I love the Lord’s presence. To wait before Him through worship and prayer is a privilege. I love those moments when, while waiting before Him, His presence suddenly surrounds and envelops—it is wonderful beyond words. To have His love, peace, and joy overtake you while resting in communion with Him is the essence of our life in God. We were created for fellowship and intimacy with God, to enjoy God and his presence is the greatest delight.
David said, “In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Psalm 16:11 NKJV) David understood that in God’s presence true fullness of life and joy could be experienced. To pursue God is the privilege of God’s people. The psalmist records, “But it is good for me to draw near to God.” (Psalm 73:28 NKJV) James adds, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” (James 4:8 NKJV) God invites our passionate pursuit of Him and longs to be intimate with you as you get close to Him.
Jesus in our Midst
Last Sunday morning, during our corporate worship service, the Lord’s presence filled the room in a strong and tangible way. Whenever we gather with others, Jesus promises that He is in our midst. But, there are times when the manifest presence of God is stronger than at other times. Last Sunday service was one of the moments in our church.
What I have discovered is that there are “factors” that lead to a stronger presence of the Lord. The strong manifest presence of the Lord began with me earlier in the week. While at United Theological Seminary last week, God’s presence filled the room full of pastors and church leaders after the president of the seminary, Dr. Kent Millard, shared about prayer, the Holy Spirit, and healing on Thursday morning. God came, and everyone present knew God entered the room. Spontaneous worship began, and for about an hour, the tangible presence of God was unmistakable. But, this wasn’t the only factor for our Sunday meeting.
The Element of Prayer
Another element was prayer. Our worship leaders and team were praying, faithful intercessors and church leaders were praying, and pre-service prayer occurred Sunday morning. In fact, when I walked into our prayer room before the service Sunday morning, I knew God had something special for the day. As several of us prayed, God’s presence increased noticeably and the Holy Spirit impressed upon me to be “open to something different today.”
I love to teach God’s word, but I love and honor the presence of the Holy Spirit. If God wants to do something different, my heart’s desire is to remain open to His leading and change of direction.
Interceding for Others
Another factor that I believe affected the direction of our service was Hurricane Harvey—a devastating category 4 hurricane which had made landfall in Texas two days prior. Millions affected by record breaking rain and flooding—our hearts are heavy and concerned for those in Texas. I believe the Lord was leading us to pray and intercede for those in Texas—and for our nation.
Desiring His Presence
As the worship service opened, the Lord’s presence continued to fill the room. As members and visitors continued to arrive during the worship, it was obvious that something special was occurring. I knew we were to “honor His presence” and not leave that place of worship and intimacy with God too quickly. As I shared with the congregation that we were going to stay in worship longer, the response was almost unanimous, “Yes!” Like David, “our heart and flesh cry out for the living God!” We want to be in His presence, and He wants to meet with us.
When God comes in a corporate service, it is powerful. The service took many different turns last Sunday as we abandoned the prepared teaching and our normal format. Perhaps there were some disappointed by the interruptions for children and youth ministry, perhaps others were hoping to hear the teaching, but I believe most were extremely satisfied as we honored His presence and allowed God to spontaneously lead us where He wanted us to go last Sunday. We enjoyed the immense privilege of seeing and feeling what was on His heart. He desires to touch lives for His kingdom… He desires to heal hearts and bodies… He desires unity and oneness in His body, the Church.
After the service, one of our worship leaders shared with me, “During worship practice, I kept hearing the Lord say, ‘Honor my presence, honor my presence.’” I believe we did—we honored His presence and waited upon Him to touch, inspire, and heal many. (If you couldn’t attend, you can watch the entire service online below.)
Fullness of Joy
Do you honor His presence? Do you delight in waiting before the Lord through worship, prayer and communion with Him? Do you “come alive” in the presence of the Lord? I encourage you, learn to value His presence and pursue God. Jesus said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.” (Matthew 5:6 NKJV) Are you hurting or struggling in this season of your life? Then wait on the Lord, allow Him to fill you, allow His presence to overtake you, and let the worry and care of life lift off in His presence, where there is fullness of joy.
If you would like to watch the video from this week’s Passion Church service, you can watch that here: