Category Archives: Presence of God
It has been on my heart recently to host a “God Gathering” – a place where people can gather to seek the Lord. In the old days, people referred to this as “tarrying in the presence of the Lord”. It’s not exactly a prayer meeting – I’m not sure what to call it so I call it a “God Gathering”. 🙂
I have hosted many of these over the years and it occurred to me last night that there may be someone who doesn’t know how to do this so here’s how I do it – in case it might inspire someone else to host a God Gathering of their own!
- Make sure you are hosting the God Gathering for the right reasons. The Holy Spirit is usually the one who initiates the invitation by putting it on my heart to host one. You do not want to do this just because you feel like it – it won’t work. I had a friend call me one time and ask me to host one for her. I had a feeling she was motivated by emotion more than by the Spirit because she seemed upset and hosting the meeting was a reaction to her emotional turmoil. She contacted a bunch of people and twelve of them said they would come. I prepared for it, but I had this sense that this was an empty endeavor. Sure enough, the day for the meeting arrived and she was the only one who showed up. We sat together, quietly talking. When it became obvious that no one else was coming (not even other spiritual leaders, pastors, etc. that had promised to come), I told her I had a sense that it just wasn’t the right time. She agreed and went home. This was a clear object lesson for me – don’t be tempted to do this on your own. Wait for His timing.
- Prepare the environment. I usually do this by cleaning the room where we will be meeting and playing some soaking music softly in the background. I often do this a few days before and just let the music keep playing. My brother used to tell me he could tell the angels liked it when he left the soaking music on. I’m not aware of that but it does help your mind to focus on the Lord every time you hear the music. Some suggestions for soaking music are here.
- Send out an invitation and make sure people are clear on why you are hosting this meeting. You want to make sure that the people who are coming are sincerely wanting to connect with the Lord. This is not just a social gathering. If parents ask, I don’t usually include young children because it’s hard for them to sit still (though I have seen some children who really like these kinds of meetings, but it is rare). You want an environment with no distractions.
- Prepare the spiritual environment. Once the people have gathered and greeted each other, I turn down the lighting to signal that it’s time to begin. Then I pray some specific prayers to prepare the spiritual environment and our hearts for an encounter with Jesus.
- Pray over the room, asking the Lord to wash it and commanding everything else to leave. For example, “Lord, thank You for meeting with us. We are here for You. Would You please wash off this room and remove anything that does not belong here? No spirits of the enemy are allowed to stay here – leave now, in Jesus’ name.”
- Pray over the people, asking the Lord to wash us off and remove any distractions from hindering our time with Him. For example, “Lord, I ask that You wash us off from all that we’ve picked up today. Would You please draw us close to You? Open our hearts and minds to hear from You. Please remove any distracting influences during our time together.”
- Invite the Holy Spirit to come. Yes, the Lord is already there, but there’s something about this step that prepares YOU to hear from Him. For example, “Holy Spirit, we invite You to come. You are welcome in this place. Please increase our awareness of Your presence.” There’s a difference between the omnipresence of God and the tangible manifest presence of God. We are seeking His manifest presence.
- Invite Wisdom and Revelation. For example, “Wisdom and Revelation, come. We welcome you. We invite you to speak to us and show us God’s glory and goodness.” I don’t know how this works, but I know that when I do this it shifts the atmosphere. Some say these are specific angels that are released to minister – others say these are aspects of the Spirit of the Lord. Either way, you are welcoming them to reveal the Lord’s goodness and glory. I don’t have to understand it for it to work (like electricity, right?). Childlike faith is simple and powerful.
- Wait expectantly. At this point, I often turn the music up just a little bit so we can hear it and drown out any other sounds. It helps us to focus without distraction. Often the presence of the Lord has been building with each prayer of invitation spoken so now we just enjoy Him. I often find a smile bursting on my face because He’s HERE in such a tangible way – I am so happy to be with Him. Sometimes I whisper my love and worship to Him – trying not to distract anyone, but at the same time honoring who He is to me. Others may also whisper their love and worship. 🙂 Some people sit, some lay down on the floor, some kneel – each one is free to do whatever feels comfortable for them. (I have tile floors so when I host these, I often put big cushions on the floor and some fluffy throw rugs for people to lay on, if they want to.) Sometimes people pace at the end of the room – that’s okay too. It’s important for each person to be free to be themselves. I also make sure there is paper and pens on the coffee tables in case anyone needs to write what the Lord is saying to them, especially if they wish to give it to someone else.
