Tarrying in God's presence is another aspect of the abiding which takes us closer to God. As we tarry, we have the opportunity to more easily encounter God's presence. This is an occasion when a follower of Jesus encounters the Living God in such a way that we linger in God's presence, enjoying the Person of God.
Tarry is an outdated word in our English vocabulary, but I think it is a great word to connect with the abiding. Tarry is not loaded with too much preconceived meaning or cliche religious language. It provides a fresh word for a fresh experience of the abiding.
To tarry is to linger, to stay longer than expected, to not have an agenda, or to encounter God's presence for an extended period of time. When we tarry, we stay in the moment, fully engaged and attuned to the presence of God. Tarrying creates a space by which God's presence slowly grows and manifests as we linger. As we tarry, just to be with God, God responds by revealing his presence to us, the children of God.
An important aspect of tarrying is growing in the awareness of God's presence. God is omnipresent, meaning God is everywhere at all times. But there are instances when God will manifest his presence in a tangible way where we encounter the living God (see Genesis 28:10-22, Acts 10:1-48). And we do not "control" when God's presence manifests, but we invite God by creating a space in which we tarry, allowing God to decide how he wants to show up. Also, please note when I say manifest, this can look different for different people. And God is the one who decides when and how to manifest his presence.
The more we practice tarrying, the more naturally we become attuned to the presence of God. We can also pray, asking God to help us become more aware of his presence in our lives. Think of it like tuning an antenna for a t.v. or radio. In the same way, when we attune our soul to God, we search for God's presence, remaining open and aware.
Body posture can be a means to assist tarrying in God's presence. Our body posture is powerful in how it positions our soul and what it conveys to God. For example, opening our hands with our palms up connotes a posture of receiving. We can more fully open ourselves to receiving from God when we have a posture of openness. Also, physically bowing down is powerful because it is an act of humbling ourselves before God - body and soul. Other postures include closing our eyes, raising our hands, bowing our head, etc. Such postures help us receive God's presence and attune to God in our tarrying. God responds to such postures; they are like a sweet aroma to God - worship, humility, openness.
Tarrying in God's presence, with such postures, is part of what I like to call the culmination effect. The culmination effect is the longer-term perspective of discipleship by which the Holy Spirit works slowly over time in our lives. It is like an overflow of a bucket that is filled drip, by drip, by drip. As our bucket is filled, we grow more aware of God's presence in our tarrying. And the culmination effect allows us to take a long-term perspective of the practice and power of tarrying.
A biblical example of tarrying in God's presence is Anna from Luke 2:36-38. Anna "never left the temple area but worshiped God with fasting and prayer night and day" (v.37). Anna practiced a life of abiding and tarrying in God's presence. She remained in the temple, the place where God's presence resided during the temple period of Judaism, and worshiped with fasting and prayer - means by which helped her tarry in God's presence. Similarly we can create or find physical spaces in our lives where God's presence dwells more strongly. For example, we have had many people reside in our home and comment how they experience God's presence in tangible ways. God's presence is cultivated in this way because our home is dedicated as a house of prayer. This means we frequently pray in our home and worship God in the physical space. Thus, I believe a Christian's place of residence can be a location where God's presence rests and manifests more often if these types of practices are intentionally cultivated. Further, prayer houses (Christian locations dedicated to prayer) cultivate God's presence in a special way too. In such places, we can more easily encounter God's presence. This can include Christian worship spaces, such as a "church" building or retreat center.
Tarrying in God's presence is an opportunity to slow down, remove our agenda and linger with God. As we tarry, we are attuning ourselves to the Person and presence of God, communing with God in closeness, intimacy and depth. The more we cultivate the practice of tarrying, the more we become attuned to God's presence and create a space in our lives to live in the abiding.
Jesus, would you teach us to tarry in the presence of God by the work of the Holy Spirit. Would you help us to become more attuned, open to and aware of God's presence in our lives, recognizing the beautiful gift we receive as we tarry.