“How can I ‘feel’ God? – I want a fresh encounter…”

1 Oct

Occasionally, someone will ask, “How can I feel God or feel Father’s love?  I never seem to feel anything even though it’s happening to others.” –sound familiar?   So, what creates the ‘doorway’ into an encounter with God?  Is it only when God sovereignly decides to move upon us… or is the level of our desire a significant factor in finding an encounter?  I think it’s both, but our desire for Him and how we express it may have a more powerful effect in helping to create an encounter than we know. Yes, there are times when God just sovereignly shows up… you know, I was cold as a rock two seconds ago and now the tears are flowing because of His presence.  I LOVE THOSE TIMES!  They just make me fall in love with Him more.  But those times are unpredictable and not as often as I would like.  So how to find the encounter is the ‘million dollar’ question.  Here are a few tips that work for me.

‘Homesickness’
To experience His presence, I usually I have to feel deep longing for Him and His presence, first… sort of like homesickness.  That feeling doesn’t usually happen ‘on command’.  It starts with purposeful asking on a frequent basis in times that I’ve specifically set aside for prayer.  I begin to ask for Him to make me want Him more and I ask for Him to make my heart tender. Have you ever noticed in Scripture that when you read the phrase, “And they cried to the Lord”, that the next phrase or verse says, “And God heard their cry”?  Then the following verses usually describe how He answered them.  He’s like a mother who can’t ignore the cries of her baby.  He will answer.  It’s His nature.  In my experience, if I’m diligent to ask, some noticeable changes happen within a few days or weeks.

Clean-ness
Repentance may be necessary: “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.” – Acts 3:19.  It’s important to walk in righteousness as best as we can in this process… in thought, word and deed.  Of course it’s not about impressing God with our righteousness; mostly it’s our own hearts which will offend us if we’re not walking rightly.  And in addition to that, the devil loves to condemn us by magnifying our weaknesses and failures.  Even though true righteousness is not about ‘works’, there may be some things we must change in our lives.  Ps 24:3-4 says that to ascend the ‘hill of the Lord’, we must have clean hands and a pure heart.  So get in under the blood of Jesus… and receive the free gift of His righteousness.

Where can I find Him?
I must begin a pointed and purposeful regimen of seeking the face of God.  A familiar and frequently visited secluded spot works well for me… like out in nature… or at least someplace where I can feel liberty to pace, pray out loud, lift my hands, shout, cry, etc… without having to consider who may be listening to me.  This place is my sanctuary… my meeting place with God.

On our own
As a general life mode, we must be able to ‘dig our own well’ in God.  We must learn how to feed ourselves and find God on our own.  This is an integral part of maturing in God.  But there are times when we get stuck and can’t seem to find a breakthrough… and because God didn’t make us to be totally self-sufficient, sometimes we must seek out others for help.

‘Get out of Dodge’
Occasionally I must get out of my normal surroundings.  I must find a conference or church where I can go (where nobody knows me is best) and be a nameless faceless person in the crowd.  When I’m there my heart posture before God must not be frantic or clamoring nor can I be a wall-flower and timid.  I must have liberty to be expressive with my passion; extroverted (with physical expression or dance, etc) or introverted (sitting quietly in total ‘receive mode’).  In either case, I must be fully engaged with God, with my antennae ‘on ten’, and I must be ready and willing to respond however He indicates.

Don’t give up
You can be sure that not all searches yield ‘gold’.  In fact, sometimes I return home after a ‘box canyon’ realizing that I had more life in God than they did.  But in this phase it’s not so important that you strike it rich on each hunt as it is that you don’t give up hunting.  You see, I believe the Lord is looking for earnestly hungry hearts that will not be easily distracted by lesser loves or disappointments until they’ve gotten their heart’s Desire.  He will show Himself strong on behalf of that person. – II Chron 16:9.

Take a look at Isa 64:7 “And there was no one who stirred themselves to take hold of God!”   God was lamenting that no one had a tenacious heart to experience Him.  I’m confident that He is extremely pleased to hear us say “I’ve got to find Him… I’ve just got to find somehow or someplace where I can be totally immersed in the presence of God!”  If we’re saying this, then we’ve got His attention, big time!

Receive prayer
Find a church or conference which offers personal prayer ministry: ‘Soaking’ prayer (extended gentle release of life of God over us) and prophetic type prayers (insights into God’s specific thoughts for us).  Be bold and fearless to receive prayer and be patient when receiving prayer. Without question, we would all benefit from more prayer over their lives.

How much does it cost?
In all of the above, anything we do or anywhere we go will require a sizeable amount of determination to stay resolutely focused on our objective.  It really all boils down to how desperate we are.  Just making the decision to set time aside to pray or read our Bible ‘costs’ us.  Getting into our prayer ‘closet’ will ‘cost’ us.  Driving or flying to a conference will ‘cost’ us.  Not letting our mind wander or get offended in the new surroundings will ‘cost’ us.  Determining to not be timid in a crowd of strangers will ‘cost’ us.   Not being distracted or disappointed when we come back into our normal world will ‘cost’ us.  Not being offended at God if we don’t seem to get something on our search, will ‘cost’ us.  But He is worth any and all costs!  So the questions are: How hungry are we?  How deeply do we want and need Him?

The ‘good stuff’ awaits us
In the end, God’s eyes of favor are on those who are on a sincere quest to find and experience His Father Love.  And He WILL reward us; just don’t give up because: “He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”  Encounters await those who won’t give up… and He’s SO worth it.

Prayer
Father, I believe Your thoughts are only good toward me and that You’ll do me good.  I want to want You more… and more.  Help my heart become more tender and help me find a ‘doorway’ into a fresh encounter with You.  Amen

— MLH

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2 Responses to ““How can I ‘feel’ God? – I want a fresh encounter…””

  1. Karla M October 1, 2012 at 4:19 PM #

    Thank you so much for this message and prayer Mark, very timely and important for me personally and I’m certain for others as well.

    • marklhen October 1, 2012 at 4:26 PM #

      Thanks, Carla. And always timely for myself, too. I’m motivated by Isa 64:7 to “take hold of God”… and if I’m deficient in inspiration sometimes irritations of life give me the desperation that I need. In both cases I’m pressed toward and into Him!

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