“You will keep me in your presence for ever”.
Ps 41:12 GNB
“Anthony Bloom tells the story of an elderly woman who had been working at prayer with all her might but without ever sensing God’s presence. Wisely, the Archbishop encouraged the old woman to go to her room each day, and ‘for fifteen minutes knit before the face of God, but I forbid you to say one word of prayer. You just knit and try to enjoy the peace of your room’. The woman
received this counsel, and at first her only thought was, ‘Oh, how nice. I have fifteen minutes during which I can do nothing without being guilty!’ In time, however, she began to enter the silence created by her knitting. Soon, she said, ‘I perceived that this silence was not simply an absence of noise, but that the silence had substance. It was not absence of something but presence of something’. As she continued her daily knitting, she discovered that ‘at the heart of the silence there was he who is all stillness, all peace, all poise’. She had let go of her tight-fisted efforts to enter God’s presence and, by doing so, discovered God’s presence already there” (R. Foster, Prayer, p101).
We all wish we could have that sense of the presence of God. The writer of Psalm 41, after illness, suffering, and despair, knew that his God was there, and that it was not just an occasional feeling, but that God, in his grace, granted his presence to his faithful servant.
Jesus, before his ascension, and knowing the ordeals they were likely to go through, promised his disciples that he would be with them “till the end of the age”, or always. You can know it too.
PRAYER THOUGHT Lord, be present with me for ever.
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