Week Two (Day 5) The God who is with us  

Week Two (5) The God who is with us
May the grace and peace of God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ be with you! Prayer is God’s gift to us. It’s his way of inviting us, drawing us closer to himself; his way of forming a deeper, personal, abiding relationship with us, a relationship as deep as this:  
“As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 I have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.12 This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” (John 15:9-12)
There are, of course, many different kinds of prayer which deepen and strengthen our personal relationship with Jesus. There are those set prayers we may have learnt as children and for many of us the rosary is especially significant: as we contemplate the mysteries of the lives of Jesus and his mother, they shape our lives. There is the slow and attentive reading of, say, an episode in the Gospels from the life of Jesus. Then there is imaginative prayer in which we enter a Gospel scene and stand alongside Jesus as he heals a sick person or tells a story and we look at the faces of the bystanders and see and even feel their amazement.  
In the seventeenth century there lived in France a remarkable Carmelite, Brother Lawrence, who practised a form of prayer which is both simple and profound. He practised the “presence of God”. What might prayer of this kind be like for us?  
Many times a day, we can recall the presence of God with us, attend to that presence for a few moments, and then speak to him from your heart. Sometimes it might be the glimpse of the beauty of nature that reminds us of God’s presence, sometimes it could be something we hear a friend say or a conviction deep within us that we are not alone.
As Brother Lawrence wrote,
It is not needful to be in a church to be with God. We can make a chapel of our heart to which we can from time to time withdraw to have gentle, humble, loving communion with him. Everyone is able to have these familiar conversations with God, some more, some less, he knows our capabilities. Let us make a start.
The more we practise this, the more we become accustomed to living each day in God’s presence.   At this time, many of us may be trying to live a different, slower and more isolated rhythm of life. Maybe this time gives us the opportunity to stop regularly and to think and to remember the God who is present.  
You may be inside your home reading or cooking, or you may be outside in the street taking exercise. Stop just for a moment. Think. Remember. He is with you. Taking care and looking after you. He is the God who is with you. For a moment, speak to him, heart to heart. And then carry on with your day and return to him later, stopping and attending to his presence.  
Bernadette Farrell has paraphrased some verses of Psalm 139 in this way …  
O God, you search me and you know me.
All my ways lie open to your gaze.
When I walk or lie down, you go before me:
Ever the maker and keeper of my days. You know my resting and my rising.
You discern my purpose from afar,
and with love everlasting you besiege me:
In evry moment of life or death, you are.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.  

Day 5: The God who is with us
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