BodEquip Ministries - Equipping the Body of Christ to Live Abundantly.

Stop Begging God For His Presence!

(By Christopher Long, BodEquip Ministries)

If you've been around evangelical circles, and especially if you've been around certain charismatic parts of the Body of Christ, you've probably heard (or maybe even uttered yourself) prayers or worship songs with phrases like this:

"God/Jesus/Holy Spirit please come down and fill this atmosphere!"

"More of you Jesus! We need more of you! We need your presence here!"

"Heaven come down! Soak us! Rain on us! Flood us!"

"Be with us here God!"

"Please God, we cry out for your presence!"

"Come Holy Spirit! We invite you into this place!"

"The presence of God has come and is really strong right now."


If you haven't said these phrases yourself, chances are probably good that you've heard them (or variations on them) many times over. In the circles I run in, it's near impossible to go a day without hearing things like this come out of the mouths of well-meaning believers.

Please hear that what I am about to say (and even the tone/point of this whole article) I intend as being in as gentle and loving tone as I can, because I myself have uttered phrases like this before. My intent is not to come at fellow brothers and sisters harshly or in any form of condemnation so please hear my heart on this at the outset.

With that said, I'm about to make a blunt statement: I believe that when we Christians throw around phrases and statements like the above, it actually can really misrepresent Jesus and Christianity, and the mindset behind those phrases can keep us from really living in the fullness of the abundant life Jesus has for us. Hear me out - I promise to explain this.

We tend to have this nasty perpetual habit in the Body of Christ of begging God for what Scripturally we already have. Rather than acknowledge what we have and then adjust our perception of what we have to attune ourselves to that, we instead put it on God to move in our midst if we pray enough, fast enough, sing enough worship, or [fill in the blank]. Much of worship in the Body of Christ tends to be centered around this notion of that we worship God and then if God likes our worship well enough, He'll move in our midst. And if we REALLY make Him happy, then He'll move extra special in our midst. We don't often say it in these blunt terms, but this is the clear picture we paint.

In the big-picture, this is all still an Old Covenant, works-based mentality towards God and approaching Him. Many New Covenant believers in Jesus Christ still live under an Old Covenant mindset where we're still begging God for stuff He's already given us in Jesus and talking of how God sovereignly picks-and-chooses those He wants to bless and move on/with in power.

I don't think any believers would deny that there are times where one can definitely sense & feel God in a more tangible way than others or that God's presence or power seem to be more readily at-hand than at other times. But it's in the assumptions we've made as to the why for that where we have messed up.

Before we go deeper with that though, let's look at a few Scriptures:

In John 14:16-17, Jesus tells His disciples this: "And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you." (ESV).

So here Jesus tells His disciples that once He goes away that the Spirit will come to be with His disciples forever and that this Spirit will dwell in them. He goes on in verse 20 to say: "In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you."

1 Corinthians 3:16 tells us bluntly: "Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you?"

1 Corinthians 6:17 tells us: "But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him."

Romans 8:9 says "You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him."

I could go on and on, but as believers in Jesus Christ we all understand that when we believed in Jesus and became "born again" from above that God's Spirit came to dwell within us, correct? Those that are genuine believers in Jesus have the Spirit dwelling inside of them; those that are not, do not. Right?

This is the same life-giving, power-packed Holy Spirit that we are told in Romans 8:11, "If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you."

The same Holy Spirit we are told in 1 Corinthians 12 that has gifts (manifestations of the Spirit) for us - including gifts demonstrative of His power.

So we were told by Jesus Himself that the Holy Spirit would be in us and with us forever and that Jesus is in us and us in Him, and the Bible subsequently confirms this reality throughout the New Testament by reminding us of the fact that we are joined to Jesus and that the Holy Spirit dwells within us and that the Spirit's power is available to us and working in us and able to be working through us.

Right? Everyone tracking with me so far?

The Bible also tells us that collectively we are Christ's body and individually a part of it! (1 Cor. 12:27). We are literally the Body of Christ since Christ lives within us and we are His physical presence here now in this world. And we are who He commissioned to go do His stuff! (Mark 16:15-18; Matt. 28:18-20; Acts 1:8; Matt 10:8; Luke 10:1-11,19)

The Bible gets even more absolutely radical in telling us things like that God "raised us up with him [Jesus] and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus," (Ephesians 2:6b, bracketed text mine).

