There is no sensation quite like swimming; the feeling of floating and being surrounded by water. It’s amazing. You can’t walk when you’re surrounded by water; if you want to go somewhere you’re required to swim or simply allow the waves to move you where they will. Either way you must tread water to keep from drowning. It’s a completely different experience from being on land.
In the same way that swimming is different than walking, so our worship of God should be incomparable to the experiences of the world. There should be a distinct difference from the worship of the world and the worship of our God who made us. What would it be like to have the tangible presence of God and His healing power in the room with us as we worship? It would probably be one of the most enjoyable and fulfilling experiences ever in this life. So why aren’t our services like this every time?
I don’t know exactly why the presence and power of God is not experienced every time we worship, but I have my suspicions. I think there are many factors that need to come together so that we don’t get in the way of God moving. One thing that I know can get in the way of God moving is our unbelief and lack of faith. When there is a cloud of unbelief and a lack of faith over a people, God’s influence is hindered.
God does not violate the gift of free will that He has given us. I believe the power of God can only be received by faith; it can’t be forced unto those who refuse it. Jesus experienced this when He went to His hometown in Mark 6:5. It says that He could not do any miracles except lay His hands on a few sick and heal them.
Another important factor is repentance. I think that when a community comes together in unity through repentance that God will come to exalt the humble. In James 5:16 we are encouraged to confess our sins to each other and to pray that we may be healed. We can’t hide sin in our lives; we must be willing to expose the darkness so that we can be healed. When we confess our sins and renounce them like King David, we prosper. This is actually what triggered the Awakening at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, when a student confessed and repented before her classmates. Her act of obedience caused many more to confess areas of compromise in their lives that led to an exposing of the darkness and an outpouring of the joy, power and presence of the Lord upon the community.
Our God desires that we come to Him as we are so that He can heal us. He will help us to get out of whatever mud we’ve gotten ourselves into. He wants us to be submerged in the river of life and cleansed. When we come to Him in worship it blesses Him and it changes us. When we sing the truth unto the Lord it changes the way we think and transforms our heart, which causes us to live a life of love for Him and others. It is my hope that God would move in our hearts as a community to do what needs to be done so that we may access the deep river of His pleasures in corporate worship.