Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God


26 A Passion for His Presence

Psalm 95: 1-3

1 Come, let us sing to the Lord! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation. 2 Let us come to him with thanksgiving. Let us sing psalms of praise to him. 3 For the Lord is a great God, a great King above all gods.

What is prayer; after we strip everything else away what are we really left with? Psalm 95 reminds us of the heart of prayer when everything is stripped away we are left a simple word, it’s how Psalm 95 begins: “Come…”  God longs for us to come into His presence; He is not concerned with laying down a list of rules and requirements. Instead, John 4:23 tells us that God is seeking worshippers who will adore Him in spirit and in truth. Prayer is:

  • An invitation

What was the last invitation you received? Prayer is an invitation to come into the presence of God, to step into a moment of worship. An invitation is about being included and God sends out an invitation to each of us and He wants us to come without hesitation. You and I are invited into His very presence; it is an invitation to join God, to be with Him. What an amazing thought that the God of the universes has invited us to spend time with Him, to come into His very presence. So often we view prayer as an inconvenience instead of an invitation. We have lost the wonder of His presence in the work.  Where did we go wrong, was it when we traded the relationship for results?  Prayer has become a rush when it was meant to be rest. Are we afraid to relax, to just be instead of to do?

  •  A call to respond

Three times in verses 1 and 2 we read, “Let us…” An invitation requires a response and the truth is that we all end up responding. Some of us respond intentionally and some of us by default. “Let us” implies a desire to join God where He is, to say yes. What is holding you back from accepting the invitation to come to Him? Will you intentionally respond to His invitation, will you fall to your knees before the King? Or will you lay aside the invitation to intimacy? What activity could be more pressing than praising the Provider? Why don’t we respond to the invitation to pray, are we too busy, bothered, blind? What is holding you back?

  • Worship

Worship can be both private and silent and there are times when we worship God quietly in our hearts. Yet there are times when we need to sing out, when our worship is vibrant and vigorous, God longs for us to sing out to Him. We are invited to participate with joyful, grateful praise and to be exuberant in our worship. When did prayer become so reserved? We have been invited to be with the Almighty and if that doesn’t move you what will, golf? Sometimes we see more excited about sports than the Savior. One characteristic note of Old Testament worship is exhilaration, why were they exhilarated, why are we not? What are we missing that they understood? Is it that the praise is not in the prayer but the person? The terms employed here describe activity which seems more appropriate at a major sporting event than a prayer meeting. We are to shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation, to “shout aloud” was something the Israelites did when they were anticipating a battle or celebrating a triumph. Have we lost the sheer joy of celebrating our God, the One who has won the battle for our freedom?  This shout is found in Joshua 6:20, when the Israelites were marching around the walls of Jericho: “When the trumpets sounded, the people shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the people gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed…” It’s also found in 1 Samuel 4:5, where we read about what happened when the Ark of the Covenant was brought into the camp, “…All Israel raised such a great shout that the ground shook.” Is there something about your God that you need to celebrate right now, do you need to stop and give Him a shout out right now?

  •  God-centered.

Prayer and praise is not to just getting emotional or sing loudly for our own sake, our focus should not be on how worship makes us feel. Our worship must be centered on God alone. Notice these first two verses. We are to “sing to the Lord” we are to “shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation” we are to “come to him with thanksgiving” we are to “sing psalms of praise to him” Is your prayer about you or Him? David danced and shouted, but he did it “before the Lord.” We have made prayer about God joining us and prayer has become the mirror where we see only ourselves and the reflection of our wants and desires. What does He want, what are His desires, is it time for us to look past the mirror of our own reflection and see our God?

Will you Come?