- Receive from His presence. Just being together in God’s presence is incredibly refreshing and healing. We often just sit quietly and soak up His presence. No one is moving or talking – just being together. Letting God be God.
- Ask people to share. After a time of waiting on God, I will often feel prompted to lower the music a little bit and then I ask, “Would anyone like to share what the Lord is showing them?” One by one people share what the Lord shared with them – it could be a Scripture verse, a new insight into His goodness and care, a word, a song or a vision. Scripture says, “When you gather for worship, each one of you be prepared with something that will be useful for all: Sing a hymn, teach a lesson, tell a story, lead a prayer, provide an insight. Take your turn, no one person taking over. Then each speaker gets a chance to say something special from God, and you all learn from each other.” I Corinthians 14 The Message.
- Respond to each thing that is shared. This is really important and some people miss this. Pay attention to what the Lord is saying through each person who shares. Acknowledge what has been shared (thank the person) and then ask the Lord if there’s anything that needs to be done. I am often doing this internally while the person shares, asking the Lord to direct us. Sometimes it is obvious – perhaps something the person shares relates to a current event that needs to be prayed for. Ask that person to lead in prayer, others can join in after they pray. Usually the person who gets the insight or revelation has the authority to pray it out. If someone gets a word of knowledge or word of wisdom for an individual in the meeting, they should offer to minister to that person. Maybe they need prayer – but don’t force it. Ask them first. Sometimes it is not obvious right away what the Lord is saying but after 2-3 people share, you might see a theme emerging that guides you. Ask the Holy Spirit – in fact, I often just stop everything and say out loud, “Holy Spirit, what do You want us to do with this?” and we all just wait. If you don’t hear or sense anything, then just move to the next person who wants to share.
- Pray for each other. After everyone has had a chance to share what the Lord showed them, ask if anyone needs prayer. If there are many needs and time is running out, break up into pairs or groups of three and pray for each other. This is so important – we have no idea how much the people around us are in need until we ask. Asking for prayer requests tends to open people up like nothing else does – this is often the most precious part of these gatherings as people feel safe enough to be vulnerable and transparent about their pain and struggles. This is the body of Christ loving on one another – first we love God and receive His love, then we love one another. ❤
- Close in prayer. You’d think you could skip this step since so much prayer has been going on all night, right? But there’s something about “closing” that feels right. For example, “Lord, thank You so much for meeting with us tonight. We enjoy Your presence so much! Thank You for all You did tonight. We ask that You seal these prayers and all that happened here. We love You.”
I have not encountered too many church meetings that follow this format. But every time I follow it, the Lord comes powerfully and everyone leaves very happy, refreshed and blessed.
I wonder if you could do this virtually. Could you have an online God Gathering using video chat? What do you think? Would it work?
Is there anything you do that helps you and your friends connect with God? Please feel free to share it. I love new ideas!
Rating: Educational, inspirational, pleasant
Lately it seems that the topic of Spiritual Soaking has been coming up a lot. Do you know what that is?
During the movement called the Toronto Blessing (back in the 1990’s), the Lord showed John and Carol Arnott that they needed to learn how to simple sit in God’s presence and “soak”. Imagine taking a warm bath – you fill the tub with warm water, add some essential oils or bubble bath to make it smell nice and then you slowly get in. You don’t jump in, immerse yourself in the water and then jump out. The point of taking a bath is to relax, soak in the warm water, let your muscles rest and your soul unwind. You breathe in the scent of the fragrant oils and just BE. There’s no rushing – the point is to soak until you feel relaxed and at peace.
The Lord taught many people how to soak and it changed their lives. The movement started in Toronto and it spread around the world.
