God’s presence is essential for a successful prayer life. Wherever God’s presence leads us, His Spirit goes with us also. We need to always pay attention to what the Spirit of God is leading us to do as we pray. Our postures in prayer, our utterances with the spirit, our surroundings and movements as we pray; they’re all closely related to what God may be leading us into as we pray. Being cognizant of the fact that we are in the presence of the Lord helps us to prepare our hearts to receive from Him.
The Prophet Ezekiel described what God’s presence looked like, during his initial encounter with The Lord. The illustration in the picture above is an artist’s impression of what Ezekiel actually saw, in his vision of God’s glory in Ezekiel chapter one. What he saw in the spirit changed his life permanently. His vivid description in Ezekiel chapter one is the closest, that we have in the scriptures about the presence of God and the move of His Spirit.
Our prayer lives in God’s presence changes us first, before we are transformed to change our world.     The Prophet Ezekiel described what he saw:
“I saw that from what appeared to be his waist up he looked like glowing metal, as if full of fire, and that from there down he looked like fire; and brilliant light surrounded him. Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord. When I saw it, I fell facedown, and I heard the voice of one speaking.”
‭‭Ezekiel‬ ‭1:27-28‬ ‭NIV‬‬
Such was the appearance in the realm of the spirit to Ezekiel of the presence of The Lord. His presence is His glory, just as His presence in us is His glory in us. His glory is there within us; but we do have a duty during prayer and intercession to stir it up, and make it manifest in the works of our faith.
There is absolutely nothing impure in God’s presence. When we stand in His presence, God searches through to see the intents of our hearts (1 Samuel 16:7). He weighs every word that we say before Him, by looking through our hearts. That explains why we may be standing before Him in prayer, yet He sees us and He is looking at us through the heart.
Yet as we stand before Him, it may seem to us that we are not getting His attention. But that is the moment to praise and worship Him, as we stand right there in His presence. The truth is that your praise and worship of Him in His presence moves Him closer to you than all the things you may say in prayer before Him. There is no hiding in His presence as you worship Him in Spirit and truth (John 4:24). Every pretense and lie is exposed in His presence.
Jesus taught us never to harbor unforgiveness towards others, in our hearts as we stand before God in prayer (Mark 11:25). We must come with a clear heart as we stand in His presence. Secondly, we must also recognize that prayer has a lot to do with our words as we stand before God. Our words therefore does need to come from the heart full of faith, and not from the head or a doubtful mind.
There are many born again Spirit filled believers today, who can not differentiate between what comes out of their spirit-man and what comes from the head.
The reason for this is their inability to be able to pray in the spirit, or in tongues on a regular basis. They have never trained themselves to listen to their spirit-man, while they often feel comfortable living in the old mindset of their past lifestyle. They are therefore not being transformed by the renewing of their minds (Romans 12:2). Many of them do pray in tongues only when they are in Church, or in the gathering of fellow believers. The result is their inability to bear spiritual fruit to the glory of God.
The most common excuses often given for this, is that they are in a hurry to do something; or they are pressed with time. Some will even procrastinate about praying; but they do often forget to follow through with their word on prayer. In both cases they miss out of their miracles or breakthroughs, due to the slothfulness of their hearts.
However it is often at that moment as we are being led into prayer, that the Holy Spirit is expecting us to fellowship in communion with God, while standing or tarrying in His presence. Our words in praise, worship and adoration must be bluntly honest and sincere before Him.
King Solomon once wrote in the wisdom of God to him:
“Do not be in a hurry to leave the kingʼs presence. Do not stand up for a bad cause, for he will do whatever he pleases. Since a kingʼs word is supreme, who can say to him, “What are you doing?” Whoever obeys his command will come to no harm, and the wise heart will know the proper time and procedure.”
‭‭Ecclesiastes‬ ‭8:3-5‬ ‭NIV‬‬
There is always a proper time and procedure into the presence of God (our King), so as to get whatever we asked for in prayer. It is the work of the Holy Spirit to always lead us and guide us into that moment of intimacy with God. But if we are not aligned with Him, we will miss that moment in prayer and intercession. That moment or procedure in prayer is never determined by us but by Him.
That is why Paul again suggested to us:
“So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my understanding; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my understanding.”
‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭14:15‬ ‭NIV‬‬
The moment to pray with the spirit or understanding is determined by the Holy Spirit living inside of us. Sometimes He may lead us into singing with the spirit, or with the understanding in accordance with the will of God.
There is no formal timing or procedure of things into God’s presence. There are people who will get into God’s presence as His glory falls on them during praise and worship. There are those who will get into His presence at the moment they go into prayer and intercession. And there are also those who often gets enveloped in God’s presence during the time of meditation on the written word of God. There are many other ways through which God’s presence can come on us. But we do however know that, we can approach Him at anytime by speaking boldly before Him.
Now, just because a child approaches his father for anything, does not means the father has to respond to that child immediately. A father wants to spend quality time with his child; and that is the way our Heavenly Father responds with us in prayer also.
That is why we do not ever want to be in a hurry in the things of God. We must learn to spend time in His presence. And a wise man or woman knows the right time and way to tarry in the presence of God always.
Prayer therefore has nothing to do with the number of scripture texts that we are able to quote before God as we pray (Mark 12:38-40). God is searching through our hearts as we tarry and wait before Him. He is looking deeply into the intents of our hearts for saying the words, that we say before Him in prayer.
