The Faithnetworker Newsletter
Vol. 1. No. 4, November 2, 2000
Bible Study by Email
Warren Doud teaches 130 Bible study lessons in 105 countries to over 1,000 people! How? Email! Warren's organization, Grace Notes, provides free systematic Bible study lessons to anyone with an email address who wants it. His lessons are prepared by scholarly Christians and delivered on a weekly basis in English and Spanish. Contact Grace Notes at
"Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God." (Romans 8:26-27 NRSV)
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Recovering a Sense of God's Presence
By Deborah Hanus
In my experience, I have had the privilege of drawing closer to God through the lives and spiritual practice of those from diverse Christian denominations. Methodists, Lutherans, Baptists, Episcopalians, Presbyterians, members of the Reformed Churches, Roman Catholics, Quakers, the unchurched, and so many others have uncovered God's presence for me and for so many others. Each person brings their own unique spiritual gift to our Center. Trust, serenity in the face of troubles, wisdom, hope, justice, humor and enthusiasm are a few of the gifts of the spirit we hold in common.These have been the gifts to me and to all of those who have shared part of their spiritual journey with one another. I have also found a commonality in our spiritual yearnings and desires. The common quest is to create a deeper awareness of God in their lives. We are on a journey toward God, but still hungering. We want the best gift of all--the awareness of our living God at the center of our lives.If we are one in our desire, we are also one in experiencing all of those modern energies which distract us from noticing God. As a culture we spend much time and energy on getting and spending, on self absorption and on restless pursuits which do not give us what we want. We are graced, and at the same time need release from our incessant consumption, lack of wonder and awe, and fear that, in the end, we are not worth much.We are one in our desire to become more attentive to how God is already working in our lives, we want to notice God's presence in even more significant ways that transform us and the world. To cultivate this deeper sense of God's presence we do not need to take on more. Rather, we need to stand still, catch our breath, and notice that God is already here present. Listed below are six simple practices which invite us to catch our breath, recovering an awareness of God's abiding presence.
1. Begin each day counting your blessings. Be intentional about calling to mind people, events, or experiences which fall with beauty and grace from the hand of the Creator.
2. Pay attention to the earth. Remember that it is the earth that supports all spiritual endeavor. Practice simplicity of life by focusing on reducing consumption in all areas of life.
3. Listen to others. Each human story is a sacred revelation of God's living word in the world. Treat each story with reverence.
4. Reject excessive noise and activity. Refuse to multi-task. Drive without turning on the radio. Turn off the TV when not actually watching it. Sit still and learn to value the stillness which aids us in listening to ourselves, others, and God. Acknowledge God's revelation in quiet.
5. Read scripture each day. Do not read great mouthfuls. Read a small portion slowly. Savor the words, images and meanings. Ask God to make these words alive in your life.
6. At the end of each day, spend a few moments prayerfully looking back over your day. Notice when, and where, and with whom you were aware of God's presence. Ask God to open your eyes and ears more fully on the morrow. Ask for the gift of tasting of God more deeply. Ask for the courage to be the hands and feet of God in the world.
Adapted from "Out of the Center"
October 6, 2000