Being in the Presence of God
by Todd Bentley
If someone told you that you could experience increased intimacy with God by lying on your bed, relaxing, and listening to worship music, what would you think? To some that suggestion might border on blasphemy. Do you equate pleasing God with working your fingers to the bone, serving on twenty committees, or having a regimented quit time? If so, you probably feel guilty when you don’t measure up to those self imposed standards, don’t you? Many Christians are trapped in the Martha syndrome when they should be like Mary- sitting, resting at Jesus feet, and listening to his voice.
Through soaking, or the “contemplative life,” we get more of God and His presence in our lives. I’ve found more power and revelation in quietness than in any other form of prayer. I believe the silent prayer of the heart is the highest form of prayer. Some Christians seldom enjoy this place of prayer because they never learn how to silence their hearts, minds, and emotions and enter into true communion and fellowship with the Lord. I’ve heard from a great many prophets who say that when we learn to silence our thoughts, we have discovered the true secret to seeing in the spirit realm.
Through church history we can find a long trail of people who loved God’s presence and passionately sought after him. A group of these God Chasers were called the “Christian Contemplatives.” They understood the biblical practice of meditation Christians need to realize that the words meditate and meditations were in the book of Psalms long before the New Age movement existed. The Bible was the forerunner of meditation. Our ancient forefathers practiced meditation, as did the monks in the 1600s and 1700s. If the word meditate makes you uncomfortable. Try substituting “to think about over and over and over again.”
Who wants the power of God today? Who wants miracles, signs, and wonders? Those who do, need to learn to be still. Now, think about this- the Bible talks about the Spirits of counsel and might. Might is the Power of God. God’s might does not operate without his counsel. I am going to make an amazing statement: It isn’t that the church doesn’t have enough power; its that the church doesn’t wait to hear his counsel. We don’t take time and wait in stillness to receive visions of what is going to happen in a service. The Spirit of counsel brings the Spirit of might. Waiting releases revelation, which ignites power. In the church today we are workers, not waiters. We are doers, not soakers. We are extremely busy people who can’ silence our hearts and minds. It’s time for God to bring us back to the art of being in his presence, He wants intimacy with us more than we want intimacy with him.
Revelation in stillness
When I want to enter into the presence of God, I listen to instrumental music and lie on the floor on my back in total surrender. My focus is Jesus. I don’t pray in tongues, nor do I make request. I quiet my soul and wait patiently on the Lord. If we can’t overcome the busyness of our minds, we’ll never enter into the Spirit. It’s the first thing we need to conquer.
Psalms 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God.” The word still means “idle, quiet, and alone,” Here the word Know means “come to Know by experience or through intimate relationship.” It also means “to perceive, to find or to see, to become known, or to be revealed.” God had ordained more revelation.” of him self in stillness than in any other form of prayer.
Think about the power of stillness. The most common hour of revelation in the Bible is 4:00 a.m. – the fourth watch. Jesus rose from the dead between 3:00 a.m. And 6:00 a.m.
God delivered the children of Israel from the hand of Egypt in the early hours, and Jesus appeared near dawn to the disciples at sea. Often God comes when we’re just dozing off or awakening – the quietest parts of the day. I came to understand God and the power of His anointing by lying in His presence in stillness and quietness. I not only received a greater revelation of who he is, but of who I am in Him.
Waiting on the Lord
In scripture the idea of being still before the Lord is also referred to as “waiting on the Lord.” Waiting carries the idea of Hope and expectancy with it, it suggest lingering or remaining in one place, Knowing you are about to see or experience something. We are to wait with our thoughts on Jesus. Many of us who wait on God or “soak,” play music in the background to help tune our hearts to him, though sometimes we wait in complete silence. Either way, our thoughts and emotions become quiet before the Lord and we focus all our attention on Jesus.
As you discover the incredible adventure of waiting on God, you will learn to rein in your mind when it begins to wander. But press in, because after about two or three weeks of setting aside one to three hours a day of contemplation and mediation, you will begin to master your mind. It’s a discipline and it takes time to cultivate this lifestyle of waiting. When you learn to overcome distractions to focus on Jesus, you will have a breakthrough in the spirit unlike at any other time in your life.
Heb 12:2 describes contemplation in another way: “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.” Yes, the soaking meditation I described involves looking unto Jesus and gazing at him. To gaze suggest turning your eyes away from other things and fixing them on something and staring at it. The word gaze carries the idea of studying intently – “seeing with the eyes and with the mind, perceiving, knowing, and becoming acquainted with by multiple experiences.”
Jesus is the author of our faith, but how does he become the finisher of our faith? I believe we need to have multiple experiences in the revelatory realm. For that to occur, we have to remain in his presence- wait in quietness and stillness. Isaiah 64:4 says that God is a God’ who acts for the one who waits for him.”
In my experience as I soaked and waited on God, He began to act- things got done and prayers were answered. To be honest, for a while I thought, All iam doing is lying around in the presence. I’m not doing anything. I’m not praying in tongues or reading the Bible. But that was exactly what I needed. Isn’t it interesting that the thing that gets God to move is waiting? I get more out of waiting in stillness and quietness than I do out of three hours of prayer.
Some people don’t feel that they truly connect with God unless they are doing something like interceding, praying in tongues, worshiping, or reading the Bible. The minute they stop, they feel that prayer is over and God is gone; they don’t know how to stay in the presence. When I say, “lets be quiet in his presence for half an hour,”
they start speaking in tongues. They are programmed to do something! The Bible says, “but those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary. They shall walk and not faint” (IS 40:31) It all happens while we’re waiting. Here is another verse for you: “ In returning and rest you shall be saved: in quietness and confidence shall be your strength” (Is 30:15). If you want to enter into the Supernatural realm, Practice soaking and meditating for an hour a day- add that to what you already do.