“Everyone was filled with awe…every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts.” – Acts 2:43, 46
One of the key elements of revival Tim Keller identifies in the early church is anointed worship. The early church worshiped and her worship was marked by awe. Anointed worship has nothing to do with the style of music being played, or even whether there is music at all. It is not about smoke machines or synth pads or the latest hit worship song being played. It is not even really about the level of gifting of the worship leader – although surely God uses gifted worship leaders. Anointed worship is about the presence of God. When people enter into worship, they are aware that God is present. They pray and sing directly to him. They deal with him, sometimes joyously as they give thanks and praise. Sometimes there is crying and tears of repentance and brokenness over sin. But what marks this kind of worship is that God is THERE and everyone knows it.
Obviously, God is always present everywhere. He is omnipresent. And as David asks rhetorically in Psalm 139, “where can I run from your presence?” The answer being, of course, nowhere. But even though God is always there. There are times where in addition to his omnipresence, we experience his manifest presence. His “royal presence,” as Tim Keller describes it. When God shows up and graces our worship with his royal, manifest presence, everyone knows it. Believers know he is there. Non believers know he is there.
Think of Elijah on Mt. Carmel, in his showdown with the 450 prophets of Baal in 1 Kings 18. What Israel, in her apostasy, needs to return to the Lord and renounce the Baals is the manifest presence of God. So he builds an altar, as do the prophets of Baal. But unlike when the prophets of Baal call on their god, when Elijah calls on the LORD, He shows up with fire. And the people see it and in awe and terror, acknowledge Yahweh as God.
“Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench. When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The Lord—he is God! The Lord—he is God!” (1 Kings 18:38-39)
- Consider where in the past year you have had spaces where you encountered God. What helps you to become aware of his presence. How can you build space to encounter God into your schedule this year.
- Put the dates for Heart on your calendar and come to experience God’s presence.
- Ask God for dreams and visions and an increased ability to hear his voice.
- Receive prayer ministry on Sunday this year. Do it regularly.
- Ask God to see his glory. To see His face.
- Ask God for a visitation of his manifest presence in times of worship, prayer and gathering.
- Pray for Heart gatherings and Altar gatherings this year to be spaces of encounter, prophetic revelation, healing, and deliverance.
- Pray for God’s presence to be felt, even by those who visit Sanctuary this year and have no faith background.