Another thread reminded me of something I heard a minsister ask a congregation once:
"You all probably do your daily bible readings, say your morning prayers, ask God to guide you - but - do you get still and listen for His answer?"
So - I'm wondering - when, on those normal - non-crisis or non-special-moments days, are you most aware of the presence of God? Is it when you're reading your bible? When you're singing His praises in music? When you're in prayer? When you're taking a quiet walk in the park? On the drive to work?
And - how often do you actually go to your knees in prayer?
I am aware of God's presence most the time that I am awake, or to say it in another way, I keep myself thinking about Him and how He is right here with me right now.
Then there are times when I must focus on the tasks at hand, and then realize that I have been "away" from His presence.
Listening to God is totally another thing. When I've taken action on what I perceived to be clear answers to prayer, I found that what I "heard" was wrong. In other words, I believe that I was deceived. I cannot truthfully say that I have "heard" God, so listening to what I'm hearing is very hard for me right now. I don't know the source of what I'm "hearing".
I know that God cannot lie and would never deceive anyone, so what I "heard" and took action on was either of the devil, or my own wishful thinking.
I have been asking this question to my fellow Christians for a long time now, "how do you KNOW that what you heard WAS from God"?
This is a tough question. There have been times in my life when I wondered if what I thought God was saying was just my mind willing it to be. But then there have been other times when God has shown me his way very clearly.
He speaks to me through Scripture alot. When I am wrestling with an issue, I usually ask him to show me a scripture that will light my way. (But that's not what the OP was about).
Sometimes its hard for me to "get still and listen" because of my young children and the things that go with that, but I love to get alone in the bathtub at night, with a CD player on softly, and close my eyes and just worship. Sometimes I dont use music. I also worship in the car. And at my piano. And sometimes just with my open Bible. Guess it just depends.
As for the knees part, I physically go there on occasion, usually when I feel a deeper need to humble myself. I should do that more often.
Nice thread, am interested in everyone elses answers.
I do not know if there is one specific answer to the question. I feel the presence of God in many ways. Reading Scripture and prayer is a huge one. But I also feel the presence of God on a walk through the woods, or watching the sunset on a summer evening. I also feel His presence when I look in the faces of my daughters. I think God speaks to us through His Word, through other people and through circumstances. We just have to be open to His leading and sensitive to His Spirit.
It is extremely hard to get still and quiet at times to just listen to God. I do that many times in the car as I am driving. I also enjoy while I am at church going into the sanctuary and kneeling at the altar to pray and listen to God.
I would have to say all of the above too. So many ways God uses.
The hope and peace you get of a loved one that passes away and knowing you will see them again, the glory of a sunset or sunrise, the joy of a new parent, loving but honest words from a friend, the prayer of a small child, singing and worshiping God with music. I really love to worship God with music.... The Lord is not ever far from my thoughts, I often think about Him and the things of God.
I don't get on my knees often enough, that's something I should probably work on doing more, including getting somewhere to be quiet and listen.
This reminds me of this little but powerful book I read when I was a new Christian and still think about..
The Practice of the Presence of God
by Brother Lawrence-
"There is not in the world a kind of life more sweet and delightful, than that of a continual conversation with God. Those only can comprehend it who practice and experience it."
I am always aware of God's presence. It took me years to believe what I was seeing and hearing, but here I am.
I do not have to get real still and listen with an open heart to hear him on the plain old days when everything seems to be humming along, I feel and see God's presence in everything.
But on days when things are going south real quick, and you have to understand my perspective here - there are days when I am unsure I will make it home - fear and adrenaline overtake me and all I can hear is my own heartbeat drumming in my ears. A simple request of "God please guide me" is all it takes and pretty soon something happens that shows me the way. So far, so good.
I get on my knees at least twice a day. I meditate in the car. Sometimes, God wakes me from a sound sleep to have a conversation with me. Those are the times I shed tears and that I am most changed.