go with him into uncharted territory.
The Tent of Meeting conversation declared Moses’s need for God’s presence and God’s promise to be with him. This is what we desire and need for the days in which we are living. We want to recognize His voice and understand His ways. The peace of God. The loving care of God. The I-will-never-leave-you-or-forsake-you promise of God.
We know the why. Now let’s consider the how! Allow me to suggest a place. A beginning place. A sent-from place. A place where you learn to hear His voice and hide His Word in your heart. This is the place where you meet with God for the purpose of developing and nurturing His presence in your life.
How is this possible? It certainly isn’t easy to lay aside everything else, so I sought the Lord on how to do this in a practical manner. He gave me three steps:
1. Be Fully Present
The Lord whispered, “Be fully present.” He wanted 100% of me. Because I am easily distracted, I had to intentionally quiet myself. I had to determine to lay my cares, concerns, and troubles aside to focus on the audience of One. I had to remove distractions that sent me on detours or dead ends and delayed my connecting with God. I was on a personal mission to learn to be fully present. It took time. It took perseverance. It took practice. But it worked. The Holy Spirit built within me a quiet spirit where I was fully present.
2. Be Fully in His Presence
The word rest in this verse means “soothes, comforts, and quiets.” I noticed when I become and stay still, I sense a peace and a presence. A Person. I am not alone; God is with me. I have drawn near to God, and He is drawing near to me (see James 4:8). The cares of both my inner world and the outer world take on a new perspective in light of being with Him. I find myself meditating on one of His names. Wanting nothing more than to get to know Him! I discovered that abiding place Jesus prayed for us in John 17.
3. Be Fully Satisfied
I have a conversation with the Lord. A Scripture comes to mind, so I read and pray it. I linger and let God speak. A person or situation comes to my mind, and I ask, “Father, how do You want me to pray?” After a time of prayer, whether minutes or hours later, my spirit senses “Amen.” God has filled me up, and I am ready to leave this special time and greet the day. From this dedicated place, I will carry His presence wherever I go and to whomever I meet.
The more we cultivate His presence, the more we know and recognize the fullness of God with us wherever we go. Carrying His presence changes the atmosphere!
Copyright © 2023 by Mary Jo Pierce