by Julia Bruce
CEO & Keynote speaker
People in the Bible who sought God’s presence and found Revival
If America is to see a revival, we – Christians – need to be on our knees seeking the face of God, longing to be in His presence. To seek God’s face, is to seek His presence. Can you imagine being in God’s presence? Take a few moments and think about the following people in the Bible who experienced the presence of God. Put yourself in their shoes and try to image what their encounter with God would have been like.
Experiencing God in the Old Testament
- Adam and Eve walked in the cool of the evening with God in the garden.
- The Lord came to Abraham and made him a promise that he would be the father of many nations. On another occasion, the Lord visited Abraham to tell him what His plans were for Sodom and Gomorrah.
- Hagar experienced Him in a desert when she and her son were banished from the family and out of water in the desert.
- Moses experience the presence of God at the burning bush. When Moses was in the presence of God on the mountain for 40 days, he came back with his face shining so brightly that they had to put a covering over him.
- The nation of Israel experienced him as a pillar of fire by night and cloud by day that guided them through the desert. Even after rebelling, God was with them through 40 years of wandering in the desert and their clothes and shoes never wore out. They always had food and water.
- Ezekiel had visions of heaven and the throne room of God.
- Daniel experienced the presence of the Lord in the lion’s den. Jonah sought His presence from the belly of a great fish.
- God picked up Elijah in a chariot of fire and took him to heaven.
- God came to Elisha in a still small voice when Elisha was down, depressed, and burnt out.
Experiencing God in the New Testament
- While Jesus was on earth, Mary (his mother) experienced Him as she cradled Him in her arms, watched him grow up, and gazed on Him as He hung on a cross.
- The disciples experienced Him as they followed Him.
- The Woman at the Well experienced Him as Living Water.
- Mary Magdalene experienced Him as her deliverer from demons.
- Lazarus experienced Him from inside a tomb.
- His sister, Mary, sat at His feet.
- The blind saw. The lame walked. The sick were healed.
- Multitudes experienced Him as he feed 5000 with just 5 loaves of bread and 2 small fish.
- The thief on the cross experienced Him in the last moments of his life and is now spending eternity in heaven with Jesus.
- Paul experienced the Lord’s presence on the road to Damascus.
- John was given great visions of heaven while exiled to the Island of Patmos.
Over and over again we see the Bible filled people who experienced the presence of God. Each time, they came away from the experience a different person. That’s what happens where there is a revival. We come into the presence of God and become a new creations! What would it be like today if God’s people truly sought for and experienced His presence? We’d see the revival our nation so desperately needs.
Why are we to seek His face?
More than anything else, God wants us to want to spend time with Him. It is there in His presence that we find love, joy, peace, gentleness – and all the other fruits of the Spirit. It’s in His presence where we discover how he wants us to live. It is in His presence where we can humbly fall on our knees in repentance when sin creeps in. Seeking God is to get to know Him and we get to know Him through His Word. That is where we discover His character, His commandments, His instructions for how we should live.
Jeremiah 29:13 tells us that we will find Him when we seek Him with all our heart. If you feel that you’ve been searching for God but having difficulty finding him, are you search with all your heart? You can’t have your feet planted in the world and your heart seeking God. You’ve got to be all in and searching with all you are – then you will find Him.
Longing for His presence and longing for revival
Read the word of the Psalmist in Psalm 63:1-3: “O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. So I have looked upon in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory. Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.” It is impossible to be in the presence of God without experiencing a revival. And once you’ve been in his presence you should have a sense of earnestly seeking him to be there again and again and again. Is your soul thirsty? Jesus is the Living Water and He has a divine appointment with you just like the woman at the well.
How do we seek God’s presence?
There are three basic ways we can seek Him. We can seek Him through His Word where we learn about His character and His instructions to us. We can seek Him through prayer to spend time with him and learn to recognize His voice for when He speaks to us. And we can seek Him through worship. When we truly worship Him, we feel His presence. Mary (Martha’s sister) sought the presence of Jesus and sat at His feet and listened to Him. What would it be like to sit at the feet of Jesus?!
Sometimes, to understand what something is, we need to know what it is not. Seeking God’s presence isn’t about coming to Him with our long list of wants and needs. Certainly, we need to bring these before God, but seeking His presence is different. We need to approach Him to experience and learn about His love for us out of our own love for Him. We seek Him when we truly want to know who He is and learn about Him. Seeking the presence of God is about wanting to know Him more than we want anything else. Seeking Him is experiencing a revival in your own heart.
In God’s presence, we find revival
When we seek God with all our hearts, we find Him showing up in our lives. We experience His blessing and favor. We bask in His love for us. He extends grace and forgiveness to us. We see His holiness and glory. The more time we spend in His presence, the more we reflect His character in our own lives. In His presence, we find revival for our souls.
Take a few moments right now and just close your eyes. Think about the various people in the Bible who experience God’s presence. Envision what it must have been like for them. Then envision yourself in a garden and in the cool of the day, God comes walking to you. As you sit together in the grass next to a stream, what do you talk about? What do you ask Him in order to get to know Him better? What do you need to confess to Him and seek His forgiveness? Imagine His tender, everlasting love and mercy for you. Imagine what it would be like to experience a revival as you sat in the presence of God. Then take a few moment and write in a journal what this experience was like.
Today’s Revival prayer:
Father, how we long to experience your presence in our lives. We can be so guilty and want you to show up in your power and glory in our lives, but we don’t bother to show up in your presence. Fill us with a burning desire to seek your presence, to want to know you more than we’ve ever wanted anything.
Father, I also come to you interceding on behalf of all the people who are called by your name. Give your people a true desire to seek You with all their heart. Cause us to long for you as a deer longs for streams of water in a dry and weary land.
We also intercede on behalf of our nation. God give our politicians and government leaders a irresistible longing to know You. Call each one by name and draw them to you.
Father, we are here. The people called by Your name. Today, we come to You seeking Your presence. We desire to know You more than we desire anything else. Show us who You are. Teach us Your ways. How we long to just sit at Your feet and worship You. We long to discover You in Your Word. We long to recognize and hear Your voice. As we kneel before, bring us into your holy presence.
In the name of Jesus, Amen.
“The coming revival must begin with a great prayer revival. It is in the closet, with the door shut, that the sound of abundant revival will be first heard. An increase in the secret prayer of ministers and members will be the sure herald of blessing.”Andrew Murray
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