I love Psalm 27:8: “My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.’ And my heart responds, ‘Lord, I am coming.’” I notice David didn’t say, “Sorry, God, I’m too busy doing (and praying) all this other stuff for You.” He responded immediately to God’s invitation to come into His presence. Once he was there, David prayed, “Teach me how to live, O Lord. Lead me along the right path” (vs. 11).
David’s strength and direction for life, obviously—like Jesus’—came directly out if His intimate
conversations with God in prayer. In fact, Jesus’ amazing, supernatural ministry was absolutely rooted in intimacy and time spent with the Father (Lk. 6:12; Jn. 8:28, 12:49-50, 14:9).
Why on earth do I think I can get away with any less? I think I’m really finally understanding (and experiencing) the bottom line—that intimacy and power are intricately and inseparably intertwined.
How many times have we all prayed for wisdom, direction, strength, or provision … first? As for myself, too many times to count. The reality is that God's favor and blessing toward His people have primarily been demonstrated first of all by His presence. And it’s His presence that results in manifestations of His power. Presence first, then power. Not the other way around. How many people (or ministries) have we all seen “go into a ditch,” as one of my friends like to put it, because they got it backwards? Again, probably too many to count. Yikes! Jesus flat-out warned us about that. When His disciples experienced some of the privileges of living in God’s power, Jesus reminded them not to rejoice in the privileges, but rather in their relationship to the One who granted them (Lk. 10:28).
Take Moses, for another example: as much as he had seen of God's incredible power, Moses knew he couldn't live without God's intimate and personal presence in his life. He asked God, “How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth” (Ex. 33:15)? I appreciate the fact that he didn’t ask for more miracles. He asked for more of God Himself! And I love God’s response to Moses. He said, “I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name” (Ex. 33:17).
I need more of God’s power in my life—don't you? But instead of going for the power first—instead of asking for the strength, wisdom, direction, provision, or even miracles I need first—I am learning to go for the presence first.
Amazingly, all those other things seem to come a lot more easily after that ...