Everything flows from the presence of the Lord. Everything!
In Exodus 33:12-16, Moses clearly knew that to be true. In fact, he was convinced he couldn’t take his people, former Hebrew slaves, into the Promised Land without relying on God’s presence.
Genesis 3:8 records that Adam and Eve found out they couldn’t hide from his presence
In Genesis 4:14-16 Cain had been banished from God’s presence, and he was terrified to be so vulnerable. But God put a mark on him to warn others not to attempt to kill him.
In Revelation 3 the greatest tragedy of the Laodicean church is that they were doing church without Jesus’ presence.
Think about what happens when we run, flee, or get away from God’s presence. There is no greater loss! What do we lose when we’re not in his presence? Relationship is what we lose, an intimacy with the Father that is taken away.
So back to Moses . . .
It took Moses 80 years, but he finally figured out that he had nothing with which to lead the Israelites if he did not have God’s presence. He even explained to God all of his deficiencies that would keep him from accomplishing his mission, saying he had no . . .
- leadership skills
- persuasive words
- clever wisdom
- sophisticated marketing
- strategic planning
Moses knew what he needed, what he had to have. To even have a prayer of completing the task, he would need desperate prayer and total surrender to God’s plan.
The same even applies to corporate worship: What matters most is that we encounter the God of the universe, not just each other, at church. Fellowship is one of the top reasons we go to church, but the true condition of a church can be most accurately assessed by the condition of the Christians in it. So how can I truly assess my condition as a church member?
Jim Cymbala says, “We are not New Testament Christians if we do not have a prayer life!” How else will we ever see a breakthrough? Satan continually tempts us to do anything and everything that will abort God’s power! We must position ourselves where the presence of God will manifest in our lives in a powerful way.
Bill Elliff said, “The natural path we all go on is very humanistic – in our thinking and in our living! Our pride gets in the way, and we think we can do it ourselves. I can tell you with one question how much you’re living in pride and here is the question, how much do you pray?”
Can you go a day, or even a week, without ever really praying? If you can, that means you think you can do life without God. How do we begin our journey to become a person of prayer?
By practicing it, developing it, and modeling it.
How can we do anything for God and his church if we are not talking to him, the head of the church? We simply do not pray enough.
Discipleship isn’t about an arrival; it’s about a direction. It’s a journey! An effort is required on the part of the disciple. We have to put the work into it and make prayer a priority!
So here are five practical steps to truly being in God’s presence through prayer:
- Schedule times for intentional prayer.
- Plan times of fasting.
- Stay in God’s Word by reading it daily, journaling it consistently, and memorizing it weekly.
- Confess and repent of known sin by keeping a list.
- Ask God how you can move into a deeper prayer life.
Manley Beasely says, “The mark of a godly man is that everything he does is God-initiated!” The only way for that to be true is to be talking to the Lord and listening to him!
Perhaps the best quote on prayer is from Jesus himself in Luke 18:1: “Men ought always to pray!”
Copyright © 2020 by Larry Barker @ Healthy Church Podcast. Used with permission. No part of this article may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from Lifeword.org.