You’ve heard the saying Practice makes perfect. But as long as we live in this fallen world, ‘perfect’ is never something we can fully achieve.
A more accurate statement might be Practice makes permanent.
It is certainly true that if we practice an art – say piano, we gain new skills, we learn, we can become quite an accomplished pianist. Usually once we practice a skill over a period of time it becomes a somewhat permanent skill.
A song that we took to task to play and memorize becomes a part of us after hours and days of practice. As we sit down at the piano, our fingers know what to do – they may nimbly fly across the keys, once again playing that piece we have taken time to practice many times over. That piece of music is now a part of us in some sense.
You’ve heard the idea that if you work on a particular skill for 21 days straight, it becomes a habit to you, to your mind, to your physical prowess or whatever else is affected by 21 days of practice.
If we can apply these 2 sayings or ideas Practice makes permanent and Twenty-one days of change makes a habit to practicing the Presence of God, we can probably assume that this action will become both permanent and a habit. Albeit a good one.
Not that we are seeking a formula here. Rather a framework, a kind of personal goal setting between our heart and God’s heart. We are saying to Him that we desire to get to know Him, to know His ways. We long to hear His voice, to know Him as Father, Savior, Rescuing King. We practice His Presence daily and as we do we gain new levels of desire for more of Him.
For truly practicing His Presence becomes a sabbatical from our rushing thoughts, conflicting images, and entanglements that can daily snarl our minds and our actions.
As we go about practicing His Presence, the fruits of His Spirit begin to emerge, take shape, become more ingrained in us. Faith, Hope, Peace and Love begin to manifest as we take the time getting to know our Savior. Deep desires begin to surface. Peace settles in for the moment. Hope rises to the top of our worries.
Yes, practicing His Presence is not only a satisfying thing to do but becomes a healing assuredness that He is here, He is for us, He loves us.
Practicing His Presence grows fruit. Helps us walk out of that place of intimacy with a clearer head and heart, more ready to deal with life, as well as become more aware of our neighbors and their needs.
Practice makes permanent. Twenty-one days of change makes a habit.
So go ahead. Practice His Presence for the next 21 days. And observe the difference it makes in your life.
Addendum: I wrote this story more than a year ago. I keep this story tucked away but not too far away, just fingertips away because I need this reminder to practice His Presence, so that the habit is firmly planted in my daily routine.
The other day I watched an interview with a woman from Haiti who had been trapped under a super market for 5 days. She was able to give an account of her harrowing experience as she lay recovering in a hospital in Miami.
It is because of her story that I was again reminded of the importance to be ready in all seasons, to practice the Presence of God. Her testimony reveals that she practiced His Presence every day by reading her Bible, saturating her very soul in the Word. And all of that practice, the permanence that it had brought into her life was put to the ultimate test – the difference between life and death. She was well versed, she had practiced staying alert to His Presence perhaps for such a time as this.
She was crushed for 5 days on her knees. During that ordeal she said that because she read her Bible daily, she knew the Psalms so she began to recite them. She kept repeating the Psalms. She said that she prayed that she wouldn’t fall asleep so every time she began to give up, she would keep praying the Psalms out loud. At some point she began to hear voices. I am not clear if those were voices of others that were trapped or voices of angels. It doesn’t matter. She talked to them. She began to know for certain that God would send rescuers.
Her story wreaks of a miracle. She was rescued and her crushed legs are not permanently damaged. She will walk again.
So what I take away from this story is that all of her practicing paid off. She was ready in season and out of season. She had God’s word in her head, in her heart, and upon her lips.
My question to myself and to you –Might we pay attention to this? We never know when we will be called upon to put into use the fruit of all of that practice.