“When You said, ‘Seek My face,’ my heart said to You, ‘Your face, Lord, I will seek’” (Psalm 27:8).
“For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” 2 Corinthians 4:6
A fiery old Methodist preacher gave us a challenge during college days: “Don’t start your praying by saying things. Pause until you can sense the presence of God.” What an idea–much better than customary racing through heartless prayers!
My alma mater, Pacific Bible College, now Azusa Pacific University, required thirty minutes of devotional time at 7:00 each morning after breakfast. It was an ideal time to try the preacher’s proposal. The period became a spiritual laboratory for me!
Monday morning, kneeling by my bunk, I paused to sense God’s presence. Instead of His presence, however, I met a whirlwind of distractions—schedules, assignments, exams, social plans, bills! It was a long half-hour, but dorm rules kept me at it.
At 7:25, things changed! I remember the time from watching the clock. My brain slowed, and my attention focused on God! I could see Him with my mind! “Lord, I exclaimed, “You’re right here, and You’re looking straight at me!”
The last five minutes were a spiritual lift-off, well worth the 25-minute struggle. One-on-one communion with Him was wonderfully fulfilling. Next morning was much the same, but required only twenty-three minutes to sense God’s presence. Wednesday’s “pausing” needed twenty-one. The time factor continued to shrink at about the same two-minute daily rate. Weeks later, I was able to talk to God face to face in a few seconds.
Personal dialog with God has become a daily reality for me. Let King David’s prayer be a model for us all: “When You said, ‘Seek My face,’ my heart said to You, ‘Your face, Lord, I will seek’” (Psalm 27:8).
God’s face in prayer is Biblical! It is neither luxury or illusion.
“For it is God…who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6).
God “is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).
Moses’ epitaph, inscribed in Deuteronomy 34:10, shows the secret of his greatness: “Since then there has not arisen in Israel a prophet like Moses whom the Lord knew face to face.”
The cross of Christ makes it possible to meet God. “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18).
We meet God by prayer. “You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11).
God’s face is a foretaste of heaven. “His servants shall serve Him. They shall see His face…And they shall reign forever and ever” (Revelation 22:3-5).
Six Discoveries from the Laboratory
- Seeking God’s face conditions us to meet Him just like physical exercise conditions athletes for competition (1 Corinthians 9:24-27).
- Pausing to sense God’s presence gives Him time to wash our souls (Psalm139:23,24). It is ground training in His flying school (Isaiah 40:31).
- Waiting for the Lord (Psalm 37:7) allows time for God to adjust our attitude. We get acquainted with Him like a couple in love.
- Distractions make valuable prayer agendas. God transforms mind-wanderings when we record and pray about them (Ephesians 3:20).
- Praying Scriptures back to God quickly fixes the mind on Him. (Ask for our folder on “Concentration”)
- Face-to face fellowship is ultimate intimacy with Him. (John 4:24).
by Ben Jennings