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Pray 7: Present

Question:

Listen: what is God presenting to you in prayer today?

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Transcript of Video:

I think, before I became a monk and came here to the Monastery, I think that I tried to pray but it was usually in reference to a need I think that I had, and it was something very specific and in front of my face. And now, as a monk, on this side, I have learned so much more about prayer and how it’s actually what God is presenting to me. That there tends to be – when something comes up, I tend to think that it’s God making me aware of something that I need to be aware of. And it doesn’t come through a booming voice; it comes very subtly. It comes through a relationship; it comes through an idea; it comes through something I’ve heard in Scripture in church – that I may have read a piece of Scripture a million times and all of sudden something pops out and clicks. And maybe it’s because of the situation that I’m in at the time that it all of a sudden speaks to me, where it didn’t before. So I’m aware of how, you know, before it was about me coming to God. And now I realize how much God is coming to me and saying, “Here, I want to talk to you about this,” and it just becomes present, it comes into my scope of vision. It’s not like I go and search it out; it comes and finds me.

-Br. Jim Woodrum

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79 Comments

  1. Helen Chandler on March 31, 2015 at 07:06

    It is easy to fear that “things can go wrong.” Things will always go “wrong”! When I ask God for something, my part is to listen for the answer, to listen with my life and my actions. Prayer is an active involvement, not a passive activity.

    God is presenting opportunities to me in prayer today. My part is to listen and act. If pray for God to help me overcome my fear of getting it wrong, God won’t take away my fear, God will present me with opportunities to address my fear, and do it anyway!

  2. Louise on March 12, 2015 at 18:36

    God seems to be telling me that I need to take a different approach to a family communication problem…that doing the same thing I’ve thought was the right thing, even if right, is not working and something has to change. The change has to come from me.

  3. K on March 12, 2015 at 16:39

    God is presenting me with the sense that I need to give more care to my husband and our relationship. We’ve been together over twenty years, and things have gotten into a dull routine. But I’ve also been giving more time to church, work, and other activities than to him and our family (no children of our own, but his sister’s family who live nearby). Nothing else—besides my personal relationship to my Savior God—should take precedence over family, it is my belief. So I need to re-balance the scales. I think God is setting this before me as we talk together in prayer. I must listen and act.

  4. Emily on March 10, 2015 at 17:30

    Proceed gently. Do not engage in conflicts that are better resolved with prayer.

  5. Elizabeth S on March 10, 2015 at 09:28

    I haven’t been stopping and listening during my prayer time. Mostly I’ve been doing all the talking. I am grateful that God has not grown weary of that behavior, though. He sees the choices I’m making, and continues to talk to me through other means. Words from trusted others. Shining the light on the behavior of others’. Helping me remember the past that has been frozen for so long. He’s giving me what I need despite my busyness.

  6. NS on March 9, 2015 at 22:30

    God is presenting me with this series. It is what I have been needing to hear for about 2 years. Many, many thanks for quenching my thirst.

  7. Patricia on March 9, 2015 at 13:54

    As I reflect on two conversations I had today, II heard God speak to me through a professional care giver and my son. Unexpected affirmation and complete understanding of the job I am doing.

  8. Lissa Davis on March 9, 2015 at 11:25

    I’m not sure but it certainly isn’t God’s fault. I guess He’s presenting to me that I need to be still and open my heart to His voice.

  9. Richard payne on March 9, 2015 at 10:49

    Such a good and simple truth! I so often forget to be still and let God speak to me through seeing and feeling and reflecting on something from the day.

  10. Susan on March 9, 2015 at 00:22

    I have a work crisis at the moment, and it makes me realise how exhausted and overloaded I am, as I try to dip into my bucket of more to give and find that I am weary, weary, weary. I have been really trying to rest, I have faith in rest and I have faith that God wants me to rest. I am reminded that my lessons lately are 1) how much less I need to do in reality than I think I do; 2) how Ok it is not to know, what a restful place not knowing is.

