Silence for 2-5 minutes:
If your mind wanders, silently pray a simple prayer again and again, such as, "I surrender to your love" or "Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me" until the Holy Spirit gives you a sense of peace and focus.
1 The Lord is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The Lord is the defense of my life; Whom shall I dread? 2 When evildoers came upon me to devour my flesh, My adversaries and my enemies, they stumbled and fell. 3 Though a host encamp against me, My heart will not fear; Though war arise against me, In spite of this I shall be confident.
4 One thing I have asked from the Lord, that I shall seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the Lord And to meditate in His temple. 5 For in the day of trouble He will conceal me in His tabernacle; In the secret place of His tent He will hide me; He will lift me up on a rock. 6 And now my head will be lifted up above my enemies around me, And I will offer in His tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord.
What if God were to say to you that He would grant you any one thing you would request of Him? What would you ask? David answers that question by saying the one thing He asks of the Lord, and the one thing he seeks after is to dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of his life. David, above all else, longs to be in the presence of the Lord. David is a “man after God’s own heart.”
While in God’s presence, David does two things. First of all, he gazes upon the Lord because the Lord is utterly beautiful. We gaze upon those people and things we find to be lovely and enthralling. A mother gazes upon her baby, looking into the eyes of this precious gift from God. A husband gazes into the eyes of his wife and relishes how fortunate he is to be loved by one so beautiful. We gaze upon creation, mountains, oceans, rivers, stars, and somehow feel something of the divine. All of these things are but signs pointing to the beauty of God. To gaze upon the Lord is to experience beauty in its highest and most profound dimension.
Secondly, David meditates upon the Lord. We are summoned to think deeply about our God. Much of modern faith trivializes what God has done and makes man the center of our thinking. But, when we take our eyes off of ourselves and think about the glories of God, we are swept away by His goodness and beauty. This is one reason silence and solitude can be such powerful tools in knowing God. We quiet our hearts and minds to be able to gaze upon the Lord and then think deeply about the one who continually carries us in His heart.
Adam Clarke has thought deeply about God and has gazed upon His beauty.
God is the eternal, independent, and self-existent Being; the Being whose purposes and actions spring from himself, without foreign motive or influence; he who is absolute in dominion; the most pure, the most simple, the most spiritual of all essences; infinitely perfect; and eternally self-sufficient, needing nothing that he has made; illimitable in his immensity, inconceivable in his mode of existence, and indescribable in his essence; known fully only by himself, because an infinite mind can only be fully comprehended by itself. In a word, a Being who, from his infinite wisdom, cannot err or be deceived, and from his infinite goodness, can do nothing but what is eternally just, and right, and kind.
Is the one desire of your heart to dwell in the Lord’s presence, gaze upon His beauty and meditate upon Him? Ask the Lord to give you this greatest of gifts.
Lord, I know the one thing that I truly long for and what my heart desires the most is to be in your presence and to gaze upon your beauty. Call me away from lesser things to be captivated by You and You alone. Help my thoughts about you to be worthy of your greatness, glory, and love. Amen.