“Here I am, Lord” (May 6, 2011)

You may know that Jesus, through Helen, recommended that Bill use the prayer, “Here I am, Lord.” Jesus told him to use “a very short phrase, like ‘Here I am, Lord’ and don’t think of anything else. Just pull in your mind slowly from everywhere else and center it on these words.” Clearly, this is meant to be something like a meditation, where you draw your attention inward and focus it on repeating the same words, over and over.

The benefits attached to this practice were many. According to Jesus, it would enable Bill to focus his mind so he could receive communication from God. It would allow him to feel he was fully present to God. It would allow him to feel confident in his own existence, and thus more able to be present to the act of teaching. It would help him overcome his fear of relating in any form.

I’ve used this line periodically over the years as a focus of my practice during the day and a focus of meditation in the morning. However, I just learned something new about it that changes its meaning for me. I was aware it is drawn from the Bible, so I looked up the references to it there. What I found was very interesting:

* In Genesis 22:11, God calls Abraham and he answers, “Here am I.”
* In Exodus 3:4, God calls to Moses from the burning bush and he also answers, “Here am I.”
* In 1 Samuel 3:4-8, God calls Samuel three times and each time he answers, “Here I am.”
* In Isaiah 6:8, God calls Isaiah, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Isaiah answers, “Here am I! Send me.”
* Finally, in Acts 9:10, the risen Christ calls Anani’as, who answers, “Here I am, Lord.”

I’m sure you see the pattern. “Here I am” is always a response to a call from God (or in one case, Christ). That seems perfectly natural, doesn’t it? We often say “Here I am” in response to someone else’s call.

As a result of this discovery, the other morning I used the line in my meditation with this new understanding. What that means is that each time I said, “Here I am, Lord,” I imagined I was saying it in response to God calling to me. I imagined He had called me very personally, and I was answering Him by saying, “Here I am, Lord.” I can’t say that the Heavens opened, but it was a really nice meditation, with a different quality to it than when I just said, “Here I am, Lord,” as an out-of-the-blue statement, rather than as a response to His call.

I really encourage you to try it yourself and see how it goes. Pull your attention in from the world. Don’t think of anything else. Imagine that God has just called you by name, and then, with all your attention on this and nothing else, respond by saying, “Here I am, Lord.” Then do it once more, again with all your attention on this and nothing else. And then do it again, and again, and again. Take your time with it. Take fifteen minutes, or thirty, or forty-five. So how deep you can go. See how present you can become to God.

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