Wednesday, February 6, 2019

There, But Not There

Sometimes, I am there, but not there.

The person beside me is telling me about their experience. I nod but, in reality, I am wondering how traffic will be on the way home or what I might cook for dinner. I am there, but not there.

On the phone, I “oh” and “uh-huh” at hopefully appropriate places, but, at the same time I am watching TV, playing a computer game, or surfing Facebook. Again, I am there, but not there.

I am embarrassed to admit I am OFTEN there, but not there, even in prayer; I think I am praying and suddenly realize I have drifted off. I am no longer conversing with God. I may be stressing over worrisome circumstances or have merely been distracted by dust on the coffee table. I am there, but not there.

Or, I am praying words I have said over and over (the LORD’s prayer, a table grace, a prayer list) and realize my mind is totally somewhere else. The familiar words might be running through my head or coming out of my mouth, but I might as well be reciting the alphabet or times tables.

To be present is to be intentionally engaged with those and that which surround us, not just bodily residing in the same area. God is ALWAYS there, waiting for me . . . desiring to connect with me. But, am I there?

“When you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father who is unseen.” These words from Matthew 6:6 give us some helpful hints to being fully present in prayer:

Get alone with God. Sometimes I need to get physically alone with God. Other times I can be in a public setting (church, the beach, a concert) and God draws me into our “own little world”, where it is just Him and me, giving one another our full attention.

Close the door on distractions. At times I need to literally close the door in order to get away from the distractions that act as a magnet for my attention. But for me, it’s not so much where, but when—early, early morning has less interferences for me, no matter where I am.

Talk with God. Wikipedia defines prayer as seeking to activate a rapport with a deity through deliberate communication. These moments alone with God are not for me to recite a litany of wants, but are for God and me to enhance our relationship. When I intentionally seek this time with Him, not just speaking, but listening, too, then I am truly present.

With these small steps, we can reap the huge rewards of being fully present.

Be encouraged!
©2019 Pamela D. Williams Comments welcome via Facebook or email (