16th August 2019

August Prayer Devotion: Being Present


Partner with us in prayer
August 2019
Issue
28
Being present
Picture the scene.
The school bell sounds and everyone rushes to the door, knowing they have less than five minutes
to retrieve their exercise books before heading to the next class. As the heavy-laden students hurry
down the long corridor, the headmaster bellows, ‘Walk, don’t run!’
Walk.
Don’t run.
I remember the time a few years ago that God spoke the same words to me.
I saw a picture of me walking through a garden, amazed at the rainbow of colour exhibited in the
flowers — the symphony of birdsong dancing around as I let the fresh breeze on a summer’s day
catch my breath. God explained that, when we run through life, we miss the fragrance of the flowers
around us. We tune out the song of His creation.
Like many of us, I didn’t pay heed to this wisdom. I continued to rush through life from one task to
another — finding my value in what I did and missing the truth of who I
am
as a child of God. That
was until recently.
Two months ago, I had an accident.
A fall down the stairs resulted in a fractured leg and an enforced time of rest. I couldn’t walk let alone
run for nearly seven weeks. As I write this, I am still recovering, hobbling around with a big boot and
crutches. As it stands, I don’t know when I will be ‘up and running’ again.
But — and it may sound crazy — I’m so thankful for this season.
Don’t get me wrong, the first couple of weeks passed in a haze of intolerable pain, frustration and
painkillers. I haven’t slept properly for the last two months and I miss being in the MAF UK office.
But I’ve discovered a sense of stillness that I hadn’t experienced before, together with the realisation
that it is okay to just ‘be’.
Psalm 131:2
captures it like this: ‘I am humbled and quieted in Your presence.
Like a contented child who rests on its mother’s lap, I’m Your resting child and my soul is content in
You’ (TPT).
I don’t think for a moment that God was behind the accident, but I do know that He has used this
time to shape me and do some heart surgery along the way.
As I work from home with the doors open, I notice the different voices of bird song. I can now tell
the difference between a pigeon, a blackbird, a sparrow and a parakeet.
I’m thankful for the little things. I celebrate the small wins.
After weeks of having to remain downstairs, I’m now able to navigate the stairs on crutches. My
progress is laboured and it’s slow going as I purposefully fix my attention on every step. There can
be no distractions. Through this, I’m learning to be truly present.
I watch the cat as he sleeps peacefully beside me and thank God for my little companion.
I read the Bible with new insight, pondering on the words and the message, giving thanks for the
Holy Spirit who brings life and revelation. And I pray.
It’s interesting how, when you’re less busy, your eyes are opened to the needs around you. There’s
so much brokenness in this world and, although some of us may live with physical restrictions, we
can always pray.
I’ve discovered that the sun doesn’t go away just because it’s behind a cloud, that vulnerability is
powerful as we admit our weaknesses and allow God and others to step in, and that you can be in
a room with someone and miss them completely when you’re busy or distracted.
I realise afresh that God made me for Himself. Any ‘works’ I do in His name, although important, are
only effective if they’re based on my intimacy with Him. If I don’t have time for that, then I am getting
it all wrong.
Psalm 46:10
tells us, ‘Be still and
know
I am God’ and I thank God for how He has revealed Himself
again to me in this season. I praise Him for revealing who I am, and I pray that what He has done in
me will become rooted and strong even when life gets busy again.
Response

Time.
Take time to reflect on how good you are at ‘being present’. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal
ways in which you can adjust your lifestyle to make time to ‘walk through the garden and smell
the flowers’.

Ponder.
Reflect on the different seasons through which we pass. What did each season teach you?
How can you take that learning into the next season?

Pray.
Ask for eyes to see ‘who is in the room with you’ and how you can pray for, encourage or
help them.

Give thanks.
Find something to give thanks for each day. If you are in a season where life feels
restricted, celebrate the small wins, praise God, and be kind to yourself.

Be still.
What spiritual habits can you form that will help you be still and know God more deeply?
list end
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