The Presence of God

June 2014

One night last week in a hotel in Thailand, I found myself restless and couldn't sleep. It was raining heavily outside, a comforting sound that should have sent me to sleep, but I was wide awake. So I decided to listen to a sermon by David Pawson on Prayer. He has quite a number of sermons on this subject, all very enlightening and interesting. I chose one titled "Prayer by Myself".

In it, he talked about how many of us do not actually believe that Jesus or the Spirit of Jesus (which is the Holy Spirit) may be in the same room as us when we pray. Most of us feel like we are praying alone in the room, and at times we may even feel like we were not being listened to, that it's a one-way conversation to God. How true I thought. I must admit I feel just like that most times.

As the sermon came to an end, I felt my spirit quickened. With Rob being fast asleep next to me, I was suddenly encouraged to ask out loud,"Lord Jesus, are you here in the room with me?" Suddenly a beautiful scent brushed past my nose. It was the scent of the Holy Spirit that I knew so well. "My, He really is here with me!". I began to thank and praise God. I had not smelled the Holy Spirit for some months now, so His presence was so refreshing. It was indeed a confirmation that He was in the room with me. I was not alone as my earthly feelings suggest.

So I took the opportunity to pray for many people and for many situations. The scent lingered on and on throughout the prayer. Outside, heavy rain continued - this time with thunder and lightning. Finally I started to feel sleepy, and I heard myself singing in my heart "Salvation belongs to our God" as I fell asleep.

The next morning I was suddenly awaken by yet another song in my heart "Holy, Holy, You are Holy, Worthy is the Lamb ...". I looked around, there was no one playing music in the room, Rob was next to me, already awake, quietly reading on his kindle. The song continued in my heart, and I began to realise it was God waking me up with a song of praise to Him. How wonderful I thought. I shared with Rob all that had happened.

Later that day, I listened to another sermon on Prayer by David Pawson. In it, he told a story of a man who had difficulties getting up in the morning, and prayed to God to help him wake up. God did so faithfully by giving him a song in his heart every morning. That's what happened to me, I exclaimed, exactly that! I was so astonished by this confirmation.

David then went on to say that it is all perfectly possible for God to talk back to us. He can make the air vibrate, just as we do when we speak to one another; this is how sound is made. When God does this, it usually results in thunder, as quoted in the following scriptures:

Psalm 18:13
13 The Lord thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded.

Psalm 29:3-4
3 The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the Lord thunders over the mighty waters.
4 The voice of the Lord is powerful;


Psalm 68:32-33
32 Sing to God, you kingdoms of the earth, sing praise to the Lord,
33 to him who rides across the highest heavens, the ancient heavens, who thunders with mighty voice.

As I pondered more about this, I was reminded of the thunder and lightning that happened last night during my prayer in the presence of the Holy Spirit. Could it be that God was talking back to me? Hah, I didn't realise this possibility. Oh if only I knew then what I know now, I would have paid particular attention to the sound of the thunder! ... still, I was comforted in the knowledge that God may have been talking back to me.

Then as I looked at the songs that sent me to sleep and woke me up, I also realised that these were the two songs that are being sung in heaven, as mentioned in:

Revelation 7:10,12
Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.
Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength
be to our God for ever and ever. Amen!”
 
Revelation 4:8
“‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty...

Of all the praise songs there are, why these two?
Could it be that, in my sleep, I may have been joining heaven singing praises to God?

Whatever actually happened in the spiritual realm, I was just happy to have felt the presence of God through His Holy Spirit, His scent, His thundering voice and my heart singing the words of those songs. It was a privilege that can only come through the Grace of God. Praise be to Him!