Here’s how I do it – I often do this alone, but I have also invited people over to my house for “soaking sessions”.
First I prepare the environment where I will be soaking. I pick a quiet room in the house. I remove all distractions (i.e. turn off cell phones, televisions, etc. and notify family that I don’t want to be disturbed for a while). I close the blinds or turn down the lights so that there are no bright lights in my eyes. I put on something comfortable – sweats and a t-shirt or shorts.
Next I choose some “soaking music”. There are many musicians that specialize in soaking music. Some of my favorite are
Julie True – Spirit to Spirit is my favorite right now
Alberto and Kimberly Rivera – they have many soaking albums, most are “live” albums
Laura Rhinehart – her music is “deep” water
Then I sit in a comfortable chair or lay down. I close my eyes and let myself relax. It usually takes a while to get my mind to settle down. I take several deep breaths slowly and try to quiet my thoughts. Then I just let myself BE. I just sit there. I don’t specifically pray or worship. I am just waiting in the presence of God – I open my heart to Him. Often I will begin to feel the presence of God around me. The soaking music is uniquely crafted to help you “tune in” to God. I focus on God’s Presence. Just like being with another person – I focus on HIM and not me. 🙂 I often ask Him to increase my awareness of His presence and He does.
It is very relaxing and it restores my soul when I soak. I highly recommend it.
It’s okay if you fall asleep – it’s the intention that matters. 🙂
I was describing to a friend recently the experience of the presence of God. It is hard to describe in words of the natural realm. “Many people want to experience God’s presence,” she said, “but they don’t know how. You should share this.”
As I pondered how to teach someone the very first step toward becoming aware of the presence of God, this exercise came to me. I hope it helps you take your first step toward a deeper relationship with God.
Close your eyes and take a deep breath slowly. Imagine the Spirit of God filling you as you breathe in. Hold your breath and count to five mentally. Let the breath out as you say, “Thank you, Jesus.”
Set a timer on your cell phone for one minute. Do the breathing exercise. You can use different phrases like, “I love you, Jesus” or “You’re wonderful, Jesus” if you want to add variety.
Notice how you feel after doing this exercise. I feel relaxed, at peace and I have mental clarity.
Start by doing this exercise once a day.
Once it feels comfortable doing this for one minute every day, set the timer for three minutes.
You’ll notice an even greater peace and clarity of mind. You may begin to become aware of God’s presence.
Don’t start with three minutes if you have never done this before. Start with one minute. I know some of you want to skip ahead, but trust me on this. Take baby steps – this is a lifetime practice, not a quick fix. Taking it slowly now will payoff very well later. I promise!
Keep doing it every day. You can do this more than once a day, if you wish. It can be particularly helpful to do this while sitting in traffic, to reduce your stress (but keep your eyes open please).
After awhile you will look forward to your special time with God each day. That’s when you can stop using the timer. Spend as much time as you want. The more you do this, the more likely you will become aware of God’s presence.
Don’t give up. Let your desire for God draw you to this time. If you lack desire, then when you breathe out say, “Draw me, Lord.”
What is God’s presence like? Some people sense a presence (or energy) of love or of peace. Others sense companionship – like someone is there with them and they are no longer alone. You’ll know when it happens to you – it’s personal and unique. ♥
Once you become aware of God’s presence, you can do the breathing exercise longer, if you wish. It can help you stay focused on Him. You can share your thoughts and feelings with God. Or you may enjoy practicing Listening Prayer, another exercise to help you connect with God. [I’ll post a description on this blog later, but for now you can Google “Listening Prayer” if you want to learn more.]
Let me know what you experience when you try this exercise. It’s so simple, yet it has profound effects.
Learn to be familiar with the realm of the Spirit.
Learn to be familiar with this realm that you came from.
Learn to be familiar with the supernatural
‘Cause heaven … Heaven is movin’ in.
Don’t be surprised when you have angelic encounters.
Don’t be surprised if you should see the living creatures.
Oh, learn to be familiar with the realm of the Spirit.
Oh, learn to be familiar with this realm that you came from.
