Resting in God’s Presence and Mercy and Grace

Each year we begin our spiritual formation program by teaching our new students an ancient prayer discipline known as Lectio Divina.

This is a four stage process of using Scripture in your time of prayer. You begin by reading the text many times. Next you listen to how God might be using the text to speak to you in the situation of life that you are in. This part of the practice is really helpful in learning to discern what God’s speaking “sounds” like. The third stage is when you speak back to God your intentions about how you will respond to what you have heard from him.

The fourth stage in the prayer is a time of simply resting in God’s presence and mercy and grace. We are so busy doing things: for God, for others, for school, and for our career. And there is nothing wrong with that. We need to do things. It’s part of our call.

I’ve also found that the desire to serve God faithfully has a tendency to initiate a “try harder” syndrome. “I’m going to worry less.” “I’m going to listen better to my parents/spouse/roommate.” “I’m going to stop looking down on people.” When this works it is rarely because we have tried harder.

The confusion often sets in when we think that we are responsible for making the really important things happen. It just isn’t true.

The most important things that will happen in our lives and in our ministry to others is what God will do. The Spirit is doing the eternal work.

But it isn’t easy to just say that and go on trying harder. We need something to help us practice trusting God with the results.

That is where this practice of lectio divina can be so helpful. To take just a couple minutes after prayer to sit in God’s presence and trust him to finish the good work he started in you can be revolutionary.

So when you pray, whether following the lectio divina style or however you pray, begin a practice of closing that time of prayer with silence. Absorb the love and presence of God that is with you. Know that his grace is enough.

I’d love to hear from readers. What practices help you to remember and embody the reality that God’s grace is enough for you?

Comments

  1. says

    Jeremiah,

    An early lesson for me from reading some ancient prayer practices was to simply bring my distractions to God as prayer. Then, rather than fretting because I wasn’t being prayerful enough, each new distraction became a topic of prayer and an avenue of grace. This has helped me embody the reality that God’s grace is enough for me; he transforms mundane distractions into a communion of spirits.

    • says

      Beautiful Sam. I find the ways that different prayer practices deal with distractions really fascinating. Some suggest that you push them aside and others encourage you to embrace them. There may be a time for pushing aside, but I agree with you that the distractions are often the most important thing to pray about.

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