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Gazing at God

Gazing at God

Author - Kim Butts

As I considered and prayed about how to encourage you this month, this quote by Frank Bianco came my way: “If you begin to live life looking for the God that is all around you, every moment becomes a prayer.”  It adds fuel to my own prayer that we will all see how the fulfillment of 1 Thessalonians 5:17, “pray continually,” is accomplished through prayer becoming a lifestyle. It is an increased awareness of being in the presence of God moment by moment.

 

Paul lays the groundwork for us in Romans 12:1-2 in the Message:

“So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.”  How can this be done in a practical way, you may be asking? Here are some steps to praying through this Scripture in order to walk it out day by day and moment by moment:

 

1.    Prayerfully place your everyday, ordinary life before God as an offering. One way to pray this is, “Father, take all that I am and all that I do today. I lay it before you. Please take it and turn my ordinary into Your extraordinary!

2.    Embrace what God does for you. Live out your gratefulness with continual prayers of gratitude, even for the smallest things. Being thankful will help you to recognize and embrace His nearness continually.  Take time to notice things you don’t normally think about and thank God for them regularly. As you cultivate a heart of appreciation for all that has been created around you and for all of the blessings you have been given, you will become more intimately connected with the Presence of God the Father.

3.    Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Our culture is separating us from spending time with God, much less being continually aware of His presence. The distractions are compelling and tempting unless we are able to see and sense Him moving and working all around us. Leaning into His purposes will keep us from the purposes of the enemy of our souls.


4.    Fix your attention on God. Whenever possible, give Him your full consideration and attentiveness. Spend much time reading and meditating upon His word. Listen for His voice. Tell Him that in these moments all you want is to know Him more deeply.  A. W. Tozer speaks about believers who have cultivated the practice of “gazing upon God.”  He describes them as those who, “without giving much thought to what is going on within them, constantly practice this habit of inwardly gazing upon God. They know that something inside their hearts sees God. Even when they are compelled to withdraw their conscious attention in order to engage in earthly affairs there is within them a secret communion always going on. Let their attention but be released for a moment from necessary business and it flies at once to God again.” He speaks of the importance of spiritual habits and rhythms in our lives and continues:  “But at the bottom of all these things, giving meaning to them, will be the inward habit of beholding God. A new set of eyes (so to speak) will develop within us enabling us to be looking at God while our outward eyes are seeing the scenes of this passing world.”  Tozer says this is not only for the super saints, but for each one of us who deeply desires to fix our attention upon God. Spend time in prayer asking the Father to develop this new set of eyes within you.

5.    Readily recognize what He wants from you. Quickly respond to it. It is important that we are always prepared to become the answer to the prayers we pray. Often, when God burdens our hearts, He is preparing us to respond to our own prayers. James says, “Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food.  If one of you says to him, ‘Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?  In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead” (James 2: 15-17). Ask God to keep you aware and available and He will use you for His kingdom purposes.

Paul shares two promises from God if we will focus on the things above. First, we will be changed from the inside out. Secondly, God will bring the best out of us and develop well-formed maturity in us.  What believer doesn’t want this kind of transformation?
“If you begin to live life looking for the God that is all around you, every moment becomes a prayer.”  - Frank Bianco

ccourter@comcast.net,

10:36 PM Monday, October 15, 2012

Thank you for the rich thoughts! I am asking the Lord to make me more grateful than ever and more attune to His presence.

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