The nationwide revival we long for is a sovereign work of God. We cannot manipulate Him.
But on the human side, we are called to pursue Him and His manifest presence all the time. We should be taking every deliberate step to invite and experience Him in our daily lives.
It was at this time that He went off to the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer to God (Luke 6:12 NASB).
I have often wondered at our arrogance about taking extended time to meet with God. If the Son of God needed extended hours with the Father, how do we think we could do otherwise and minister effectively? Our lives are filled with activity, appointments, and conversations, but our pride causes us to rarely have time to give God undivided attention.
Did you know that right now, all around you, people are talking and music is playing? Before you think I’m delusional, remember that all you have to do to access this constant barrage is to turn on a radio and tune it to a broadcasting channel. You will discover that there was sound around you all the time, you just weren’t dialed in to its frequency. The same is true with God.
There is hardly ever a complete silence in our soul. God is whispering to us well nigh incessantly. Whenever the sounds of the world die out in the soul, or sink low, then we hear these whisperings of God. He is always whispering to us, only we do not always hear because of the noise, hurry, and distraction which life causes as it rushes on (A. W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God: A 31-Day Experience, Day 19, quoting Fredrick W. Faber).
Every leader who desires to experience God’s presence must take deliberate time to dial in. Go to a cabin or an outdoor place or a quiet room in your local library. There’s something very important about getting out of your normal environments, particularly into the nature God has created.
Determine to spend the entire day with Jesus. Read whole books of the Bible. Ask God what He wants to say to you. Journal and record what He is revealing.
Make sure your cell phone is off, and determine to use your computer only to access biblical tools. Usually you will make more progress in this one day of concentrated communion than a whole week of scattered thinking.
Develop a rhythm of regular retreats. Be with Him … and listen. Hear God, and discover His presence. Don’t have any agenda for such days except Him!
If you think you don’t have time, begin by repenting of your exalted opinion of your own importance. The world can make it without you one day a month. Others could suffer greatly, though, if you are not a leader who is regularly accessing the presence of Christ.
Life is loud. Our minds run constantly, our emotions drive us, our wills aggressively wage a battle for control. There is nothing like fasting to quiet us and take us into the Lord’s presence.
In a time of extended fasting, Psalm 35:13 became very real to me. The Psalmist said, “I humbled my soul with fasting.”
Fasting quiets the soul—the mind, will, and emotions. It says “no” to that which is in you that is always clamoring for more. It’s amazing how quiet it gets when the voices that are pulling you in multiple directions are starved and silenced.
If you feel distant and distracted, spend a day or multiple days giving attention to nothing but God, and see what you experience in His presence. Jesus did not say, “If you happen to fast,” but, “When you fast,” assuming it would be a routine part of our spiritual life (Matthew 6:16-17).
If you are facing big decisions, fasting is incredibly beneficial. There are multiple means of fasting. The key is to fast from whatever God says: food, media, entertainment, etc.
Walk away from the noise, the programs, the busyness of life. “The simplicity which is in Christ is rarely found among us. In its stead are programs, methods, organizations and a world of nervous activities which occupy time and attention but can never satisfy the longing of the heart” (A. W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God, p. 13). Get still, and pursue the one thing that matters and lasts.
Excerpted from The Presence-Centered Church, soon to be released.