Francis de Sales: Living in God’s Presence, Part 2

IMG_2247 (2)“…Before prayer, we must always excite in our souls a lively apprehension of the presence of God, such as David conceived when he exclaimed: “If I ascend up to heaven, O my God, thou art there; if I descend into hell, thou art there!”¹

In the previous post in this series, we were reminded that dwelling in God’s presence on a regular basis involves more than intellectual assent of his presence.  Truly abiding in…returning to…living in God’s presence requires intentionality.

Before prayer, De Sales says, we must “excite” our own souls. In other words, we are to purposely arouse our souls to the wonder of God’s presence in preparation for prayer.

I don’t know about you, but my flesh can be lazy sometimes. I have to choose to place myself in God’s presence even when I’m tired or busy or, let’s be honest, I just don’t feel like it. Anyone with me, here?

As believers, and regardless of our weaknesses, we are responsible for tending to our own souls. Jude 1:20-21 says, “But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit,  keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.”²

King David, who wrote many of the psalms, regularly preached to his own soul. If you’re having difficulty exciting your soul, try reading this passage out loud. Loud! Then read it again. And again. See what happens. I dare you.

Bless the Lord, O my soul,
    and all that is within me,
    bless his holy name!
 Bless the Lord, O my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits,
 who forgives all your iniquity,
    who heals all your diseases,
 who redeems your life from the pit,
    who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
 who satisfies you with good
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.³


Listen to passages of “A Devout Life”

¹De Sales, Francis. A Devout Life. Public Domain.

²The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

³Ps. 103:1-5 ESV. Ibid.





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