Presence and Silence

May 05, 2021

Recently, I’ve restarted my daily practice of silent prayer. Like many who try this practice, I feel an immense amount of resistance arising within me against my intention. But that’s not a good reason to avoid the practice. What we truly and deeply desire is often quite different from what we prefer or feel like doing in a particular, narrow little moment.


What seems to work for me is to set a 25-minute timer on my smartphone and then turn it facedown so I’m not...

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Learning to See the Day

Feb 03, 2021

As was typical of a season long ago, I had a pile of little boys in the back of my red minivan. We were driving down the street toward our home when I noticed some unusual dark grey storm clouds in the sky. Behind the clouds was a glowing blue sky, with splashes of pink and gold.


It was the beginning of sunset, and, evidently, my then 4-year-old son had never seen the sky exactly like that before.


“I never saw today!” he exclaimed as he peered out the van window,...

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Podcast 134: Transforming Leaders: Unexpected Pathway (Alan with Steve Macchia)

Aug 03, 2020

 As leaders, there are things about us we want to see changed. But sometimes, instead of changing what is unpleasant or difficult for us, God chooses instead to be graciously and lovingly present to us in the midst of what doesn’t change. Instead of resolution, God offers us transforming presence.

In my second book, An Unhurried Leader, I wrote a chapter based on Paul’s story of the thorn in his flesh that, no matter how many times he prayed, God did not remove or...

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Podcast 56: Practicing Presence: Moving from Resistant to Relaxed

Aug 27, 2018

Sometimes in the middle of ordinary circumstances we can find ourselves resistant (at odds) versus relaxed, with what is occurring, even when there is nothing to be at odds with.

This podcast is about prayer and presence. Not prayers. But prayer. Openness to God in any and every circumstance is prayer. Because, as we’ve said before, prayer is not something you do so much as it is someone you are with.

Presence is key in all of our interactions with others. Learning to catch yourself...

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Podcast 36: Carry Prayer - An Effective Way to Pray for Others

Feb 26, 2018

Many years ago, I (Gem) was having a conversation with a very dear friend. As we interacted, she shared some insights about me that I had not directly told her before. No one could have known, because I had not shared with anyone. She was quite observant, but I was still surprised when she shared with me her thoughts. I asked her how she knew. She said, "I know you because I pray for you."

I didn't really understand that fully at the time, but over the years I began to learn what she meant....

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Podcast 19: BREATHE - A 6 Minute Retreat

Sep 25, 2017

BREATHE is a practice you can engage, for about 6 minutes, at any point in your day. It’s a helpful process of re-focusing and re-engaging. It is similar to another practice I introduced a while back, SLOW.

You can take a moment to breathe and to find some inner stillness in God’s presence. You can quiet your mind and heart for a moment and emerge refreshed and ready to move into your next task or conversation.

It’s very difficult to be truly productive when you feel...

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Podcast 18: Suanne Camfield (The Sound of a Million Dreams)

Sep 18, 2017

Today, I talk with Suanne Camfield, author of The Sound of Million Dreams: Awakening to Who You are Becoming. You'll enjoy our engaging conversation on the themes of:


This is the passage from Suanne's book that made me want to talk with her:

"...the stirring was a moment: an awareness of the holy in the midst of the every day that simultaneously brought clarity and chaos to my space in the world. A feeling: of perpetual pressing, pushing, and pulling...

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Take Five: 17 Simple Ways to Serve Others

Feb 15, 2017

When we are hurried inside, serving others may be the last thing on our minds or in our hearts. We may feel there is so much on our plate that doing something for others is beyond our bandwidth. But that kind of hurry is unreal.

Our first work is not our already-too-long to-do list. Our first work as followers of Jesus is the work of Jesus, whether our job is at a church or non-profit or not.

Serving others does not always require heroic, time-intensive efforts. We can serve another in any...

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Take Five: 22 Simple Ways to Enjoy God’s Presence

Dec 14, 2016

At Unhurried Living, we seek to inspire Christian leaders around the world to rest deeper so they can live fuller and lead better.

Rest deeper. How does that happen?

There is certainly more than one answer to that question, but let's just say that it doesn’t always involve days away for retreat or vacation. Sometimes “rest deeper” can happen in just a few minutes. It’s a focus of soul, not just an emptying of our schedule.

In a recent article in Prevention...

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Psalm 84: The Presence of God

Aug 24, 2016

Psalm 84 is one of my favorite Psalms. I’m inspired by verse 10: “Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere.” (See the entire Psalm below).

A thousand days in one of the greatest places I’ve ever been does not compare to the value of a simple day in the presence of God.

I love the deep feeling captured in this psalm prayer:

My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord.”

“Yearn” is already a strong desire...

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