He sees through our hearts and He weighs our heart intents. That is why we must always be clear before Him in prayer and intercession.
Solomon once again said:
“Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few. A dream comes when there are many cares, and many words mark the speech of a fool…Do not let your mouth lead you into sin. And do not protest to the temple messenger, “My vow was a mistake.” Why should God be angry at what you say and destroy the work of your hands? Much dreaming and many words are meaningless. Therefore fear God.”
‭‭Ecclesiastes‬ ‭5:2-3, 6-7‬ ‭NIV‬‬
That is why it is more effective to pour out of our spirit before Him, by praying in tongues until the Spirit gives us utterances to say anything else before Him in our natural human language. When we pray in tongues, we are praying in the spirit and in accordance with the will of God. But better still is that moment of silence in His presence. God wants us to enjoy the goodness of His presence with Him. And in most cases it is at that moment of stillness and silence in His presence, as we are enjoying it that His voice comes to us.
Solomon said in the above scripture text not to behave like a fool before God. A fool does not know how to conduct himself in the presence of God. A fool will say whatever comes out of his head and not necessarily listen to his spirit-man.
Jesus spent time always with the Father. It was a lifestyle pattern for Him. He decided one day to take His closest three disciples with Him to the mountain of His transfiguration (Mark 9:1-9).
Firstly, He wanted them to learn how to get into God’s presence; knowing fully well that they would have to depend on God’s presence after His ascension to the Father. Secondly, He wanted them to enjoy in fellowship and communion with Him the goodness of God’s presence.
On that mount of transfiguration Christ was transformed from glory to glory right before their eyes. For us as believers who spend time in the word of God daily, this is what people around us often observe in us as we tarry in fellowship before God in the Word.
Paul explained this to the Corinthians in this way:
“And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lordʼs glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”
‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭3:18‬ ‭NIV‬‬
For Peter, James and John the very Word of God which they had read about in the law and the prophets, was being transformed before their very eyes.
John later wrote of this experience on the mountain:
“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete.”
‭‭1 John‬ ‭1:1-4‬ ‭NIV‬‬
When we spend quality time in the Word of life, we are transformed in His presence as we wait on Him to speak with us. God does not want to just speak to us. He wants to speak with us. He wants to have fellowship in communion with us.
Paul again highlighted this to the Philippians when he said:
“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.”
‭‭Philippians‬ ‭1:21-24‬ ‭NIV‬‬
When we spend quality time with God, our body or human feelings becomes irrelevant. God’s presence separates us from the physical body to share in His glory with Him in fellowship and communion. We are able to experience and enjoy His goodness while still in the spirit, as we wait before Him.
The goodness from the presence of God, that was lost by Adam and Eve due to sin, becomes real to us here on earth. You can enjoy what Adam and Eve lost to sin once again. Jesus opened the way for us into God’s presence. Therefore we must come boldly into His presence by the blood of Jesus Christ.
We must however be careful not to get so carried away by His presence, that we forget after that experience; that we still live on planet earth. What we experience in His presence is a glimpse for us into His glory. That was what Paul struggled with as he explained his experience to the Philippians (Philippians 1:21-24).
The moment after the transfiguration of Jesus, Moses and Elijah disappeared; but Jesus was still physically present with Peter, James and John (Mark 9:1-9). They ate with Him, traveled with Him and prayed with Him. But as they continued eating and drinking while listening to the word of life from His mouth; their experience on that mountain of transfiguration became more vivid to them. They not only knew Him physically; but they had caught a glimpse of glory with Him.
Even though we may tarry in God’s presence, our transfiguration experience from glory to glory is permanent with those around our daily lives. It becomes permanent in the lives of those who sees us being transformed daily into the image of Christ. Our experience transforms them also, just as it transformed Peter, James and John as they lived and walked with Jesus. They were transformed to change their world with what they had witnessed and handled – Jesus, the Word of Life.
This was the same experience with Joshua as he witnessed God speaking directly with Moses. He saw Moses’ face transformed. And even after Moses departed the presence of God, Joshua could not leave from the presence of that glory which he saw:
The scriptures says:
“Whenever the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance to the tent, they all stood and worshiped, each at the entrance to their tent. The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend. Then Moses would return to the camp, but his young aide Joshua son of Nun did not leave the tent.”
‭‭Exodus‬ ‭33:10-11‬ ‭NIV‬‬
Joshua refused to leave the presence of God. Those usual experiences of Moses with God transformed Joshua, and positioned him to take over the leadership position from Moses. Making disciples of all nations, requires us to practice God’s presence before the eyes of those we are discipling. As they see us being transformed with that glory of God, they will be transformed also. We need to spend quality time praying together with them, because we want them to catch the anointing of God that they do see in us.
That was what Elijah did with Elisha before he was taken away by the hosts of heaven. Moses practiced it with Joshua before going into the mountain to meet with the Lord. Jesus did it with His twelve most trusted disciples, before His ascension into heaven. There is no reason why you cannot do it also.
Begin today by building a relationship with the people around you based on prayer and intercession in the presence of God. Have fellowship in communion together with them in the presence of God, the Father. Your transformation together in God’s presence will change the world around you all.
ABRAHAM ADEYEYE
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