Song: Heaven is Movin’ In, Messengers of Fire album by Joann McFatter, Steve Mitchell and Steve Swanson
This album is AMAZING!!! When I play it, I literally feel the “shift” in my living room. I wish this song was on YouTube – I’d give you the link so you could feel it yourself. The album was recorded live at a worship conference – wow, you can really get a taste for what the participants at that conference must have experienced. It is off the charts!
This is my favorite song from the album – it just resonates with me. The entire album is worth every penny. You can download it from JoAnn McFatter’s site here: http://joannmcfatter.com/messengers-of-fire/
Here’s the CD description: Recorded at the Deep Unto Deep worship weekend at Suncoast Worship Center, “Messengers of Fire” captures a visitation from the King. The Lord revealed His heart and His will in a fresh way. This unique CD features a totally spontaneous journey into undiscovered territory. Listen as you hear the King arriving with His heavenly procession. Hear angelic hosts entering the room with an impartation of holy fire! The whole church was caught up in a swirl of glory as He “branded” us with His fire and called us His own! This CD takes you on a journey into the Throne Room and into heavenly realms of God’s Glory! Released 2003
It’s one of those CDs that goes from one song to another without a gap or break between songs. It’s an “experience” – not just a music CD.
Here’s how the song continues – it will raise goose bumps on your arm.
(Marching music begins to build in the background)
Heaven is movin’ in, heaven is movin’ in, heaven is movin’ in
Movin’ in, movin’ in, movin’ in, NOW!
Coming down the mountain – angelic hosts,
Step by step, step by step, step by step – holy invasion!
Coming down, coming down, coming down,
Convergence – supernatural invading the natural!
Heaven is movin’ in, movin’ in, movin’ in,
Following the Captain of the Hosts,
Following divine orders:
Release, release, release!
Time is running out, time is running out, time is running out, time is running out,
time is running out, time is running out, time is running out, time is running out,
time is running out, time is running out, time is running out, time is running out,
time is running out, time is running out, time is running out.
(it flows into the next track, “Contact”)
Watchmen on the walls, what do you see?
Watchmen on the walls, what do you hear?
I hear the sound of a distant thunder; I hear the sound of a distant thunder.
Watchmen, O Watchmen,
Watchmen, O Watchmen,
Keep your eyes, keep your eyes, keep your eyes and your ears open.
Watchmen, O Watchmen,
Keep your eyes and your ears open to the call, open to the call of the Spirit.
The time is near, the time is at hand!
The Day of the Lord – The Day of the Lord is at hand!
Are you ready for the holy invasion? How exciting! The Day of the Lord is a fearful thing if you are not ready – both for “believers” and those that don’t believe. It’s time to seek the Lord and pay attention to what your heart is telling you.
I’m think I’m ready. Are you?
“He meant us to see Him and live with Him and draw our life from His smile.” – A. W Tozer, The Pursuit of God, Chapter 3
I read this back in 1990 and was blown away. My heart “knew” this statement was true, but I didn’t know anyone who knew God like this. Not a soul. At the time, I was surrounded by the most on-fire Christians I could find. I had just spent two years in Bible College with a bunch of radical students who wanted nothing more than to give their lives for Jesus, going anywhere He wanted them to go. Then I joined a youth organization known for its mission work around the globe. I had just arrived at a new base that was birthed out of one man’s passion to see revival brought to America.
Yet this simple statement seemed incredulous to me. If this was true, if this man experienced God that way, then why didn’t I know anyone else who had? If this was possible, why oh why, didn’t everyone walk with God like this?!
I became determined that THIS would be my life. That I would “find” God like this as though my life depended on it. Because in my heart, I knew it did.
“To have found God and still to pursue Him is the soul’s paradox of love, scorned indeed by the too-easily- satisfied religionist, but justified in happy experience by the children of the burning heart.” – A. W Tozer, The Pursuit of God, Chapter 1
The “children of the burning heart” – that described me perfectly.
