Practicing presence

Jan 11, 2022 | 0 comments

As I sit to consider what to write and share with you, I wonder if less might be more. It’s easy to fill space with words—lots of words. But sometimes I find that in the midst of a busy, noisy and full life, we need help to pause,

slow down   

and get quiet.          

I feel the longing in my soul to connect with God,
        but I find the actual being with God hard…

So friends, I will attempt to sit with you as a companion—as a spiritual director that is what I have been trained to do. Spiritual direction is about holding safe, contemplative space to listen to you and to the Holy Spirit—it is a ministry of prayerful presence.

How can I offer that to you here in this space? Obviously I cannot listen to you share what is on your heart, but I can invite you to slow down with me. Wherever you are right now, whatever you are doing, however you are feeling … we can pause together for just a few moments.

Whether you’re standing or sitting, allow yourself to shift and move so that you can be comfortable and present. Notice what you see around you. Is it sunny, cloudy, raining? Is your home quiet or chaotic? What do you hear when you stop to pay attention? Can you notice these things without trying to change anything? What’s going on inside of your head? Are your thoughts spinning with what you need to do next?

Can you simply notice?

If you can, allow yourself to take a few deep breaths, noticing and allowing what this moment holds to simply be —refrain from judgment. Just for right now, let it all be okay. And breathe—maybe even let out a big sigh with me! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh. (Did that feel good? Repeat it and don’t be shy to make noise!)

Sometimes this is the hardest part—letting yourself be here without judgment. This is the place of entering into presence—not past tense or future tense oriented. In this place you are not trying to change or fix anything; just allowing yourself to experience God’s with-ness in whatever this moment brings. For just these few moments, can you allow your breath to flow in and out, and recognize that God is here—right now—with you? Allow yourself to be where you are, and know that this moment is okay. You are okay. The noise or quiet is okay. The day is okay.
God is here—with you.

In closing I would like to offer you a breath prayer. Breath prayer is a spiritual practice which I find grounding and often will follow me throughout the day as I become present to my breath.

“Let your love, God, shape my life” (Psalm 119:41 from the Message):

Inhale “Let your love, God”
Exhale “shape my life”
Inhale “Let your love”
Exhale “shape me”
Or simply pray…
Inhale “I am”
Exhale “loved”

As we come to the end of our time together, I pray that you can savor the sweetness of bite-sized moments of practicing presence with God. May you carry this breath prayer (or your own) with you today, allowing yourself to rest in God’s love for you. May you know God’s with-ness which is as close as your very breath.


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Photo by Jeffery Erhunse on Unsplash

Lori Ferrell

Wife. Mom of boys. Founder of Soul Sala. Spiritual Director.

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