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Hey, You: God Is Here.

BY Simcha Fisher

| Posted 4/5/11 at 7:00 AM

 

My daughter, who is five, asked me, “God is everywhere, right? So, he’s under the table? And in the fish tank? And in my ear?” Like every child I’ve ever met, she imagined that God had run himself through a duplicating machine, churning out thousand and millions of identical copies of himself. And thus he is everywhere, filling up the empty spaces of the world like numberless divine packing peanuts.

I tried to explain, but I’m afraid the best I could do was to replace this millions-o’-Gods heresy with a slightly less silly heresy. I believe she now imagines God as the giantest giant ever, and is just so big that, if you took a photo of anything, you’d see him in the background. She’s my sixth child, though, and I’ve learned not to worry: Getting to know God is often a matter of refining layers of heresy until the truth is finally exposed. She’ll get it eventually.

It left me thinking, though, about how I, as a non-heretical adult, perceive God’s presence everywhere. How is he present in my life? Or, as a more practical matter, how can I remind myself that he is present?

When I pray silently, I sometimes wonder if God feels the way I feel when I send my 8-year-old son into the shower. He’s in the bathroom for an appropriate amount of time, he runs the water, and he comes out wearing different clothes—but I notice that he never actually gets, you know, wet. Prayer can be like this: I go through all the motions with good intentions, but I never actually make contact.

So what can be done? I find that it makes a huge difference, before launching into the prayer proper, to say, “I place myself in the presence of God.” Then I just wait a second, and think about it. Depending on my mental state, I might imagine myself before the throne, or as a puny infant in his arms, or like a hungry child waiting to be fed. And then I can go ahead and start to pray.  For a more thorough discussion of ways to place yourself in the presence of God, see this post by Jen Fulwiler on her blog, Conversion Diary.

I have also found that doing something physical, even if only with my voice, almost always gets my attention in the way that a mental effort can’t. Here are some very easy things that I do to help myself be aware that God is here.