Learning to Feel God’s Presence

I don’t particularly trust my emotions, especially when it comes to things related to faith. I have a tendency to think faith is too important to be influenced by flip flopping feelings and ever changing emotions.  A lot of that has to do with my personality type. I’m an INTP on the Myers Briggs scale, and I’m heavy on the T and the I. Basically this means it’s easy for me to live inside my head. It’s easy for me to spend all my time thinking about minutiae and analyzing the world and my own thoughts. But I have a hard time just allowing myself to feel something without dissecting it and analyzing it until I can’t feel it anymore. About 6 months ago I was introduced to the African Bible Study at our Thursday night gathering on Hoyt Street. As we went around the room reading the passage and sharing our gut reactions my stomach was in a knot. I didn’t want to give my reaction because all I kept thinking was, “’What’s the context of this passage? Why are we only reading a few verses out of one book? This is stupid and I wish I could leave.” Then we got to the final section, the section of the study where you say. “From what I’ve seen and heard, I feel God wants me to….” I almost got off the couch and walked out of the room. That’s when I knew I needed to seriously work on myself when it comes to the discipline of meditation and listening to God.  I needed to spend some quiet time, not dissecting, but just being in God’s presence. That was six months ago, and I’m sad to say that I haven’t been completely successful, but I’ve slowly been becoming more comfortable making time to listen for God’s voice.

One resource that’s been particularly helpful to me for the past few weeks has been the Jesuit Media Initiatives “Pray as you Go” podcast. I haven’t been using it every day, but every time I’ve used it I’ve come away refreshed. It follows a simple formula that’s carefully designed to help you reflect and pray and listen. There is the opening call to prayer, followed by some music (usually chant), then the scripture for the day. After which there is some quiet time, and then questions for personal reflection. Then more quiet time, a repeat of the scripture, and time for some final reflection. The first time I listened to one of these podcasts I had the same reaction as the first time I participated in an African bible study. I thought it was hokey, but as soon as I let that go, it became a very valuable tool.

This Sunday, our service will be designed to help us mediate, feel, and listen.. We will be spending most of our time in the Book of Psalms. Our songs will be based on Psalms, our readings will be from Psalms, and even one of our prayers will be from Psalms. Then before Jeremy leads us in communion he’ll have us listen to one of the above mentioned podcasts. And as a group we’ll meditate, each to ourselves, but in the presence of community, and some of us will be comfortable, and some of us will be stretched, and we’ll all be lifted up.

1 Response to “Learning to Feel God’s Presence”

  1. 1 JTB
    July 10, 2009 at 11:13 am

    I’m looking forward to this…glad I didn’t miss it last week, after all. Though of course I would never claim that God micro-managed that “providential” mixup just for my benefit…:)

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Welcome to the Christ's Church for Brooklyn blog. We are a loving community of believers who seek to be the hands and feet of Christ, in service to our neighbors in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn and beyond.
July 2009
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