So right now, while I'm here in this earth, I'm also actually seated with Christ in the Heavenly realm - again because I am in Christ and He is in me - we've been joined together and the Spirit of God is within me.

So, if I'm a believer in Jesus and I've got God Himself living inside of me through the Holy Spirit and I'm joined to Jesus where I'm in Him and He's in me, and I have access to God's power in Him and can do things in God's power, then WHY IN THE WORLD would I be begging God for Him to come show up somewhere that I am? Why would I be begging for His presence? Why would I be trying to get something I already have and indeed carry within me?

With this backdrop, do you see how silly it can come across to go around saying "Come Holy Spirit - be with us" or "Jesus be with me today" or "God, please come here and move in our midst today" when you are standing right there with the Holy Spirit inside of you and where you are in Jesus and He's in you - where you are joined to God?

If you are a genuine believer in Jesus Christ, you don't need to try and get the presence of God to come. You HAVE the presence of God. You carry the presence of God. It's literally in you. You don't get closer to God's presence than that, friend! Jesus in you, you in Him, seated together with Him in victory and power in the Heavenly realm (Eph 2:6) - you ARE in the presence of God. Right now. It's a state you are literally in. You dwell in the presence of God and it is within you. Whether you feel that reality at any given time or not, that is the truth!

So, stop begging for God's presence! Stop trying to get God to come to you or your church gathering - if you're a true believer in Jesus, He's already there...

Now, I do believe that believers can be born-again in Jesus and have the Holy Spirit and yet not have the fullness of power of the Spirit operating in their life due to ignorance or not ever really asking for that (God won't flow through you in power if you don't want that). This is what the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is about where there is an experience believers can have like those at Pentecost did (Acts 2) where people are really living in and operating in His power. So in that sense, yes, I do believe we can invite the Holy Spirit for this purpose of empowering in a person's life. Often churches that use this "Come Holy Spirit" kind of talk are meaning that they want the fullness of God's power flowing in their midst, and that desire I believe is good. However, the Holy Spirit is already present if those in the church are born-again believers so we don't need to try and get Him to show up. The focus should not be on trying to get the Spirit to come and move but to instead realize that the Spirit is already there and that we can access His power. It's a shift of focus.

Now, with that said, I mentioned earlier the fact that most believers would say that there are times they can really sense or feel God's presence, and times they do not. I also alluded to the fact that while this is true, the problem is we have drawn incorrect assumptions as to what this means.

Most of the Church world has assumed this means that if we don't "feel God" or see some powerful demonstrations that this means God isn't there and we need to pray harder, worship harder, plead harder, fast harder etc to get God to show up and move. It's a view of God where He either comes on us as believers or departs from us depending on what we do.

That's all a pre-Jesus mindset where we're still trying to get God to do things He's already done and provided for us in Jesus. As I said earlier, lots of Christians are still living under an Old Covenant mindset and still using Old Covenant pre-Jesus Scriptures to bolster their ideas about how God moves in them or in their midst.

While I acknowledge that sometimes we can "feel" God more at some times than other times and that there are clearly times where we can see evidences of God's working that we don't see at other times, I completely reject the idea that this is because God is choosing to draw near to us or not draw near based upon our works (worship, prayer, whatever) or our degree of perceived holiness or because He is just choosing to sovereignly move sometimes but giving us the shaft the rest of the time.

No, in addition to what we have already looked at, there are numerous New Testament Scriptures talking about the power and blessings we have - that we have all we need - that we are complete in Christ - that we are partakers of God's divine nature - that we have already been made righteous and holy - that miracles and demonstrative gifts are available for us and so forth.

This mindset of "we are worms and need you God to come move" is WRONG WRONG WRONG! This kind of talk and implications (or more subtle variations thereof) are very common in the Church. We are not worms - we are joined to Jesus and seated with Him and "His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness." (2 Peter 1:3).

I acknowledge that we can ACT like worms and ACT in ways that are not right, but that is not who we actually are in Christ Jesus as the new creation we were made (2 Cor. 5:17). What we REALLY need to do is adjust our thinking to the truth of just who we really are and what we really have in Jesus!