& & & & & & & & & & & & & & & &
I am happy to say that NOW – I do experience life with Him like that. I DO see Him, live with Him and draw my life from His smile… Every. Single. Day. It really IS possible – even for you. Peter, one of the followers of Jesus said, “God is no respecter of persons” (Acts 10:34, The Bible). That means ANYONE can come to Him and “see” Him. Whosoever will … may come to Him because He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6, The Bible).
So, what does that mean? Elsewhere I have written about the 5 senses we have in our spirit or soul. We can use these 5 (or 6) senses to interact with Him, to “see” Him in our daily experience. Jesus used these senses. Here’s some examples:
“Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.” (John 5:19, The Bible)
“When He saw their faith, He said to him, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.” (Luke 5:20, The Bible)
“I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.” (John 5:30, The Bible)
“And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, He answered and said to them, “Why are you reasoning in your hearts? Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise up and walk’?” (Luke 5:21-23, The Bible)
“Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.” (Matthew 4:11, The Bible)
Jesus not only interacted with God in the unseen realm, He also interacted with the devil and with angels. And he could perceive other people’s thoughts. He showed us what was possible as a son or daughter of God.
It’s not “out there” – it’s right here, in our midst.
“A spiritual kingdom lies all about us, enclosing us, embracing us, altogether within reach of our inner selves, waiting for us to recognize it. God Himself is here waiting our response to His Presence. This eternal world will come alive to us the moment we begin to reckon upon its reality.” – A. W Tozer, The Pursuit of God, Chapter 4
Wow! What a statement. This spiritual kingdom is “within reach of our inner selves” – that means we don’t use our outer 5 senses to perceive it. We use our “inner” 5 (or 6) senses. It is “waiting for us to recognize it” and “God Himself is here waiting” – doesn’t that make you want to stop what you are doing and look for it? It makes me excited just thinking about it.
We can actually learn to interact with the unseen realm on a daily basis. I’ve proven it in my own life by actually DOING it. I love that last line above “This eternal world will come alive to us the moment we begin to reckon upon its reality”. So very, very true. The first step is to “reckon upon its reality” – admit that it exists. Choose to believe what our natural eyes and ears cannot see or hear. That’s the first step – FAITH.
But this is not “blind” faith, meaning that you just believe with no proof whatsoever. I promise you, that if you will step out and “reckon upon its reality”, you will get plenty of proof – over and over and over. I experience this every day. Jesus experienced it in His lifetime on earth. YOU can experience it too.
Just step out .. play the “what if” game. What if that spiritual kingdom really was all around me? What if God is real and He can speak to me? What if I really do have the capacity to live with Him and draw my life from His smile? What if it’s really real?
One of my friends started using this catchphrase “The Kindgom is Real!” Whenever we encountered the unseen realm and chose to believe, we were rewarded (remember He rewards those who diligently seek Him?). Then she would say, “The Kindgom is Real!” Saying something out loud repeatedly helps your cynical mind accept reality. It grounds it in your experience.
“So, how do I do this?” you may be asking. The first step is to believe you CAN do it. That God is eagerly waiting for you to find Him.
Then set aside time every day, throughout your day, to pay attention. Ask God to reveal Himself to you and then notice what happens. Spend time sitting quietly, focusing on the fact that there IS a spiritual kingdom all around you. Look around in nature and see the beauty of God reflected in His creation. Thank Him for that beauty and ask Him to open your eyes to see more.
We all have these spiritual senses – it’s part of who we are as human beings. What I’ve learned is that the more you pay attention to something, the more it grows. The more I choose to stop and focus on the fact that God is with me right now, the more aware I become of Him. It becomes a habit, a pattern, a familiar experience – in short, it becomes “normal” to feel God’s presence. The more you do it, the more natural it feels.
One word of caution – God rewards those who diligently seek HIM. I have seen people get into some pretty weird stuff when they tried to seek other spiritual phenomenon – like communicating with angels, seeking a spirit guide or contacting the dead. Don’t go there – it’s dangerous. It starts to mess with your mind in a way that’s hard for you to perceive, but everyone else can see it. It muddies your thinking – that’s the best way I can describe it. Stick to seeking GOD in this unseen realm and everything else will fall into place. God is what your heart is longing for – trust me. When you find HIM, you find everything you’ve ever been looking for.
