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Last night, in my prayers, I came to understand a perspective that is likely to change how I see my whole life.

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As much as I can, my first thought in the morning when I wake up is to pray:

“I know that You will be with me today, Lord.”

This prayer acknowledges God’s presence, locates me in my world, and establishes the main priority and focus of my day. It is short, and about all that I can handle first thing in the morning. Happily, the impact of this prayer is way out of proportion to its length. There is one thing that has bothered me about this prayer, though: it has all the appearances of being a prayer that assumes I am at the center and God’s role is to be present in order to be involved in my life, at my beck and call. God is with me, not the other way ‘round. My background as an evangelical who bought in, implicitly or explicitly, to the concept of “health and wealth,” that God is present and powerful to fix everything in my life (“a very present help in trouble”), to smooth the road ahead, to make life comfortable and possible, certainly feeds my sense about this prayer. In back of a short, well-intentioned prayer is the notion that God will be with me to help me accomplish my agenda for the day.

Last night, though, my perspective changed as I reflected on God’s presence during the day just completed. It is not that God had been with me, as much as I had been with God, as I was moving and working and living in His world, accomplishing His agenda in the world that He created, the world that He creates for me and in me.