Desiring the Presence of the Lord Above All Else
Nancy Taylor Warner
Years ago, I asked the Lord that if I ever were to have a ministry, it would be marked by His presence. This continues to be my desire today. First and foremost, I want the presence of the Lord to mark my own life, but also any corporate gatherings that I might be responsible for.
There is a little song that I have loved for many years: “For I was born to be Thy dwelling place, a home for the presence of the Lord. So let my life now be separated Lord to Thee, that I might be what I was born to be.”
What a calling! To be a carrier of His presence! Christ IN you, the hope of glory! (Colossians 1:27) His nature, His character, His power, His presence! We ALL are called to be carriers of the Lord’s presence.
“But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him.” 2 Corinthians 2:14 NIV
As the Lord was establishing the tabernacle of Moses, He said,
“And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will be their God.” Exodus 29:45
Later, the children of Israel grieved the Lord. Because of this, though the Lord was still going to use Moses and allow him to lead Israel to Canaan, He said to Moses,
“Depart and go…and I will send My Angel before you…to a land flowing with milk and honey; for I will not go up in your midst…for you are a stiff-necked people.” Exodus 33:1-3 NKJ
But Moses desired something much more than merely coming into “a land that flowed with milk and honey.” He desired the Lord Himself to be in their midst. Therefore, instead of being excited about “the blessings” ahead, he began to mourn. He took the tabernacle and set it up outside the camp. Then he prayed,
“Show me now Your way, that I may know You, and that I may find grace in Your sight. And consider that this nation is Your people.” Exodus 33:13b NKJ
The Lord responded and said,
“My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Exodus 33:14 NKJ
Then Moses replied,
“If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here.” Exodus 33:15 NKJ
In other words, Moses said, “I do not want just the blessings; I desire Your presence in our midst, in the very center of what we are doing.”
Moses clearly expressed the principle that the abiding of the Lord’s “manifest presence” is an indication and sign that identifies His people.
“For how then will it be known that Your people and I have found grace in Your sight, except You go with us? So shall we be separate, Your people and I, from all the people who are upon the face of the earth.” Exodus 33:16 NKJ
The Lord responded to Moses’ desire for His presence and said to him,
“I will also do this thing that you have spoken: for you have found grace in My sight, and I know you by name.” Exodus 33:17 NKJ
This desire of Moses for the Lord Himself and His presence has become very personal and real to me through the years, going back to when I first prayed, “Lord, there are so many who are gifted in preaching, and there are those who have certain gifts that mark their ministries; but if ever I am involved in ministry, may it be Your presence that marks all that we do.”
Moses not only desired the abiding presence of the Lord to be with Israel, but he coveted a personal knowledge of the presence of the Lord. Therefore, he asked to personally experience God’s presence.
“I beseech Thee, shew me Thy glory.” Exodus 33:18
The Lord answered,
“I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy.” Exodus 33:19
There are hidden within the heart of God, for those who seek Him, innumerable treasures. The Lord went on to say to Moses,
“Behold, there is A PLACE by Me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: and it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by: and I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen.” Exodus 33:21-23
As Moses spent time in the presence of the Lord, the glory that covered him became so glorious that the people would not look upon him, and he had to cover his face. Yet the Word tells us that the glory which we have is even more glorious.
In Joel, the Lord tells us that He will restore to us the former and the latter rain. This includes the glory of the old covenant, but more glorious, the restoration of new covenant glory which is yet to be fully released to the people of God.
We are being changed from one level of glory to a higher level of glory. As the presence of the Lord increasingly is being made more manifest, it will create within us a hunger that will bring us to that “place by Me” which Moses experienced.
There is a call of God on our lives individually, to be carriers of His presence. But also corporately, there are places where the Lord desires to establish His presence today, as an overcoming body of believers truly joins together in worship and prayer.
“Parousia” is a New Testament Greek word that relates to the Second Coming of Christ; this word also relates to the “Presencing” of the Lord, in which He is beginning to reveal Himself in a greater and more personal way to those who have come apart to seek Him.
There are a people, not known to man, but known to God, who the Lord will use as they join their hearts together in worship and prayer, to effectuate change in the heavenlies and have a spiritual impact in these times we are in.
God not only wants to minister to us, but through us! As we come to understand this, our times of gathering together with other like-minded Christians become even more meaningful. A convergence of purpose is being fulfilled, as we are ministered to in the presence of the Lord and there is also an outworking of the Lord’s higher purposes.
Political and social efforts today fail to meet the total need. The Lord desires to do more, on a higher level. There is an upward call for an overcoming people, those willing to make themselves available, who God can use in restraining the powers of darkness as His presence is released and He ushers in His kingdom.
Worship is not something we “do” just as a nice way to begin our services. Worship is a primary purpose as we gather together. In addition, Bible teaching is essential to give us focus and vision for our lives. As we understand the present day working of the Holy Spirit, and yield to the Lord, we are drawn up into a higher realm of relationship with Him, where we not only commune with the Lord, but are also brought into a cooperative relationship with Him, as we become joined with Him and become a part of that which He is doing today.
The Lord desires to have a people who love Him fully, who He can raise up as an army of overcomers, to release the authority and life of Jesus into all spheres where darkness abides, both here in America, and over all the nations of the world.
Today, the Lord is using an overcoming people to establish “places” marked by His presence in many localities. Together, we can make an impact as we allow the Lord to work within our own hearts, then from that place of inner communion with Him, worship, exalting the Lord Jesus Christ and His headship, as we believe together for His “presencing” in greater ways.
If you would like to pray with me, my prayer is simply this:
Teach us the ways of Your presence, Lord. May it be Your presence that marks our lives and our gatherings. And in that presence may we come to know You more, Your heart, Your thoughts. May we become joined with You in that which You are doing today. We love You! And we love Your presence. Make us a people of Your presence, I pray. In Jesus’ name, Amen.