Last Updated: January 28, 2022
Are you aware of God’s presence in your daily life? The reality is that God is always with us. But we don’t always recognize Him in our everyday lives. We see Him when we read the Bible or go to church, but we overlook His presence in the small details of our days. Is it possible to have awareness of God’s presence in our daily lives?
God is always present with us. When we put our faith in Jesus, God gives us His Spirit, who dwells with us and in us (see John 14:16-17). But in the stress and rush of our lives, it can be a challenge to recognize that He is with us. However, it is possible to practice and learn to be aware of God’s presence.
Awareness of God’s presence is a simple spiritual discipline just like Bible reading, prayer, or worship. It isn’t mystical, mysterious, or esoteric, and it isn’t only for those who spend all their waking hours praying and seeking God.
Instead, being aware of God’s presence is for every Christian, because Jesus promised to be with us always. It’s known by some as “practicing the presence of God” or simply “communion with God.”
In this article, I will connect the dots between this and the modern practice of mindfulness, so I’ll use the term Christian mindfulness. The essence of Christian mindfulness is cultivating this conscious awareness of God’s presence.
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How Can We Always Be Aware of God?
When I was a college student, I had a deep desire to get closer to God. I’d put my faith in Jesus Christ as a child, and I knew that God loved me, but I longed to experience Him in my day-to-day life.
I would read Bible verses like “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thess. 5:16-18 NIV) with wonder and bewilderment. How is that possible? How can I never stop praying—when I have to write papers and study for exams?!
I tried to remember to say a prayer every time I thought about God. But most of the time, my mind was on my studies. When I did think of God, I would feel ashamed that I’d been distracted and had forgotten to connect with Him.
Walking in the Light of God’s Presence
Then, one day when I was reading the Psalms, a verse caught my eye:
Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you, who walk in the light of your presence, Lord. They rejoice in your name all day long; they celebrate your righteousness. ~ Psalm 89:15-16 NIV
There it was again: Rejoice in God’s name all day long. But how? The verse gave me a hint: Walk in the light of His presence.
That verse was like a seed that the Lord planted in me. He started to gently show me that because He is present with me all day long, all I have to do is walk in His presence.
That’s an essential part of “rejoicing always:” simply acknowledging God’s presence throughout the day, praising Him, and thanking Him for being there.
A river of God’s grace washed over me, because He taught me that I didn’t have to feel ashamed for not being able to pray every second of every day. Moved by His kindness, I dove into searching Scripture for more.
Face to Face with God
The Hebrew word translated as “presence” in Psalm 89:15 is actually the “face” or “countenance” of God (Source). The same word is used when Moses spoke with God in the tent of meeting after leading the Israelites out of Egypt:
The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. ~ Exodus 33:11 NIV
Doesn’t your heart just long for this same communion with God? How can we have this face to face conversation with Him, like speaking with a friend?
The truth is that we can have this communion with God at all times, because the Holy Spirit is in us through faith in Christ. That’s what Jesus meant when He said:
And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age. ~ Matthew 28:20 NLT
Jesus promised to be with us forever by sending His Spirit to help us and live in us:
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. ~ John 14:16-18 NIV
My friend, the Holy Spirit isn’t some wispy, mystical idea. He is God Himself, and He comes to live in us when we put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ.
Do you see? As believers, we have direct access to God’s presence. We can speak with Him like speaking to a friend any time we want to, because He’s right there with us and in us.
We don’t have to depend on our own effort to “get closer to God,” because He’s already made the effort to get as close to us as He can get—that is, inside of us!
Christian Mindfulness: Being Present with God’s Presence
So if God is always present with us, we should learn to simply walk in His presence. We can simply be aware that He is near, and that the light of His face is shining on us with love and grace, wherever we are and whatever we’re doing.
When the Lord highlighted these things to me through His Word, I rested in the knowledge that He was with me, and I started to cultivate a conscious awareness of His presence.
It wasn’t until a few years later that I learned about the modern concept of mindfulness. It felt like an epiphany to connect the dots between mindfulness and my Christian worldview. The main idea of mindfulness, which is awareness of the present moment, is amplified by the Christian idea of awareness of God’s presence.
Mindfulness emphasizes paying attention to our experiences in the present moment. As Christians we believe that God is with us in the present moment. This brings a whole new layer of meaning to a Christian perspective of mindfulness, because we can experience God’s presence in the present moment.
When we pay attention to our experiences in the present moment, we can start to see God’s hand in everything. A natural response to the realization of His active presence in our lives is to “Rejoice always, pray continually, [and] give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thess. 5:16-18 NIV).
