I created this photo with the idea of capturing a moment when we're aware of God's Presence in a very special way. This moment of connection happens differently for each person-- some hearts are moved by nature and being surrounded by God's beautiful creation, while others experience the Holy Spirit through worship or reading the scriptures.
Recently, I've been thinking about how we sometimes miss out on these encounters for the simple reason that we don't practice longing for them. King David, a man after God's own heart, unashamedly wrote songs of wistful longing as he prayed for encounters with God.
As the deer pants for the water brooks,
So pants my soul for You, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God?
Psalm 42:1, 2
O God, You are my God;
Early will I seek You;
My soul thirsts for You;
My flesh longs for You
In a dry and thirsty land
Where there is no water.
I believe that one mark of a new breed of warriors God is raising up is the deep hunger for the Presence of God-- not simply a desire for signs and wonders, but for God Himself. This holy ache can only be satisfied by God Himself, and nothing else will satisfy other than God showing up and completely having His way in our lives.
In Hebrew, the word for “presence” is the word paw-neem, which means “face.”
This word is translated as both "presence" and "face" in our English Bibles. In Hebrew, to seek God's Presence and to seek His face mean the same thing: when His Presence comes, we make eye-connection with the King of Kings and we have His full attention. It's also interesting to note that to avoid His Presence means avoiding His face. Here's a few scriptural examples:
God promised Moses that His paw-neem would go him and give peace.
Enemies perish at His paw-neem.
Fullness of joy in God's paw-neem.
Justice is decreed for us from the place of paw-neem.
God calls our hearts to seek His paw-neem.
Adam fled from God's paw-neem when he hid in the garden of Eden.
Jonah fled from the paw-neem of the Lord.
Sometimes we may go through seasons where we take God's goodness for granted, like that of an old friend who's somehow obligated to help us, and we don't spend time seeking His face. How much more we could experience if only we cultivated the heart of David who spent time longing for God! This week, may you carve out some time for this type of prayer: to spend time longing for God. I've often prayed, God, I'm asking You to show up! However You want to do it is up to You, but I am waiting and watching for You to come!
Every encounter I've had with God's Presence makes me long for more, even the times when He corrects me and shows me an area where I've gotten off track. Feasting on His Presence is completely satisfying, engaging, and makes me yearn to be like Him and know His ways.
Prayer: Lord, I ask You to place a deep hunger in my heart for more of You. Make me thirsty for encounter, and then meet me with Your Presence, as only You can do.