If you’re a parent you know what it’s like to have your toddler run to you when they became afraid or anxious. They would lift their arms for you to pick them up, grab you around the neck, and hold on for dear life. Your presence could make bad dogs, crowds of people, thunder, or anything else scary suddenly be OK. In your arms monsters could disappear, boo-boos become all better, and little wounded spirits would be healed.
That’s what the safety in God’s presence can do for you.
We live in a world where bad stuff happens. Bad people do bad things. Natural disasters and trouble with job, marriage, or money are common. People get sick and sometimes die. Our homes, our church, our nation, our world are under frequent if not constant attack. We’re often left with a sense that so much is out of our control. It’s no wonder we feel overwhelmed and bombarded.
It’s good to know that like a child, we can run into our Father’s arms and find peace, healing, safety, and so much more. “The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.” (Deuteronomy 33:27)
Worship is the way you get there.
Worship is different than praise. While praise it vitally important, worship is deeper and more intimate. Praise stirs up the soul, and is often directed outward, telling others how great God is. Worship stills the soul, and is directed toward God alone. (Psalm 46:10)
In worship the posture of your soul is like that of John when he saw in person the risen ascended glorified Jesus. John did not express excitement, leap with joy, and rush to gather others around. Instead, “When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead.” (Revelation 1:17)
In true worship you lose sight of anyone and anything else. You forget your surroundings and your troubles, and time has no meaning. All your senses are transfixed by the person and presence of Jesus.
When you are truly in His presence fear and anxiety disappear. All striving in spiritual warfare is forgotten. Your wounds are healed, your needs met, your emptiness filled to overflowing, your “dirty” soul is cleansed, your total being transformed into more of His likeness. You cannot remain in His presence and stay the same.
God’s presence is your place of safety. And you enter His presence through worship.
You don’t have to wait for a “worship service” to enter His presence. Whether with others or alone, you can learn to seek, find, and enter His presence any time you need.
3 Ways to Enter God’s Presence through Worship
Worship with Other Believers
Some (not all) worship leaders know how to create an environment where true worship can happen. But music is not worship. You will still have to make the personal choice to enter God’s presence.
In an environment of worship be alert to the pull on your heart to go deeper. Respond to that invitation and follow the Holy Spirit’s lead. Focus your mental attention on Jesus. Regardless of what is going on around you turn your senses to His presence. As you follow that internal invitation you may well lose awareness of what or who is around you. Wonderful feelings may wash over you, but you know it’s more than feelings going on.
Your eyes may be closed, or looking to the sky. Your hands may be raised in surrender or clasped to your heart. You may be standing, kneeling, or perhaps even prostrate before God. But the eyes and ears of your heart are wide open, fixed on Jesus, filled with the reality of Him.
Treasure the opportunities you have to truly worship with other believers. If your church is not skilled in creating such an environment, periodically seek out other events where God’s presence is welcomed and worship is facilitated.
Worship in Nature
Finding time and space away from the artificialness of human noise and architecture can help you experience God in a profound way. And God’s creation can help you enter into worship.
Seek opportunities to be quiet in God’s creation. Look up, really look, at the stars at night. Get by a river, lake, or the ocean and let the water wash through your soul. Listen, really listen, to the birds or the waves or the wind. Watch the leaves in the breeze, the clouds moving across the sky, the force of a summer thunderstorm, the majesty of the mountains.
Letting nature fill up your soul reminds you that you’re small and God’s not. “Who created all these?” (Isaiah 40:26) If He can hold the galaxies in His hand and care for the birds, certainly He can care for you.
Worship in your Own Space
When I’m troubled or empty, I’ve learned to get alone in my “closet.” I may turn on some worship music that I find meaningful and that will quiet my soul. I may read from God’s word. And I train my heart to be sill and focus on His presence. Entering into worship is like a refuge, a safe place, a well that never runs dry.
Entering into God’s presence through worship is a skill you can learn. If you’re troubled begin by pouring out all your “stuff” before Him. Cry, scream, beg, rage if you must. And then let it go. Unload all the junk in your soul and leave it at the door of His throne room. He invites you to enter any time you need. (Hebrews 4:16)
You wouldn’t enter the throne room of an earthly king with frenzied activity or a flurry of noise. And it’s very hard to enter God’s presence without being still. Find your own space and way to quiet your heart. Learn to listen. And He will meet you there.
Remember it’s not you making this happen. You are entering the presence of the Creator of the Universe. He’s asked you to come, and it’s a privilege. Sometimes His presence will simply bless you with a peace and a knowing that He is there. Other times His presence will overwhelm you like an ocean wave. Developing a relationship with Jesus in this way will change you.
And any fear and anxiety you have will be washed away.
When you are troubled, find safety in God’s presence. Wrap your arms around His neck and hold on as if your life depended on it.
Because it does.
Your turn: Have you learned to enter God’s presence through worship? What has helped you do so? Leave a comment below.
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