“My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20 NLT)
The Bible tells us to “pray all the time” (1 Thessalonians 5:17 MSG).
How is it possible to do this? One way is to use “breath prayers” throughout the day, as many Christians have done for centuries. You choose a brief sentence or a simple phrase that can be repeated to Jesus in one breath: “You are with me.” “I receive your grace.” “I’m depending on you.” “I want to know you.” “I belong to you.” “Help me trust you.” You can also use a short phrase of Scripture: “For me to live is Christ.” “You will never leave me.” “You are my God.”
Pray it as often as possible so it is rooted deep in your heart. Just be sure that your motive is to honor God, not control him.
Practicing the presence of God is a skill, a habit you can develop. Just as musicians practice scales every day in order to play beautiful music with ease, you must force yourself to think about God at different times in your day. You must train your mind to remember God.
At first you will need to create reminders to regularly bring your thoughts back to the awareness that God is with you in that moment. Begin by placing visual reminders around you. You might post little notes that say, “God is with me and for me right now!”
If you are seeking an experience of his presence through all of this, you’ve missed the point. We don’t praise God to feel good, but to do good. Your goal is not a feeling, but a continual awareness of the reality that God is always present. That is the lifestyle of worship.
Talk About It -
Try using breath prayers to worship God throughout today. Do you notice a difference in your attitude and your interactions with other people?
What visual reminders will best help you be aware of God’s presence?
Talk about the way you learned to play an instrument or a sport. Are you applying the same disciplines and energy into developing a lifestyle of worship?
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America’s largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller The Purpose Driven Life. His book, The Purpose Driven Church, was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.
This devotional © 2012 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.