The Gift of Presence

Kerri Ash, Volunteer Writer, South Barrington | December 8, 2023

After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.  
Matthew 2:9–11

I heard your voice in my heart say, “Come seek my face,” my inner being responded, “Yahweh, I am seeking Your face with all my heart.” 
Psalm 27:8 (TPT)

Can you even imagine what gift you would bring to Jesus and His family if you had the opportunity? The wise men, or Magi, brought gifts of spices and treasure chests of great wealth. Even without knowing the whole story, they knew from God that this baby was someone special. But we know the story—that Jesus gave everything for us to be able to be close to our Father. So something tells me that neither my favorite fajita seasoning nor the balance of my Venmo account is of enough value to present as a gift to my Savior!

The truth is that Jesus did what He did for something far more valuable: me.  Everything I am is priceless.  

Although there are moments that I have trouble feeling like it is such, my presence is my greatest gift to Him. Over and over in Scripture, God invites us to seek His face, but the beauty is that we can’t seek His presence without offering ours. So praying is an offering of our presence! When we show up to pray, even a tiny, one-word prayer, He receives us with open arms. In fact, I like to say that He is delighted whether we show up every 10 minutes or every 10 years!  There is no condemnation from Him—just pure joy that we are offering Him our presence.  

Many years ago, I offered God what I call my “blanket prayer”—giving Him every part of me—each moment, thought, emotion, action, and decision. So I know He is with me in everything, and I am grateful for that. But I have noticed that when I actually take the time to say a prayer (or, give Him my presence), things hit differently, and my spirit is fulfilled.

Perhaps that is because offering Him my presence not only allows me to talk to Him but to listen as well. He may offer me a picture, vision, sound, word,  feeling, or sense in those moments, which are evidence that praying is a two-way experience. It is a beautiful exchange of the gift of each other’s presence.  

Next Steps

The next time you are moved to pray, take a moment and imagine God’s joyful expression and delighted countenance when He sees you—be mindful that because of Jesus, you are holy and perfect in your Father’s eyes. Picture His full, grace-filled focus and loving attention on all parts of your inner self. Experience the knowledge that your words need not be perfect or even express the depth of what you are trying to say because He already knows. Notice the effect of this experience on your spirit.