Immediately after the Lord gave Israel the ten commandments, the Lord said this to Moses, “Wherever I cause my name to be honored, I will come to you and bless you.” He said that in the context of giving Israel instructions for sacrificial worship, and before the rest of the Law was given. To be sure, this promise of blessing is a promise meant for the tabernacle and the temple. Yet from the context as well as the text, we learn that the blessing of God is given wherever He chooses to manifest His presence, most especially during sacrificial worship. Anyone who’s ever been at a particularly powerful worship time and “felt the presence of God” is describing this very thing. When God is lifted up in praise, His presence is made more tangible. The fabric between our present world and heaven is rendered a little bit thinner.
Far from a modern experience, this goes back through the millennia. Seeking to express it, David wrote in Psalm 22:3, “Yet You are holy, O You who are enthroned upon the praises of Israel.” Obviously, God is not physically sitting on a pile of music scripts. Nor can we play a worship song and expect Him to magically appear in our living room. This is something He does, and He does it as He Himself inspires. It is not something we can force. But there is something about heartfelt worship – about honoring God’s Name in body, soul and spirit – that He loves. For this reason it is often said, “God inhabits the praise of His people.”
Jesus said, “This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.” We “Hallow” God’s Name when we praise Him. We lift up in worship what we know of Him, and we magnify what we’ve experienced of Him by singing of it so other beings can hear – and when we are inspired to do that, God draws close to us. He draws close, we sense the thinness of the space between our physicality and His reality, and we are blessed. Our spirits soar as we drink in His peace, His beauty and the wonder of God. Such experiences seem rare. But they are not meant to be rare. Every prayer should have an element of that.
Every time we purpose to focus on Him, every time we come before His throne – whether to ask in supplication, or approach Him in thanksgiving, or beseech Him in intercession. Every prayer, and every prayer time, should hallow God’s Name. That’s why Jesus includes this line in His prayer template for us. Every prayer experience we have should be one of at least seeking to encounter His manifest presence in some way. After all, we cannot expect Him to cause His Name to be honored in either meeting us or answering our prayer if we are not actually seeking to bring Him honor. If we are just wanting to use Him as a vending machine, we should not expect Him to bless us with either presence or response.
But if we approach Him as God.
As King of all, seated far above.
As worthy of honor and worthy of sacrifice.
Well, then we might just find ourselves in His presence.
Many of us live as practical deists—acting like God is somewhere else and maybe, if we sing loud enough or pray long enough, He’ll show up. I want to be aware of the God who is right here right now, and because of that, every moment is drenched with divine presence and potential.Mike Erre
Have you experienced God’s presence today?