Sunday, March 22, 2015

God Was Everywhere (#SmallWonder Link-up)

Today I'm happy to share a guest post from Ed Cyzewski.  After reading a copy of his newest book, "Pray, Write, Grow: Cultivating Prayer and Writing Together, I knew he would have something good to share with our community.  Ed practices a type of prayer called the Examen which focuses on awareness and daily reflection concerning the movement of God's spirit in our lives.  Today Ed shares about how his son helped him become more aware of the presence of God.  

When I started praying the Examen, I struggled to answer the question that prompted me to identify a point when I felt God’s presence. Some days I sensed God’s presence, but on other days prayer felt like merely reciting words and waiting in silence. I didn’t have anything in particular I could nail down as a moment when God felt particularly present.

That started to change when I prayed with my young son one evening. After my wife and I read books with him, we started taking turns to pray with him before saying goodnight. Turning the lights off, I usually kneel down next to his bed where he’s tucked in and eager to share everything he’s thankful for. We usually begin with saying thank you for things like his friends, family, church, and the local children’s science museum. He’s also thanked God for “daddy’s shirt,” “people watching hockey,” and “mama holding brother.” After he’s exhausted every possible thing and person he could thank God for, I pray for him.

The prayers are always short because he’s a toddler with a limited attention span, but the first time we prayed together, I sensed an immediate connection with God. It was as if God wanted to love my son through me. Recognizing God's love for my son opened me to a greater sense of God’s parental love. The simple ritual of praying with my son eventually opened my eyes to a deeper sense of God’s love for me and my love for my son.

I started noticing that prayer wasn’t just a matter of saying thank you or issuing requests, even if it could be those things. Prayer gets us on the same page with God. It shifts our perspectives. I saw how God loves me and loves my son. My eyes were opened to the possibility that God could be found in other moments too. In fact, many of the moments I’ve spent with my children since that epiphany while praying have led to particularly powerful experiences of God’s presence when I least expected it. 

Responding to my children with mercy or compassion became a kind of prayer in and of itself.

As I prayed through each of the questions in my Examen each evening, I started to recognize God’s presence in the moments when I loved my children. For all of the times I’d sat down with prayer books or tried to quiet my mind to meditate on scripture, God felt most present while I spent time with my kids, whether praying or playing. The more I see God in these relationships with my children, the more I’ve become aware of how easily we can wall God’s presence off from very important areas of our lives.

Today’s post is an excerpt from Ed’s new book: Pray, Write, Grow: Cultivating Prayer and Writing Together which is on sale this Monday and Tuesday for $.99!

Ed Cyzewski is the author of Pray, Write, Grow: Cultivating Prayer and Writing Together, A Christian Survival Guide and Coffeehouse Theology. He blogs about prayer, writing, and imperfectly following Jesus at www.edcyzewski.com and offers two free eBooks to newsletter subscribers.

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Welcome to the #SmallWonder link-up.

What if we chose to deliberately look for the small moments of wonder, the small sparks of presence, of delight or sorrow, of true humanity in which we meet God? 

That's my proposal - that we might gather here each week to share one moment of Wonder from each of our days. 

You're invited to link-up a brief post of about five hundred words or less about a small moment of wonder.  Don't worry if your post is too long, too short, or not just right - you're welcome to come as you are.  



While you're here, please do take a look around and encourage at least one other blogger with a comment.   



6 comments:

  1. I didn't realize it when I linked up today but I chose a post dated 3/22/14 where I wrote about my then 3 year old as a messenger of love. There is no coincidence in God but wow, to come here and read what you've shared from Ed and his thoughts on prayer and leaning in to God through the relationship he has with his son. I have to get this book. Thank you for being an open door for me today Kelly. Have a great week!

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    1. Wow Lisha. That's crazy. Thanks so much for being here. Be blessed!

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  2. I loved reading what you shared from Ed. When our children were small, we always prayed before bed & that was special. But I think the prayers I best remember were the ones before meals. There was something precious about listening to them express their thanks & needs which most often had nothing to do with the meal before us. It always came across with a faith which expressed that if this need (the meal) was already met, they knew God could take care of anything. A precious reminder this morning to pray with the faith of a little one. Blessings!

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  3. Hey Kelly
    Thank you for getting Ed to share. I really enjoyed this piece. Lately I have been discovering that there are different ways and different things, moments that connect us to God. As a teenager I used to love music, close my eyes and still my mind connect with God. But as I got older I felt guilty about using music, to connect with God. This weekend however, particularly Saturday, I put the music on - a collection of worship music, piano music and then old school love songs and I just sat. I sensed such a deep presence of God and He ministered so deeply in to my spirit, I was on a Heavenly place for at least 24 hours. I have learned that I dont want to be legalistic about how I think God wants to meet with me. We all have our different ways, we all created differently and I want to embrace that. Your post today has been confirmation for me and I thank you so much! aliyah

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  4. I love this... and I just bought Ed's book last week! Looking forward to settling in to it this afternoon!

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  5. Kelly, thanks for featuring this excerpt here. Ed--thanks for sharing your heart about your kids. I have no small children in my home, but I do have grandchildren and classrooms....and well, life, which offers me many, many chances to say our prayers through our actions and our attitudes.
    (ordering his book. Now.)

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