  11. David Cranmer on March 8, 2015 at 20:43

    As Br Jim and others have said, I too have had times when a Bible passage that I have read many times suddenly presents a new understanding. As for what God is presenting to me today, it is now evening and I do not remember what God may have presented to me this morning. But often when I am praying, a person or a situation will come to mind, and I suspect that God is bringing that person or situation to my attention, and I incorporate the person/situation into my prayer.

  12. Christine white on March 8, 2015 at 19:41

    God came to me and told me to change the way I was dtressing about my work and my business partner. I was so negative and crying all the time and angry. For the last two weeks I turned it around with his input to me. I feel better. I am happier and I am trying to stay positive.

  13. Michelle H on March 8, 2015 at 15:08

    move on….

  14. Pati on March 8, 2015 at 14:33

    … and also to relax and HAVE FAITH …. twice in 2 days Julian of Norwich has come up … “All will be well ..”

  15. Pati on March 8, 2015 at 14:27

    I think God is telling me to get out more …. To be more aware of the communities around me … I tend to be a hermit … but I know God is revealing “Itself” (Himself ? Herself ?) through the people in my life.

  16. Mark on March 8, 2015 at 01:16

    Good deeds never go unrewarded

  17. Karen Fast on March 7, 2015 at 22:19

    I write this near the end of this day. God kept me calm and open for guidance as I wrote a meditation to be delivered tomorrow evening. The writing experience hasn’t always been that way. I am thankful, and for the two hours in the garden before preparing my supper. I wasn’t expecting that treat. Now as I am still and quiet I realize I am weary and want to go to bed early. I can do so. Thanks be to God.

  18. Sophfronia on March 7, 2015 at 21:51

    Today it’s been a message about reaching out when my inclination is/was to stay at home and keep to myself. My reaching out resulted in my son getting to spend the afternoon playing with a friend while I took the friend’s sister, a college student and an aspiring writer, to a writer’s conference with me. Originally, when I realized my husband would be at a work-related event all day, I had planned on skipping the conference and staying home and doing laundry or–and my son dreaded this prospect–taking my son with me to the sessions. I don’t like asking for help, especially when it feels last minute as in this instance, but something told me if I could bring myself to reach out, more people would benefit than just myself. And that’s what happened. It all worked out.

  19. gwedhen nicholas on March 7, 2015 at 20:45

    I have been wondering what my future is. I feel I am living in a sort of bubble of waiting. Waiting in a good sense. Letting God work in me so that I could do what ever it was He wants. Waiting for and on God. Today He came to me and answered my question. He gave me an answer just as I was thinking my wait would never end. There have been various scenarios which I have prayed about. Interestingly enough Gods’ answer was to the one prayer that I hadn’t seriously considered, because I didn’t think it was feasible. With God anything is possible. I found that out for myself today.

  20. Alison Vogel on March 7, 2015 at 19:44

    A chance to say I’m sorry.

  21. Verlinda on March 7, 2015 at 19:25

    God presents to me the opportunity for helping–in small ways, whether through running an errand for a friend who’s laid up after surgery or sharing a smile with the sacker at the grocery store. Every day offers opportunities to discover God’s presence, and to share that with others.

  22. Ed Covington on March 7, 2015 at 18:28

    Patience and improved listing skills.

  23. Louise on March 7, 2015 at 17:20

    The awesome treasure of God’s image planted inside each one of us keeps grabbing my attention this Lent. I feel I’m being prompted not to get distracted by negativity, neither in myself nor in others and not even in the news.

  24. Karen on March 7, 2015 at 17:14

    I have learned that what I’m missing is not talent or skill but confidence and courage to overcome my fear.

  25. Susan Zimmerman on March 7, 2015 at 16:45

    …work, work, work

  26. Susan Zimmerman on March 7, 2015 at 16:38

    …as usual God only presents work, work, work

  27. Sally Baynton on March 7, 2015 at 16:28

    I have had a great struggle since last week with the notion of giving a day and simply “resting.” It is one of the commandments; yet, I was just frantic trying to figure out how I was going to do just that. Well, I got the flu. I have been in bed today and I have had such a wonderful opportunity to just rest and “be.” Sure, it would be great if I wasn’t sick, but I am and I am overjoyed with this chance to honor the commandment. Even though I don’t feel well, this sure feel goods!