I also acknowledge that while God's presence is in us, just as in any relationship, we do have a choice in how close we want to practically be in relationship with Him and can choose to draw near or be more distant (a la James 4:7-8). We can choose our degree of submission to Him and where our heart is really at and these things can affect our ability to perceive God's presence and "feel Him" and our ability to operate effectively in what we have been given. Just because we do not "feel Him" doesn't mean God's not there, but it could be that we've chosen to keep Him at "arms length" etc.

With all that said, you know what REALLY causes more of a "felt" presence of God and more "tangible" demonstrations of God's power in a church gathering? FAITH! Faith takes hold of what grace has already provided. When believers, out of their relationship with God, operate in faith in trusting God and moving beyond their physical senses and operate in that place of faith where they are operating in the spiritual reality of who they are and what they have and step out in action in that place of faith, THAT is where "the atmosphere" changes. Not because God wasn't there before - but because our faith activated that awareness of His presence in practical reality where we then see it and feel it in demonstration around us.

I'm not saying God couldn't choose to sovereignly do something in a gathering or your own personal life, but what I am saying is that He calls us to recognize what we have and operate in that. I've been in lots and lots of church gatherings and Bible studies and other gatherings of believers in my life and I've been in Christian churches of all types and denominations. While I believe that you can sense and experience God's presence and power on a personal level even if those around you are not, there is indeed something to a "corporate presence" - there are times where you can sense and see God's presence moving powerfully in a corporate sense. But this does NOT mean that we "ushered in God's presence" by our works. That's a wrong teaching out there. I can tell you hands-down, the times I have clearly felt God's presence in an atmosphere it was because the people in that environment were responding in faith - in their trust in God and what was available in Him as opposed to just looking at things naturally using natural senses. Now it may well be that things like worship music and/or a teaching and/or Scriptures and/or prophecy shared helped people to release their faith (one would certainly hope so!), but it was the faith that made people more aware of the spiritual reality - the same spiritual reality where they are seated in Heaven with Jesus - and thus "feeling God and His presence more" as opposed to just heeding the natural senses.

Now, here's the tricky part. While it is faith that takes hold of what grace has provided and it is released faith that causes an atmosphere change like this where miracles can happen left and right, the devil knows this and so what he likes to do is keep Christians from recognizing who they are and what they have and keep them from truly having faith in God and speaking to mountains (Mark 11) using the authority they have in God. Which is why, even when we are begging for God's presence, often times we have a fairly low-power or non-result, or we get a counterfeit result (that's a whole other topic I'm not getting into). However, even when/if a gathering of believers is operating in some wrong understandings and perhaps singing worship songs looking for God to come and move in their midst, there can still be a degree of faith released in that mode where people are looking to God, and I do believe God works with people with where they are at, so things can still happen and miracles occur and people feeling the presence of God in notable ways. Then what happens is people assume "that was the ticket" to see God move and they make a formula out of it (e.g. "every worship song has to be 10 minutes long and build in a certain way so we can duplicate this and create this atmosphere...". But in this mode, what ends up happening is we still operate far below what we could be operating in and seeing happen in our midst when we instead have correct understandings of who we are and Who is in us and the power we possess and the authority we have.

As born-again believers in Jesus, we don't need Heaven to come down - Heaven ALREADY came down and His name was Jesus - and through our faith in Him, we carry His presence and the Heavenly Kingdom of God within us and we ourselves are dwellers in Heaven right now (even as we also physically are still here on the earth). What we need to do is tap into that reality and live out of that instead of looking for something off in the distance or Heaven to come down and move on us or touch our church service etc. When we understand what we have in us, then it becomes clear that WE are the carriers of Heaven and God's presence and power and God moves through US! Which was always God's plan and design for His Church - His Body here on earth doing His works.

This whole subject I am talking about today manifests in lots of different ways. For instance, when talking about praying for healing for someone, a person that in their heart of hearts believes they are just a lowly nothing except just that they've believed in Jesus for salvation, but God can heal someone if He wants to, will pray prayers for someone like: "God, please heal so and so" - and they might even tack on: "if it be Your will for them." That is all a whole different notion than a person that understands that they as a believer are in Jesus and Jesus in them and they are seated in the Heavenlies with Jesus in power and authority and that Jesus healed people and never turned anyone away and that Jesus Himself told His disciples to "Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons." (Matthew 10:8a) Jesus didn't tell His disciples to ask God for God to do some special act that they already had the power given to them to do - He told THEM to "heal the sick". He taught us in Mark 11:22-24 that we can have what WE say as we trust in God and do not doubt in our heart. So a believer that understands that THEY carry the Kingdom of God and God's healing presence inside of them might rather pray for healing like this: "So and so, be healed in Jesus' name! I speak healing over every part of your body. Thank you Jesus that your healing power is at work in this person." And while speaking that also believing that the life-giving, healing presence of God that they carry within them is being imparted to the person being prayed over. That's a whole different mode than "God, please come down and have your presence touch this person and heal them." One is a mode of begging God, the other is in a mode of taking what's already been provided for us in God's grace and responding in faith by operating in the victory and authority of Jesus as the carriers of God's presence that we already are.