How to Cultivate Awareness of God’s Presence with Christian Mindfulness
So, how do we make this awareness of God’s presence a habit in our lives? The basic answer might sound simple enough: we consistently turn our thoughts to God.
The problem is, it doesn’t come naturally. Usually, our minds are on everything but God. We think about the work we have to do, the plans we have to make, the chores and studies and everything that distracts us from God.
But Christian mindfulness means learning to pay attention to God’s presence in the present moment. That includes the moments when we feel like we’re too busy to come up for air—because God is present in those moments too.
God is present with us both when we’re reading the Bible and when we’re cleaning the kitchen; when we’re singing worship songs and when we’re working on a project. Christian mindfulness is simply a matter of recognizing His presence in all of it.
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. ~ Colossians 3:17 NIV
Every moment is an opportunity to connect with God and to give Him thanks for His loving, detailed involvement in our lives. But as with any spiritual discipline, it takes practice and repetition to make it a habit. So here are 3 primary ways to practice Christian mindfulness.
1. Meditation: The Training Ground
If you think about it, what’s the main reason you find it hard to turn your thoughts to God throughout the day? I would guess it’s because you’re focused on other things, or, you’re paying attention to different thoughts and worries. So, an essential part of learning Christian mindfulness is shifting your focus and noticing what you’re paying attention to. Meditation is one way to practice this.
Meditation is like a workout for your attention muscles. It trains you to focus your attention on one thing. When you get distracted by thoughts while meditating, you simply notice, and gently bring your mind back to what you were focusing on.
When you meditate on a regular basis, it creates a new pattern or habit in your brain that you carry with you into your daily life. It trains you to notice when your mind is distracted by thoughts or worries and to bring your focus back to the present moment. When you practice this habit by meditating, it gradually becomes more instinctive in your daily life to focus on God’s presence.
You can try mindfulness meditation, in which you focus on something in your present experience like your breath or your environment. Or try Christian meditation, by focusing on a passage of Scripture, reflecting on the words, and conversing with God about it. Read more about how to use mindfulness meditation as a Christian in my article: How Christian Meditation and Mindfulness Work Together
2. Mindful Pauses and Check-Ins
You don’t always have 10 or 15 minutes to spend meditating, but sometimes you have a moment to pause. You don’t need more than one or two minutes to do a mindful check-in.
Maybe you can take a quick break in the middle of your work day between finishing one task and starting the next. Maybe you’ve just finished talking to someone on the phone or just gotten home from somewhere, and you need a moment to reset.
Simply take a couple of minutes to stop, close your eyes if it’s comfortable, and direct your attention to God’s presence with you. Thank Him for being with you, and talk with Him for a moment. Tell Him whatever’s on your mind. Take a couple of deep breaths, and simply rest in the knowledge that He is with you right now, before going on with your day with a continued awareness of His presence.
A short mindful pause is as easy as that, but there are a lot of other similar exercises you can do in less than 5 minutes. For a list of Christian mindfulness exercises that you can do as short, mindful check-ins throughout the day, read this post: 7 Christian Mindfulness Exercises to See God in Daily Life
3. Mindful Awareness During Everyday Activities
I highly recommend a little book that played a big part in my journey towards this idea of Christian mindfulness. The Practice of the Presence of God is a collection of letters and conversations with a 17th-century French monk named Brother Lawrence.
The book explains how he learned to commune with God throughout his everyday activities: both when he was praying and when he was working. By “practicing the presence of God,” he could feel God’s love and presence with him no matter what he was doing.
Brother Lawrence spent a lot of time cooking and cleaning in the kitchen, and he was just as aware of the presence of God with him in these menial tasks as he was in prayer. I believe that’s exactly what is available to us when we simply turn our attention to God’s presence when we’re in the middle of everyday activities like household chores, work, exercise, and even eating.
It reminds me of one research study that found that washing dishes mindfully can help you feel more relaxed and less stressed (Source). If we take that mindful awareness of the experience of washing dishes, and add awareness of God’s presence, it transforms a simple, everyday chore into an act of worship and gratitude for the Lord’s loving involvement in our present experiences.
I probably sound like I’m gushing a bit. But having experienced this, I really think that this simple, mindful awareness of God can give us a new perspective of the otherwise mundane tasks in our daily lives.
Aware of God’s Presence with Christian Mindfulness
To sum up, God is always with us, and Christian mindfulness is the simple practice of being aware of His presence in our daily lives. Through meditation, mindful check-ins, and mindful awareness during everyday activities, we can develop a habit of turning our minds to God throughout the day.
Keep learning about how to practice mindfulness as a Christian with The Best Christian Mindfulness Resources, including books, courses, guided meditations, and more to support you on your journey of being mindfully aware of God.
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