    • David Cranmer on March 8, 2015 at 20:38

      You are not the first person I have heard having the same experience. God often answers prayer in ways we don’t expect.

  28. Mary Ann on March 7, 2015 at 15:51

    Listening. Listening each day to what God is saying to me. That is what so much of my prayer has become; listening and acting on what God is calling me to do.

  29. Maria on March 7, 2015 at 15:35

    One of the problems, a major one, actually, is attributing to God actions when sometimes it’s my mind deluding myself into thinking it’s God who is speaking to me, guiding me. This has happened enough times for me to take great care in concluding something is from God—or not. Has anyone else had this issue?

    • Maria on March 7, 2015 at 15:40

      The above comment should have read: “is *my* attributing…………”

      • shawn on March 7, 2015 at 18:56

        I might ask if the action is life-giving and/or producing fruits of the Spirit?
        I might also check it out with a Spiritual Director.
        Maybe as we become more attuned and familiar with our dialogue with God and affirm that with others we can discern and trust more?

        • Maria on March 7, 2015 at 21:13

          Thanks Shawn. I appreciate your feedback. I’m not sure that I’m conveying, in words, what my mind is thinking re: attributions to God. I’ll spend some time with it this weekend.

    • David Cranmer on March 8, 2015 at 20:36

      I, too, have moments when I am not sure that what has come into my mind is from God or is a thought originating from me.

  30. Dee Dee on March 7, 2015 at 14:59

    Be still.
    Be patient.
    Love God.
    Love others.
    Love yourself.
    Trust God.
    Don’t worry.
    Live joyfully.
    Focus on today.

  31. Jose L. on March 7, 2015 at 14:59

    Great stuff, Brother Jim! Even on days like today, where I’m frantically stuck at the computer catching up on work and don’t take the time to stop and listen, I am acutely aware that I am missing what God is saying to me. He understands that I’m busy; I understand that my busyness is my loss.

    Physically and metaphysically, nature does indeed abhor a vacuum. It is staggering to me that God is so interested in communicating with little old me. It is oddly both frustrating and comforting to feel his subtle beckoning, even as I fritter away on other activities time better spent with him.

  32. Linda B on March 7, 2015 at 14:28

    The Lord Jesus is holding out his hand reminding me to come walk with Him and serve his people each day.

  33. Susan Dredge on March 7, 2015 at 14:08

    Thank you Brother Jim for your God given words. It is taking the time to listen to and for God. Recently in a sermon at church the vicar quoted a Jewish prayer whereby God is praised, thanked and listened to. It made me realise this is the important things and I should not always be asking for, requesting, telling God what to do and what I want for others or for myself. God knows what we all need, he doesn’t need me to instruct. I have felt more in tune since I have just started praising and thanking but most of all being aware of when he is talking to me, as Brother Jim says, just in those different moments, scripture, an idea or something that just pops into the here and now.

  34. Randy Ruffin on March 7, 2015 at 13:51

    Brother Jim’s remarks hit home with me also – I think of prayer as two-way. I certainly do a lot of intercession for farmily, friends and others whose needs I am aware of – not to mention for situations in the world and global leaders. But I also take time to “listen” . As Bro. Jim says, sometimes I’ve eperienced an unexpected nudge through something I read, or something someone says. Today my thought was to let go of a possible program this afternoon and to focus instead on getting practical tasks on the home front done, plus have a little space before something this evening – also to savor a gorgeous and somewhat warmer day! Not very earthshaking!

