In 1985 the Holy Spirit communicated a most unusual thought. In the midst of all the time and energy believers spend working in the Kingdom, God Himself was left feeling neglected. This is not to say that He wants us to stop working, or that the work is not important to Him. Not at all! Beyond any wider spiritual implications, of which no doubt there are many…God has feelings. For the next five years this insight remained somewhere in my inner consciousness. In 1990 I met three others that had come to this very same understanding. Our burden was simply to bless the Lord. Not just to declare how much we loved and appreciated Him, but also to respond to His heart. We asked Him how we might prepare a space in which He would be comfortable. We asked what would give the time an eternal quality. We asked what things we did, even that we were not aware of, that were contrary to the ways His Spirit. A number of specific things came to mind which we took as guidelines. For six months we met once a week for five hours. We thought of that time as being alone with God together. It was truly an amazing experience. Looking back, it is almost hard to believe that every time, twenty-six weeks in a row, the Holy Spirit visited us in such a tangible way that we could hardly move or speak.
Following is an outline of the thoughts and perceptions that we used as the framework for the time together.
If God were visibly in the room —
- All attention would be fixed on Him;
- There would essentially be no horizontal communication;
- We would not turn and talk to one another;
- No one would tell anyone else what to do;
- We would not pray for one another;
- No one would get up and “thank the Lord” for being with us;
- No one would get up and say, “Isn’t God wonderful?”;
- No one would sing about God.
When we are alone with God —
- If we want to read a scripture, we do not cite chapter and verse;
- If we want to sing…we just sing;
- We are free to do whatever we feel motivated to do;
- It’s not a “silent” time…but silence is fine;
- We do not talk about God…only to Him.
In eternity —
- There are no more needs to pray for…all is finished;
- There is nothing we need ask for;
- The atmosphere is like the sea of glass before the Throne.
- There is no sense of separation between God and us.
Worship in Spirit and Truth —
- Worship is the response to who He is and what He has already done;
- It is not something we do to get something;
- We do not expect anything from God;
- We accept that He has already given everything;
- We relate to Him from a place of fullness;
- We offer ourselves…not a gift…not a prayer…not a thing;
- We are there for whatever He wants — to be used, touched, spoken to…or not;
- We are as living sacrifices (Rom.12:1-2);
- We are poured out…even wasted (Matt. 26:6-13);
- The time is meaningful — even more so — if nothing happens.
Others in the room add an important dimension-
A high point of King David’s life was when he returned the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem. His expression of worship at that time, his dancing in particular, is an example that speaks to us about true worship. In that moment, in the midst of the whole nation, he was alone with God. To be alone with God in the presence of others builds and proves us in a special way.
Come before the Lord with-
no needs…no agenda…no requests…no questions…no expectations…no human leadership…as children with our Father.
The outworking of this vision requires-
- No administration;
- No leader;
- No special giftings…teacher, worship leader etc.;
- No special facility;
- No special time slot…its up to each group.
We’d suggest that an individual or couple find another two, three, or four people they are already comfortable with and together choose a convenient time for all. A normal living room is quite fine. Commit to being undistracted for a minimum of two hours.
This simple act will-
- It will give God a “landing strip”;
- It will increase our intimacy with God and each other;
- It will change the spiritual atmosphere;
- It will build transparency and emotional integrity in the Body;
- It will train us to listen to and to hear the Lord;
- It will be a moment of living sacrifice;
- It will create intimate cells…ideal to receive the harvest.
When the Holy Spirit was first poured out on Shavuot, two conditions or dynamics were present. They had been waiting without plan or agenda and they came to the place of being of one heart. I believe we can relate to these elements as defining the environment necessary for God to be fully released in our midst.
The disciples were instructed to wait until something happened that they would recognize as the thing they were waiting for. Giving themselves to wait without agenda, without plan or program, without a designated leader, and without knowing for how long, was and is a part of preparing the way for the Lord. For most of us, it is practically impossible, given life as it is, to enter into a room and not come out “until”. But something of the essence of the principle can be achieved by anyone and everyone. The key is having an open (eternal) end…however that is defined. I believe that committing to meet once a week, or even once a month will accomplish something to that end. Eternity is God’s dwelling place. Recognizing this and giving ourselves in such a way is to reach out to Him.
Being in one accord-
They had spent ten days coming to the place where everyone was clear with everyone else and everyone knew it. No one had anything hidden in his or her heart about anyone else. How sensitive is the Father to His children honoring one another! These small groups are a forum where we can come into that place. To reach this goal of opening our hearts to one another, the groups really need to be small. Consider how this simple thing might affect the state of the Body and prepare the way of the Lord! God’s Presence cannot abide where we His children do not love, honor, and receive one another from the depths of our hearts. Perhaps, if we can learn to open our hearts with a few, we will be able to open our hearts to the many.
A Closing Thought-
We don’t really need a special sign to know that the world is about to experience a dramatic shift…sooner rather than later. What is coming will be so very different from anything we’ve known. Does it seem logical or even possible that continuing to do what we have been doing will truly prepare us for the days ahead? The Prophet Daniel alludes to the difficulties and tribulations of the very hour we are approaching and says, “The people who know their God shall be strong and carry out great exploits.” (11:32)