Recently, someone attending one of our prayer gatherings commented that he so enjoyed the weighty Presence of God among us. He asked, “Why do I feel that here, but not in other groups I have participated in?”
My answer was that many Christians are not aware that they can experience sensing the Lord’s Presence, and so they don’t make room for Him to move among them. In our house of prayer, we do a few simple things to make the Lord feel welcome. Basically, we prepare a place for Him, and then He does the rest. The results are glorious!
In this series, I’m going to share with you what we mean by the Glory-Presence of God, why it is important for us to experience Him tangibly, and how to tap into His Presence as individuals and in group settings, such as church services and prayer gatherings. I will provide practical how-to ideas for worship leaders and pastors who desire to see God manifest His Presence in their congregations. In this initial post, we’ll talk about the individual aspect.
When we are born again, the Holy Spirit comes to live inside of us. We begin to interact with God. He speaks to our inner man, convicting us of sin, comforting and reassuring us, and guiding our lives day by day. There is a further experience, clearly laid out in the Bible, which every believer can and should have — the Baptism in the Spirit — which is a full immersion in the Holy Spirit. We are filled up with Him, and fully enveloped by Him. It is a gateway into a deeper, more powerful life in Christ. For those who are skeptical, or who have never heard of being baptized in the Spirit, I have an inexpensive audio teaching for you at my website: The Baptism in the Spirit: Why You Need It & How to Get It. I have also written an article on the subject, What Is the Baptism in the Spirit?
So, every believer already experiences the Presence of God in some measure. We maintain and increase our connection to His Presence through heartfelt worship, absorbing and meditating on His Word, and intimate prayer, where we converse with Him and listen for His responses to us. Ephesians 5:18 exhorts us to “be filled with the Spirit,” indicating that there is an active part we play; worship, the Word, and intimate prayer are how we go about it.
We can experience the Lord both internally and externally. At times, He manifests Himself to His people tangibly in corporate gatherings. We may feel like the air around us becomes heavy, or thick, with Him, as if He is brooding over us or resting upon us. We may sense that He has suddenly entered the room, or, there is a gradual increase in awareness of Him. The gifts of the Spirit, mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10, may start evidencing. A fog or mist which can be seen with the natural eye might appear. We become very conscious that He is with us, touching us, even though we cannot see Him.
What we are encountering in such times is the kabod, a Hebrew word translated “glory” in our English Bibles. The word also means “weight; splendor; glorious honor; abundant fullness.”
On a personal level, you may experience a warm feeling in your heart, or great peace settling in, or a sense that Jesus is standing right by your side. You may have stronger physical manifestations of God interacting with you:
1.) Fire is coursing through you or enveloping you. The Holy Spirit often reveals Himself and what He is doing as fire.
Jeremiah said “He has sent fire into my bones” (Lamentations 1:13). Moses described Him as “a consuming fire” (Deuteronomy 4:24). John the Baptist said Jesus would “baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire” (Luke 3:16).
2.) You feel a breeze or wind. The Hebrew word ruach and the Greek word pneuma both mean “spirit; breath; wind.” They are the words used in the Bible for the Holy Spirit.
3.) Many believers have felt what they described as overwhelming sensations of “liquid love” pouring over or through them.
4.) During intense manifestations of the Lord’s Presence, you may find it hard to stand, as if you are being pushed downward, or your balance may become unsteady. At the dedication of Solomon’s temple, “… The cloud filled the house of the LORD, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of the LORD” (1 Kings 8:10, 11).
These are just a few of the ways you might encounter the Glory-Presence of God personally or in a group setting.
While we should greatly desire God’s Presence in these tangible ways, we must never get off into pursuing the manifestations for their own sake. We go wholeheartedly after the Lord, not how He shows up. We can ask, as Moses did in Exodus 33:18, “Lord, show me Your glory,” but then we let Him decide how and when to release supernatural evidences of His Presence with us. He will not disappoint us.
Next — Part 2