A way of living with constant awareness of God’s presence which is derived from the Hebrew Bible, is taught in Hasidic Jewish writings, and which works together with the traditional practices of godliness.
That is, keeping the mitzvot (commandments) is a reminder of God’s presence every time we obey. Studying Torah increases our awareness of God’s presence. Prayer is a formal entry into deeper levels of God’s presence. Loving others finds God’s image in people and honors the presence.
The importance of the concept of devekut is in preventing a sort of dry obedience and of seeing the deeper, divine elements of practices which could otherwise be routine.
“Our usual (and false) religious attitude is that we do something ‘religious’ — study Torah, pray, whatever — and then we forget about God.” -Yitzhak Buxbaum, Jewish Spiritual Practices.
Examples of Devekut in the Hebrew Bible
Shiviti Adonai l’negdi tamid – I keep Adonai before me always. -Psalm 16:8
Ta’avod uvo tidbak – you shall serve him and cleave to him. -Deuteronomy 10:20
Examples of Devekut in the Fourth Gospel
The Fourth Gospel is written from a more mystical perspective than the synoptics (see Raymond Brown, An Introduction to the Gospel of John). Many of Yeshua’s sayings escaped the notice of some of the witnesses but were remembered and emphasized by the Beloved Disciple (and many think the Fourth Gospel also has later layers, in which disciples of the Beloved Disciple expanded a smaller original). The following examples demonstrate a mystical, continuing connection between a disciple and God, which we should read as literally as possible. Some of these examples show that Yeshua also had such a connection with the Father.
The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know whence it comes or whither it goes; so it is with every one who is born of the Spirit. -John 3:8
the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever he does, that the Son does likewise. -John 5:19
Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of man will give to you. -John 6:27
He who believes in me, as the scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water.’ -John 7:38
I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. -John 15:1
Stay united with me, as I will with you — for just as the branch can’t put forth fruit by itself apart from the vine, so you can’t bear fruit apart from me. -John 15:4
if I do not go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. -John 16:7
that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us. -John 17:21
The glory which you have given to me, I have given to them; so that they may be one, just as we are one. -John 17:22
that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I myself may be united with them. -John 17:26