  35. Nicki on March 7, 2015 at 13:25

    This took some work. I believe that my guilty conscience is God getting through to me on matters that need my attention, matters that I just brush aside for the time being, promising to get back to them at a more “convenient” time. Journaling about the one that’s nagging at me the most right now, I think I hear God asking me not to be so set in my ways, that when sudden irregularities come by surprise I could be more on my toes in readiness, and meet them head on rather than letting them knock me over. Good tennis playing comes to mind, to form a volleying situation, rather than be taken by surprise. I am truly grateful to God for presenting this to me in prayer, and to you Brother Jim for presenting this beautiful principle to us..

  36. Ann B on March 7, 2015 at 13:20

    I am reminded by scripture that Jesus was fully man and fully God. He knew he was going to be crucified and raised from the dead yet he went on living and loving in the fullness of God. How I look to this with courage as I think of all that might be or could be. Since none of it is as bad as dying for the whole worlds sins I have trust that Gods plan and timing are perfect.

  37. Judy on March 7, 2015 at 12:47

    I’m still mulling Br. Mark, (the superb soup maker at Emory House) and his ” Time to Pray…” It is following me around as I go through my days. So much to think about; I cannot keep up with the rest of you guys… so I’ve quit trying for a week or so.

  38. Vicky Moore on March 7, 2015 at 12:38

    To clear my mind and heart, be still and listen.

  39. Harold Pound on March 7, 2015 at 12:06

    Be present, be in the NOW. Realize that all that is, is of God. And, we all are part of God’s creation. There really is only ONE.

  40. Joan on March 7, 2015 at 11:31

    I too have had those “aha moments” when something I have read before and discarded suddenly has new meaning for me – I have often felt though it was not because of something going on in my life that related to it, but because God has felt that now is the time I was ready to hear what he was telling me. Too many times I have been in the mind frame of “I can do it myself” or, “I am the only one who can do this” – then I know – “but it’s God I need “. I find comfort in that need.

  41. shawn on March 7, 2015 at 10:41

    God comes to me with a 2′ by 4′ a lot of times. I am a little tired of it.

    • Dee Dee on March 7, 2015 at 14:52

      Ha! Me too!

  42. NA on March 7, 2015 at 10:22

    That I cannot slide quietly into doing things the old way and expect them to work.

  43. Kenneth Knapp on March 7, 2015 at 10:02

    I think he is telling me I had better “wise up.”

  44. Norm Anderson on March 7, 2015 at 09:59

    God is telling me to take my time and to reflect more-follow my heart.

  45. Ann Brackin on March 7, 2015 at 09:49

    Moderation and restraint. To be more positive, tolerant, and respectful to others. To enjoy life today and not to expect anything of tomorrow. To let go of the past.

  46. Cama Merritt on March 7, 2015 at 09:34

    Your experience of having thoughts, answers, insights come “out of the blue” when you are reading scripture or in some other activity is the experience that I have had, too. Lately I have begun to “make room” for God’s messages: when I catch myself yearning or fretting or pondering something, the impulse comes to me to stop my mind and make a space there where God can send the message. These morning talks help me to be more aware. Thank you.

  47. Kathy B on March 7, 2015 at 09:32

    All those tough times you’ve prayed through, and all the big achievements – I’ve been there as you asked. But I’ve also been there in between, in the mildly tough times, the not yet successful tasks, the small hurts. I’ve been there, and I will always be there. I’m not letting you go, even if everyone else does.

  48. Jack Wilkins on March 7, 2015 at 09:20

    To become more obedient in his time as a team player with others and Spirit and not mine in listening within prayer of silence.

  49. Ginny S on March 7, 2015 at 09:01

    Yes and yes, God comes and finds me, and keeps telling me in different ways until I’m ready to hear. Lately, it’s been lessons about growing into mature love. Being steadfast, faithful, forgiving, accepting, vulnerable, means giving up self and loving through tears. Life provides plenty of opportunities to practice. The rewards are divine.

  50. John on March 7, 2015 at 08:39

    Be more attentive to friends.

  51. Terri on March 7, 2015 at 08:33

    Patience.

  52. Dorothy Wilson on March 7, 2015 at 08:31

    I have had these experiences as well. Gid comes gently into my consciousness, & lets me know that I am not alone. God challenges me to think. It is a gift .

