Stop asking for the presence of God

Less asking, more awareness

I’ve spent my life in church.

The type of church I’ve been part of has changed over the years, but one thing has nearly always remained. And that has been praying to God and asking him to come and be with us.

At the start of most services, a prayer is said, asking God to be there. To join us. To show up.

Quite what he’s doing before the start of the 10.30am service, I don’t know.

But, for whatever reason, we felt the need to ask God to come.

There are worse things to do than pray this way, but Richard Rohr highlights the problems of this kind of prayer:

We cannot attain the presence of God because we’re already totally in the presence of God. What’s absent is awareness.

—Richard Rohr, Daily Meditation

I wonder if part of the reason we like to ask God to show up is because it puts the onus on him. If we don’t sense the presence of God, it becomes his fault. We prayed after all.

If God is there but we are not aware of it, that’s a whole other story.

But if there is a prayer to be prayed it is this:

Dear God, we know you are everywhere. All creation is filled with your presence. Sometimes, though, life makes it hard for us to see you. So, wherever we are and whatever we’re doing, help us to be aware of you today. Give us eyes to see where you are and what you’re doing, and ears to hear what you’re saying. Amen.

Image: Allef Vinicius

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