“…in Him we shall find that for which we have all our lives been secretly longing.” – A. W Tozer, The Pursuit of God, Chapter 1
Please feel free to share your story of seeing God or experiencing Him and His kingdom. I love to hear “God stories” – you can post it below, if you’d like.
A.W. Tozer’s book online – Free 🙂 Read it – your heart will thank you! ♥
Abraham said, “The Lord, in Whose presence I walk …” [Genesis 24:40]
“There’s a difference between living in the Omnipresence of God and living in the Manifest Presence of God.” – Alyn Jones, Grace Center, Franklin, TN
We all live in the Omnipresence of God – God is everywhere. We can acknowledge that and live in that knowledge.
But there is a place of living in the Manifest Presence of God – where you KNOW HE IS THERE, right there where you are. You are tangibly aware of His presence. It’s amazing – it’s life-giving, it’s comforting, it’s fullness of joy.
You can know this place – you can walk with God like this. It’s not impossible. Truly.
Walk with Him and obey Him. What is He telling YOU to do? Do that. Just that and nothing else. Don’t try to EARN your way into His Manifest Presence. Just obey with all your heart the last thing He told you to do. Be faithful.
Cultivate an awareness of His Presence. I’ve spent my life chasing after Him and I am happy to report that I now live in His Manifest Presence. Every day. Every morning I wake up aware of His Presence. If I wake up feeling foggy, then I speak to Him until my mind clears and I am again aware of His presence. I don’t leave my bed until I do.
Just do it – you won’t regret it. Make yourself aware of His Presence. Talk to Him as though He is really RIGHT THERE with you. Because He is. You just don’t realize it. 🙂
“Our believing produces our receiving.” – Alyn Jones
Can you imagine what it would look like to live in God’s Manifest Presence 24/7? Imagine the peace of knowing all your steps are ordered – never feeling rushed or worried. Being sure that all that you need will be provided when you need it – just like the sparrows.
Can you believe and can you trust enough to actually receive this in your heart?
That is the question.
When I woke up this morning, I felt the presence of God in my room. It was a soft feeling – like a warm cloud of love and attention. I was alone in the room. I became aware of it even before I opened my eyes. It was almost as if it was this presence that awakened me. Like God wanted me to wake up so I could enjoy His presence and spend some time with Him.
How cool is that?! 🙂
Have you ever experienced that presence? Some people say they have experienced the “awe” of God when looking at the majesty of the mountains. Some have told me they feel the “peace” of God when walking deep in the forest with no other human beings nearby.
For some reason, it is easier to experience the presence of God when you are alone, I think. For me, I become more aware of it when I’m alone. If my husband had been in the room this morning, my attention might have been on him when I awakened. But since I was alone, the only thing I was aware of was this cloud of Love. It was sooo cool.
There was a time in my life when I really, really wanted to experience the presence of God. It seemed like such a struggle to tune everything else out and just feel His nearness. But then something changed in me a few years ago and now I feel His presence almost every day. It’s absolutely wonderful.
I remember one time I visited a very large historic church in Europe. The stillness inside this huge monument had a feeling to it – I’m not sure how to describe it. Kind of like a deep peacefulness. I sat down and soaked up this feeling for a few minutes. But that feeling does not compare with the close, personal feeling of God’s presence that I had when I woke up this morning.
I thought of this scripture verse, “When I awake, I am still with You.” Psalm 139:18
It is the culmination of a meditation about God’s Presence that starts with these words:
“Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.” (139:7-8)
So, if God’s Spirit is everywhere, then why do I notice it more at some times than at other times?
I think because He wants me to know He is there. And maybe first thing in the morning there is nothing competing for my attention – so it’s easier for me to notice His presence. At other times, I might feel it but in the busyness of life, I don’t always take the time to pay attention, slow down and acknowledge Him. I’d like to pay attention more because His presence is really wonderful, you know? 🙂
What do you think? When do YOU notice the presence of God?