  53. Dean on March 7, 2015 at 08:29

    The conversations that I have in my head with those who have hurt me. That they are not constructive and hurt me further.

    • Felicity on March 7, 2015 at 17:26

      Yes! Thanks for reminding me and reinforcing my own weak grasp of this.

  54. Kara on March 7, 2015 at 08:27

    All longing souls…and tortured hearts…and pain filled flesh… find rest in Him…in this moment…and always…Amen!

  55. Christopher Epting on March 7, 2015 at 08:13

    God and life are reminding me this morning to hold my wife and stepson in my prayer as they grieve the loss of their mother/grandmother and tend to the myriad of details which a loss by death brings.

  56. Christopher Engle Barnhart on March 7, 2015 at 08:07

    Each day I find answers to my prayers in the Daily Lectionary readings. It may be the Old Testiment, the Psalm, the New Testiment or the Gospel. Today it was the Psalm 75.

  57. Roderic Brawn on March 7, 2015 at 07:41

    Rod, remember what is important. Think about what is important. Make better choices.

  58. Alice on March 7, 2015 at 07:36

    I love this idea and image of God presenting to me. Thank you.

  59. Michael on March 7, 2015 at 07:19

    There is a sense of flitting in my life that keeps me bouncing from one idea to another. If God is presenting something to me, my brain is rushing too quickly to stop and hear his call. How to slow down and listen, to allow my self to go more deeply into an idea eludes me. Perhaps that is the very thing that is being presented to me today

  60. Carol Tolonen on March 7, 2015 at 07:19

    YES, I am so aware of this experience too. I call it “grace”. When scientists say that there are no coincidences, they are talking about rational thinking about causality. I don’t believe there are any coincidences either but sometimes I think it is God at work in the world tapping me on the shoulder and saying, “Hey, look over here. This is what you need to pay attention to right now.” Much of my prayer these days is a request to help us all be aware of God’s constant presence so that we can be open to the grace that is ever offered.

    • Jane on March 7, 2015 at 10:09

      I love the concept of God tapping you on the shoulder and saying hey, look over here. I, too, have experienced that same sense of God tapping me on the shoulder!! And when I pay attention, all kinds of interesting and wonderful things can happen!!

  61. Carole on March 7, 2015 at 07:11

    I liked the part where you mentioned how reading a passage in the Bible can mean something different to you now, how maybe it could be a situation you find yourself in at the moment. I too have had that “pop” moment when listening to the Reading or Gospel. There have been times I have had something, a problem or situation, weighing heavily on my mind went I attended Service only to find the answer while listening to the story of Christ and his teachings.

  62. N on March 7, 2015 at 06:54

    ‘Slow down. Be patient. My Grace is sufficient.’

  63. Barbara on March 7, 2015 at 06:47

    Trust.

  64. Linda H. on March 7, 2015 at 06:21

    I don’t know. Maybe I’m not listening. I’ll listen today and report back. Thanks for asking.

    • Lucia S. on March 7, 2015 at 09:34

      I’m with you on that this morning.

      • bob on March 7, 2015 at 18:07

        Hope you both found something.

  65. Nancy W. Del Borgo on March 7, 2015 at 06:02

    All these years I had it backward. I would go to God; I was only dimly aware when God came to me.

  66. Deborah on March 7, 2015 at 05:47

    I think God is showing me the need to ‘link in’ to all of creation, to become part of the flow of life. Sometimes prayer feels like that, like being in the flow, but sometimes I feel that what I have been asked to pray for isn’t what God is saying. I think today’s message speaks to me of this.

  67. Enid Shields on March 7, 2015 at 05:45

    The incredible beauty of the life force in all of its manifestations.

  68. bob on March 7, 2015 at 04:48

    For the strength to keep going forward in the face of dread.

    • bob on March 7, 2015 at 18:13

      Successful today – along with a dozen brilliant nurses and three excellent junior doctors.

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