7 Ways to Experience God's Presence in a Powerful Way
- Cindi McMenamin Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- 2020 30 Nov
Do you ever feel like God just isn't there?
Although our feelings tell us that, we shouldn't be driven by our emotions when it comes to our trust in God. Scripture says the "righteous shall live by faith" (Romans 1:17) and "without faith it is impossible to please God" (Hebrews 11:6), and therefore we shouldn't have to feel God to know He's there. But I know how you feel if you find yourself discouraged at times because it seems like God just isn't around.
Unanswered prayer, a series of disappointing events, a devastating diagnosis, or a betrayal by someone close to you can cause you to think that God has checked out of your life. Other times we get so busy with our day-to-day lives and everything on our to-do list that we feel guilty that we're not doing enough for Him to want to be around us. But because God has promised He will never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5), we can be assured of His constant presence whether we are struggling with a painful situation or just too busy to notice He is near.
Here are seven ways to focus on Him and sense His presence in the midst of your struggle or your chaotic schedule:
1. Come Clean with Him
Sometimes you can't sense God's presence because there's something blocking the communication between the two of you. He hasn't left, but your sensitivity to His presence might be affected by unconfessed sin in your life. David, the Psalmist, said, "When I kept silent (about his sin) my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the Lord" -- and you forgave the guilt of my sin" (Psalm 32:3-5, emphasis added). If you feel God isn't around because the two of you haven't talked in a while, or because you've avoided the thought of Him for so long, confess to God what's on your heart and mind and ask Him to give you an ear to hear His voice again. First John 1:9 tells us: "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." When your fellowship with Him is restored, the communication can flow again. So get clean (through the forgiveness of Christ) and let it flow.
2. Read Scripture Aloud
When you audibly speak God's inspired Word, you will sense its power and His presence. The Bible says God's Word is "living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword" (Hebrews 4:12). That sharp sword will either make you aware of its weight or prick your heart through conviction, inspiration, or determination. A pricked heart is better than a dull heart any day, wouldn't you agree? You may want to try reading in a different translation than you're accustomed to, in order to switch things up. Sometimes a verse you’re familiar with can impact your heart in a new or different way when it’s worded slightly differently, causing you to sense God’s presence anew.
3. Sing Him a Love Song
God inhabits the praises of His people. Ever wondered why you sometimes feel closer to God when you're in a church service, singing hymns or praise songs? It could be because that's where worship tends to take place. When you start praising Him, regardless of where you are, you'll sense His presence, probably because you're no longer focused on yourself, but on Him. Worship is not limited to singing, but if singing a song of praise to Him gets your mind focused on His presence, do it. When we open the door of our hearts to love Him, He will meet us there.
4. Say His Name
People around you may be using God's name right and left (as a swear word in anger, or as a thoughtless expression). But Scripture says there is power in the name of Jesus because "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). Say His name aloud – as the Answer to all you seek, as the Source to calm your soul, as the One whose presence you long for and you will sense the power of His presence...and His peace.
5. Say a Breath Prayer
There are times we need Him but we just don't know what to say or where to start. Start by saying His name and then speak your heart's cry. For me, oftentimes it's just "Jesus, I need You" or "Jesus, give me a heart for You." I believe the simplest of cries are the ones that penetrate His heart – and ours – the quickest.
6. Take a Walk
Exercise brings your body, mind, and heart to life. Feel spiritually dead? Get outside, move around, confess to Him what's on your heart and let Him wake you up, spiritually. My best times with God are when I'm walking while I pour out my heart to Him and listen for His still small voice. Taking a walk near nature can make you more aware of creation around you and make you feel more in touch with your Creator, as well. Pick a quiet spot near a stream or lake where you can hear the sounds of water, or along a tree-lined path where you can hear the wind blow the leaves. Take note of bird songs or any other sign of creation as a reminder to you of the One who made it all.
7. Breathe Deeply
Sometimes we can't sense God's presence because there's too much of everything else going on. Too much noise. Too much traffic. Too much confusion. Too many thoughts running rampant in our minds. Too much anxiety. Center your mind on Him and start to breathe deeply. Try it. Exhale the distracting thoughts. Inhale a desire to sense His presence. Exhale your pre-occupation with self. Inhale a desire to know Him more completely. Exhale the worries of the moment. Inhale His peace. Now, don't you feel better already? Can you begin to sense that you're in His arms? There's a reason His Word says "Be still and know that I am God" (Psalm 46:10).
Cindi McMenamin is a national speaker, Bible teacher, and the author of 17 books, including When Women Walk Alone (150,000 copies sold), When a Woman Overcomes Life’s Hurts, Drama Free, and When Couples Walk Together, which she co-authored with her husband of 32 years. Find out more about her speaking ministry, coaching services for writers, and books to strengthen your soul, marriage, and parenting, at www.StrengthForTheSoul.com.
Photo credit: ©GettyImages/Kieferpix