I love the privilege of spending time with God—the more the better. Being still before Him is an often-underrated activity by those of us who like to accomplish and achieve things in prayer for the King and His kingdom.
This is how it looks for me. Sometimes I'll take just a few minutes in the middle of the workday for His pleasure. I get before the Lord and say something to this effect, "God I'm here, but I'm not going to ask for anything or perform in any way for You. I'm just going to sit here simply as an object of Your love and let You love me."
This is a big deal for me, because my usual prayer time is about 75 percent worship and 25 percent petition. Not doing stuff is sometimes hard. Sometimes when I enter that place of rest I get a picture of Him pouring a honey-colored oil all over me as a symbol of His love. It's an overwhelming picture of drowning in His love. Something wonderful begins to happen as He awakens every part of my life to His presence.
David said, "O God, You are my God; early will I seek You" (Ps. 63:1). Think about this—before it was possible to be born again through the blood of Jesus, David said that His body actually hungered for God. It is possible to be so drenched in the glory of God through a lifestyle of worship that our bodies discover one of the great purposes for which they were created. We were born to live in the glory of God. Whether it is five minutes or five hours, taking the time with God outside of the need for Christian performance is one of the most important decisions we can make.
When I sit before the Lord for this time of inactivity, I often remember things that must be done or ideas that will be good for my life or ministry. In my younger years, I thought that this was always the devil trying to distract me from my time with God. But as I get older I realize that God is merely showing me that He is concerned about whatever concerns me. Time with Him releases a creativity that is paramount to fulfilling our assignment in life.
I now bring a pen and pencil with me into that time with God. As ideas come I give thanks to God and write them down. By doing so I don't have to try to remember what God has said, but I can return my attention to Him. Not having the pressure to remember details releases us into a creative process.
In this kind of prayer time, I don't go before Him to get answers and directions. I am there simply to experience His love. But I have found that in that place of communion and love it is His pleasure to give revelation that satisfies our hearts. I just don't want anything to become the chariot that pulls me away from my opportunity to delight myself in the Lord. So I receive what He's giving me and I then turn my attention back to the Giver Himself.
The center of the Christian life is passion for God, and it is this passion that defines the boundaries of our lives. Self-control is the by-product of living in covenant with God. To demonstrate the character trait of true self-control, one must be able to illustrate what it looks like to live in perfect harmony with the values of the Spirit of God. We also show self-control in the way we protect our connection with God from other influences that would distract and dissuade us.
But self-control is not only the ability to say no to all the options and voices that are contrary to the values of the kingdom of God. It is also the ability to say yes to something so completely that all other voices and values are silenced. Jesus demonstrated this best of all. He set His face to go to Jerusalem and die. Nothing could distract Him from His purpose.
The same challenge is yours: Set your face toward His purposes and you will experience the greatest privilege known to humanity. Set your face, and you'll see His face.
Adapted from Face to Face with God by Bill Johnson, copyright 2007 and 2015, published by Charisma House. We all want to be part of something bigger than ourselves, to know that God loves us and has a plan for our lives. What better way to find out than to stand daily in His presence and ask? In this expanded edition the author offers questions for reflection and prayers at the end of each chapter that will help you in your quest. To order your copy, here.
Prayer Power for the Week of June 22, 2015
This week set yourself to surrender every aspect of your life to God, and ask Him to infuse you with His Holy Spirit and cause you to bear His fruit, especially the fruit of self-control. Ask for the ability to turn away from any distraction that would take you away from seeking His face. Continue to pray for those victimized by recent storms, floods, drought and violence in each of its forms. Remember those serving on mission fields as well as battlefields. Begin now to pray about upcoming elections and continue to call on the Lord for revival and restoration of our biblical values and foundations throughout the land. Pray that the church would unite in prayer and purpose for the cause of Christ (Ps. 63:1; 2 Chr. 7:14).