REMEMBERING GOD'S PRESENCE IN MY LIFE-STORY
Biblical faith affirms that God is present in all things. Methodist
tradition stresses the reality of God's prevenient grace that has
companioned us since the moment of our conception. The question is: has
the awareness of his loving presence throughout my life really taken
hold of me? This exercise is a simple help towards discerning God's
presence in our life- stories.
Hence the material over which we shall pray is the 'stuff' of our
own personal histories - the events, experiences, people who have
crossed our paths, gifts we've been given, accomplishments, failures.
In the Lord's presence and with his help we go down 'memory lane'
seeking to discern traces of his love and grace in our lives.
- make yourself comfortable wherever you are, spend some time collecting and relaxing yourself in God's presence;
- pray for the grace of a deep-felt appreciation of how the Lord has been present in your life;
- take time to remember your own personal history. This
remembering is an awareness of the exterior events in your life and
your interior responses to them. Memory makes them present. Let one
memory touch off another. Make a list of these events and experiences.
(I suggest not more than 10.)
- as you remember these events/experiences in your
life-history, try to notice all the gifts you have received. As Paul
writes: "What do you have that you did not receive" (1 Cor 4:7)
- ask God to show you now how he has been present in these
experiences and events. Sometimes reading a psalm like Ps 139 can
deepen your awareness of his presence in your personal history.
- after you have been in touch with these special moments
when you have experienced the Lord's presence, repeat the trip down
'memory lane'. However, now seek to notice how the Lord has
been constantly with you in a more dynamic way, not only in isolated
moments, but continuously as companion, friend, guide, lover...
- from time to time through the exercise, express your
feelings and thoughts to the Lord, asking him for a deep-felt
appreciation of how he has been present in your life.
- think of one word or phrase which would describe God's
presence in your life, take that phrase with you into your day so that
it is always near you, draw on it from time to time.
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