Day 2 - God Promises His Presence

Day 2 - God Promises His Presence

Written by: Katelyn Boyd
 SCRIPTURE:
In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.
(Jeremiah 29:12-13, NLT)


DEVOTIONAL
I’m going to guess that most of us have, at one time or another over the past two years, felt alone; perhaps you have felt isolated from people you love or even felt that God has left you alone. Today’s passage reminds us that God promises His presence to those who wholeheartedly seek Him in prayer. These verses are part of a letter Jeremiah wrote to the people of God as they were in exile in the pagan nation of Babylon. Jeremiah encourages the people to settle and serve God well where they are (verses 4-7), warns them of the dangers of listening to false prophets (verses 8-9), and reminds them of God’s promise to bring them out of exile at the time He determines to be right (after seventy years–verses 10-14). Can’t you imagine that God’s people must have felt so unbelievably alone, and maybe even unseen or uncared for by God? 

What is beautiful about verses 12-13 is the promise that God makes to His people in the midst of their exile–to hear them and to be found by them. God’s promise here is not just to bring them out of exile (although, he does eventually do that), but it is that He will be present with them in the middle of their exile. They were displaced, but not disowned. God heard them and promised to reveal Himself to His children when they sought after Him! Psalm 16:11 reminds us that in His presence there is fullness of joy; God’s presence changes the way we interact with even the most difficult circumstances. 

As a parent, I have learned a lot about how comforting my presence is to my children; if they are hurt or afraid, a single word or touch from me can immediately quiet their anxious thoughts or panicked cries. My presence doesn’t necessarily change their circumstances, but it grounds them in the middle of whatever chaos threatens. When we pray, we are ushering the presence of the God of the Universe into whatever moment or mess we find ourselves facing–whether a terrifying diagnosis, conflict in a relationship, difficult decisions needing to be made, or even mundane tasks that can overwhelm and threaten our sanity on a day-to-day basis. 

As tempting as it might be on stressful days, I would never hide from my children when they earnestly sought me out! God is not hiding from us! The presence of God, which once was restricted to those who could enter it only behind the temple veil, has been granted to us by the work of our Savior, whose death and subsequent resurrection tore that veil in two and allowed us to come into the presence of the Father! Hallelujah! So, we must consistently and earnestly seek Him, and He will be found!

ACTION STEP
What circumstances do you need to invite the presence of the Lord into? Make a list of them, and commit to spending time in prayer during our 28 days of prayer and fasting, asking the Lord to be present in them. Are there things that are hindering you from seeking the Lord with your whole heart that you need to give up/cut out of your life for these days? Share these with a trusted friend who can hold you accountable. Consider also making a practice of acknowledging/thanking God out loud for His presence with you, in the most mundane and the most difficult of circumstances: "Lord, thank you for being with me and sustaining me as I _____________.” 

PRAYER TIME
As you go through your day, make the conscious decision to talk with God about what’s going on, no matter how seemingly small or large. Ask Him for His insight on the problems, questions and fears you face. Ask Him to overwhelm you with His love and peace when you feel exhausted or empty. Spend some time in prayer, seeking the Lord with all of your heart, during a time in your day when you normally would not. Turn off the podcast on your drive to work, turn off the TV and talk to him while you’re rocking the baby or folding laundry, stop scrolling and wind down at the end of the day by asking Him to present with you. He promised He would be. 

Father, thank you for promising to be present with me! Help me to seek you with my whole heart; please reveal to me anything that is hindering me from doing so, and help me to turn away from it and submit it to you. I’m so grateful for your presence, and I so desperately want more of it! Help me to consistently and intentionally invite, acknowledge and thank you for your presence in my life and circumstances. Please show me others around me who need to feel your presence with them right now in a special way, and use me to lead them into your presence. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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