Hopefully you are starting to see the difference here.

I do believe that God can sovereignly move in a person's life or a church service and He does interact with us as His children. The mode of begging for Heaven and the Spirit to come is one of people trying to get God to do some special work for them or in their midst, but it's not the mode coming from the place of victory of who we really are and what's been provided for us in Jesus. It's the putting all our chips on God's sovereign intervention mode instead of operating in our identity and the presence of God and power of the Spirit that we carry and access by faith (which is I believe God's clear plan & desire for His Church). The begging God mode can produce much wailing of emotion and crying out to God and thus can appear very "spiritual" to some, but overall it isn't very victorious in my view (or from what I've ever seen...). God wants His kids to grow up and know who they really are and to live from that place.

When the Church of Jesus Christ really starts grasping what we already possess in Jesus and that everywhere we gather, God is already there because God is in us, and we really start operating in faith in response to who we are and what we have, we will see tremendous demonstrations of God's power in our midsts to a degree we have never seen. Not because God is then sovereignly choosing to move in some new move of the Spirit, but because WE are responding to the move God has ALREADY made and in faith doing what we are supposed to be doing as His Body. The Church has been living FAR FAR BELOW what has been available to us. Many people in the church talk of God coming and moving in moves of the Spirit in revivals and so forth and looking for God to do some special move in the future. I'm not going to go too deep here except to say that we need to stop looking for and begging God to sovereignly move and instead respond to the move He's already made and believe and act in line with that. If we do that, what we call "revival" will follow - it is how revival begins and how revival is sustained.

As a whole, we have greatly undervalued and not recognized all that really happened at Calvary. And this is why when we beg for God's presence or the Kingdom to come or beg for God to do something He's already given and provided, I think it actually in some ways could be considered an affront to Jesus because we in our ignorance haven't taken and operated in all that Jesus suffered and shed his blood to provide for us, and instead we are operating like we still need to get these things from God if we pray hard enough or sincerely enough or please Him or sing loud enough or whatever the case may be. I'm not Jesus, but if I was, I imagine I'd be pretty frustrated that those I died for weren't taking hold of all I actually gave them and seeing themselves as the royal Kingdom-carriers I paid for them to be.

When we don't see ourselves in line with the truth of who we are and what's been provided for us, we actually misrepresent Christ and Christianity to those around us. The devil's M.O. with the Church has been to keep us from realizing the truth of all that we are and have - he has kept us in a very watered-down, low-power state operating from a place of begging and looking for a sovereign move of God instead of the place of victory we are supposed to operate from.

Praise God for His mercy and love for us - He knows we've been ignorant to these things. But it's time to move beyond this now. I don't care what your church traditions are or have been in regards to this stuff. It's time to see ourselves in line with who we really are and the New Covenant truths of all that's ours and stop living as a people under an Old Covenant mindset where God's presence would come and go. As a born-again believer in Jesus Christ, you carry the presence of God - you carry the Kingdom of God - you are joined with Jesus and you are in a place of power and authority in Him. Believe this about yourself! Use your power and authority in faith as a God-carrier to those you come in contact with and watch the power of God do its work in your midst.

With love in Jesus,
Christopher Long
BodEquip Ministries

This article is Copyright by Christopher Long 2022. All rights reserved. You may quote/reprint this article for any non-commercial purpose without obtaining permission as long as you use the entire text and that all text, including this and all following notices, is not modified or removed in any fashion. For any other usage, you must obtain written permission from the author.

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

This is version 1.4 of this document (July 21, 2022).
Previous versions: 1.3/1.2/1.1/1.0 (July 16, 2022)
This document is provided as a ministry outreach of BodEquip Ministries.

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