Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?…Therefore do not worry about tomorrow…
Matthew 6:26. 27.34
Many of us find that it is all too easy to get lost in the maze of our minds. We do this without even realizing it. We may be thinking about something in the future, or obsessing about some problem or reviewing some event in the past. Often this is not particularly valuable or productive thinking. In fact, it tends to be counter-productive because it distracts us from whatever it is that is right in front of us that needs our attention.
It may distract us from an activity we are engaged in, or, even worse, this kind of mental spinning may distract us from the person we are with. It also disrupts the restfulness or peacefulness we might otherwise enjoy if we were allowing ourselves to simply be present in the moment.
But there is an even deeper problem with this kind of mental spinning. The distraction and unnecessary noise created by mentally being somewhere else other than the present robs us from being present to God. It robs us from being present to God who is always present to us.
God is the Giver of life and of all good things. God is with us in each moment, moment by moment. But too often we are elsewhere, in our minds, missing this, the greatest gift of all.
When we are spinning and distracted about something it can be helpful to offer a simple prayer about our concern. “Lord show me what to do.” Or perhaps, “Lord, thank you that you will show me what to do. You will guide me.” These simple prayers, can release us from unproductive mental spinning. Our mind and body will relax a bit and we will find that we are able to rest in the moment. Our heart and mind can now be freed to listen to the Spirit’s wisdom and guidance.
Another way of praying that can help us practice living in the present is to pray, as often as we can remember during the day, “Lord, allow me to be present to (whatever it is I am engaged with at the moment), and to you.” For example, we might pray, “Lord, allow me to be present to driving to work and to you.” Or, “Lord, allow me to be present to making this meal and to you.”
Whatever it is that we are engaged in at the moment, no matter how ordinary, takes on new joy and wonder as we pray this way. When we pray in this way we are reminded of the reality of God’s presence with us. And we are brought back to the gift of the present moment. One moment at a time.
“Don’t worry about tomorrow,” Jesus tells us. “Look at the birds of the air, they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.” God will take care of us. God will guide and provide for us. Our work is to live in the present so we can receive the gift of God’s loving care one moment at a time.
Help me to live in the present.
Allow me to be present to you,
as you are always present to me,
each moment of each day.
Allow me to be present
to the gift of each moment,
no matter how ordinary,
so that I can be present
to the joy
of your loving presence
each moment of each day.
As you remember throughout the day, pray, “God allow me to be present to (whatever you are doing in the moment) and to you.”
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