I have found the combination of prayer and worship to be so powerful in my life. I love the way I can start with worship and end up praying or vice versa. Even though not every single time is the most amazing encounter I've ever had with God, I find that if I allow myself to get lost in worship or really pour my heart out to God in prayer, I leave His presence changed. Even if it's just that I feel better than when I went in. Or maybe I've got a little more strength for the journey. There's something about God's presence that changes me.
My heart's cry is to dwell in God's presence, to be in constant communication with Him, whether through worship, prayer, or reading my Bible. One of my favorite Psalms is Psalm 27. Verse 4 really sums up what I'm trying to say: "One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple." How amazing would that be! To sit in God's presence constantly, looking at Him in all His beauty and glory! WOAH!
Something that my Bible study talked about last week was the fact that we have to live in this world, but we are not supposed to be like the world, we should be separate unto God. I know this is a common "churchy" way to think, but the context in the Bible study was what got me. We're studying Abram (before he was renamed Abraham). In Genesis 14, he hears that his relative Lot has been taken captive by these four kings who had invaded Sodom. So Abram musters his 300+ fighting men and goes to get Lot. Of course he saves Lot and all his people and goods.
Think about it, these are FOUR kings with their trained army against Abram with his 318 men whom he had trained to fight! That's huge that he won, let alone had the courage in the first place! Beth Moore quotes F.B. Meyer who says that it was only because Abram was separated from the world that he was able to save his nephew and all that belonged to him. He points out that if we are not separated from the world, we will not have the power to overcome the world.
What a thought! Once again God asks us to do something that may seem like a "thou shalt not..." to ruin our fun, when in reality he has only our best interest in mind. He desires to bless us and use us to be a blessing to the "Lots" in our lives. If we choose to live like the world, we may end up being taken captive like Lot. But if we will be found in the presence of Most High God, at His feet, soaking in His strength, then we will be able to be used to our fullest potential.
So you see, if you will choose to separate yourself from the world, and allow your Father to fill you up with Him and His Spirit, then not only will you benefit, but those around you will be lifted up with you too!