God’s “Presents” or “Presence”?

Have you ever thought of God as a vending machine?

Probably not.

But when we pray and ask God to bless our plans, without consulting him on what his plans are and how we might join him, are we not simply putting something into God in the form of a prayer and expecting the result we want?

It is true that “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above…” (James 1:17 ESV). However, do we really expect “presents” from God rather than practicing the “presence” of God?

In his wise little book, Brother Lawrence writes in his Fourth Conversation in The Practice of the Presence of God, “our sanctification does not depend as much on changing our activities as it does on doing them for God rather than for ourselves.”

How much effort have we put into trying to change ourselves and perhaps an undesirable habit? Rather than that, what if we simply focus on meditating on what we do and doing it for God, rather than for ourselves? How would that change our choices?

Greg Boyd in Present Perfect states, “The important question is not, ‘Did I once surrender my life to Christ?’ The important question is, ‘Am I surrendered to Christ right now?’ For the only life we have to surrender to Christ is the life we’re living this moment.”

In your upcoming times alone with God, rather than asking him for “presents”, meaning making requests with the hope or expectation it will be fulfilled in the way in which you direct, try rather to practice being present with God by spending some slow and quiet time in his word. Suspend your expectations and see where his presence leads you.

[Photo credit: flora queen dot com]