Spending time in the presence of the Lord is one of the most valuable and joyful activities in which we can engage. I love Sundays when we can go to church, fellowship with other believers, sing in worship to God, and hear God's Word proclaimed. Yet we can do that daily as well through personal devotions.
Psalm 84 is a beautiful Psalm which talks about a deep longing to spend time in God's presence. The later part of verse two says, "---my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God." Above is a picture of my prayer bench. Inside are kept all my devotion books and notebooks. I also have a gratitude journal or two stored there.
Each morning I take out the materials I am going to use for the day and grab my Bible. I like to get up early in the morning before my husband does and spend time in the Word of God and prayer. In addition I like to write in my gratitude journal. I love looking out the window soaking in the wonders of God's creation and a new day, as I do this. This is my way of being in the presence of God in a special way.
Nothing in this life truly and ultimately satisfies like a deep personal relationship with the Lord. I really know of no other way to face each new day with its joys and sometimes deep problems without first having spent time with the Lord. This has always been important to me; but it became even more important to me during those years of caring for my first husband, my time of fighting breast cancer, and my years as a widow. It still is vitally important to me in the new phase in my life; and as I grieve over certain family members' circumstances.
The Psalmist says this to the Lord in Psalm 84:5-7, "Blessed are those whose strength is in You, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of Baca (valley of weepings, times of dryness and difficulty), they make it a place of springs---They go from strength to strength till each appears before God in Zion." As I pilgrim through this life, I find this Scripture passage helpful and a blessing.
I also find a host of other Scripture passages and promises a source of strength and blessing. God had brought me through many valleys which required His strength and the assurance of His promise to be with me. Being in God's Word each day helps me focus on the presence of the Lord and helps me walk with strength and even joy through this life until I reach my heavenly home.
Being in the service of the Lord and in His presence one day is better "than and thousand elsewhere" (Psalm 84:10). This is because He is my light, my protection, my strength, and my joy. Psalm 84:11 b promises me that "no good thing does He withhold" from those who trust, love, and seek to obey Him.
All God's blessings and promises and His presence in my life become richer, as I spend time with Him each morning. I thank God for that blessing in my life. I thank Him for my prayer bench waiting for me in the quietness of each new morning.