IN THE PRESENCE OF GOD

We'd gathered in a small room to learn a Bible story with Weldon Nisly—adults who tell Bible story to adults. I don't remember which story it was, but I do remember Nisly saying, "First, let's pray silently together." No parameters—simply, pray silently together. The effect was profound. The exquisite warmth, welcome, and community I felt attending my first ever Festival Gathering of the Network of Biblical Storytellers (NOBS) pales in the glow of that praying. I came away thinking, "This man knows God!" And as heand I have become acquainted, it feels clear to me that Nisly, a Mennonite pastor from Seattle, Washington, takes living a life of prayer, and being in conversation with God, very seriously—without taking himself too seriously.

Nisly follows a studied and earnest prayer regimen to nurture his own spirituality, solely to serve God and be available in the world. It's a regimen that includes daily, early morning prayer times, continual praying in the "cell" of his heart, and regular trips to St. John's Abbey in Minnesota, where periods of silence are central. Additionally, he answers calls to teach and speak to groups other than his own congregation.

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