This fall in ESoM – The Embassy School of Ministry – I’m teaching a class entitled “Intimacy With God”. We cannot move forward with God unless we have a close relationship with Him. We cannot know the plans of God unless we have a close relationship with Him. We cannot hear the promises of God unless we have a close relationship with Him. God says He does “nothing without revealing His plans to His servants the prophets” (Amos 3:7). This calls for an intimacy and closeness in our walk with the Lord so we are able to hear His voice and distinguish His voice in the midst of what at times are many voices attempting to grab our attention. God wants to speak to us on a daily basis.
But as believers how do we find that sweet place of prayer in all we do where we find constant communion with Him?
This mornings Thomas Merton stopping point came from a journal entry where he wrote; “God has put me in a place where I can spend hour after hour, each day, in occupations that are always on the borderline of prayer. There is always a chance to step over the line into simple contemplative union with God”. Merton searched for a way to strip away all the trappings of life in order to devote all his time to God in prayer. While it is true many things in life do distract us from God it is also true we need to find a way to always be aware of God in our midst.
But how do we accomplish such a task when the world screams for our attention pulling us in many directions? How do we find what Merton called the “borderline of prayer”? In his book “Practicing The Presence of God”, Brother Lawrence boldly declared the longer he walked with God he actually arrived at a place where the “set times of prayer at the monastery interrupted his time with God”.
Maybe we find the answer in a combination of what these two monks discovered. Jesus told us we are to be “in the world but not of the world”. Yes we do need to strip away things that distract us from spending time with God as Merton searched for. However at the same time we need to discover how to not only walk along the “borderline of prayer” as described by Merton, but also arrive at a place of closeness with God when “set times of prayer” seem to interrupt our constant communication with God in prayer as we go about our daily lives.