Light Prayers: 9. The True Destination


Psalm 43:3  NIV  “Send forth your light and your truth, let them guide me; let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell.”

This is a test.

Think of the WORST day of your ENTIRE life.

But don’t think about it too long.

Now, here is the question.  During that time of pain, were you aching to be in church on Sunday morning, worshipping God with absolute abandon?

Fortunately, there are a bunch of you out there who are sufficiently grown up in the Lord that when things get ugly, you do genuinely want to go be with the Lord.  But the reality is that most of us simply want out of pain when we are in pain.

Once things have stabilized, then we can think about intimacy, but when we are in pain, we define God primarily by His willingness to be our pain relief app.

Sad, but reality.

The Hebrews were in pretty much that place.  They were in pain and in response to their pain, God said, “Come worship me.”  They thought it was a cool idea until Moses and Pharaoh combined to make the pain a whole lot worse, and then the idea of worship got shoved aside pretty spectacularly.

In the sequence of God dealing with them, He said, “Come worship me.  Incidentally, we will ditch the Egyptians along the way.  Oh, and after the worship, I have a land of abundance for you.”

But there is no question that worship was foremost on His mind.  THAT was the only thing God discussed with Pharaoh.  There was nothing said about abandoning the brickyards (although Pharaoh was no dummy – he saw that coming).  And nothing was said to him about the eventual invasion of Canaan and the establishment of a super power to significantly disrupt Egypt’s hegemony in the region.

It was about worship in God’s mind.  But not in the minds of the Hebrews.

So today I have Egyptians on my mind.  I would be happy to see them disappear because I have been arm wrestling with them for a long time.  And God has given me visions of places He will take me and give me that will be a better place than where I am now.  I like the idea of moving toward those places.

But there is a double entendre here.  On the one hand, God certainly was intending to have a fantastic worship experience with them at Mount Sinai that was beyond anything they had ever asked or imagined.  God came down on the mountain in a pretty spectacular way.  If you have not read that recently, I encourage you to place yourself in the desert and watch this impressive manifestation of the presence of God.

Nothing in Pharaoh’s palace or his tomb came close to this.

But beyond that was Mount Moriah in Jerusalem where the Temple would ultimately be built.  And the worship there would once again surpass anything they imagined in the desert.

My will is choosing to push the nonsense of each day to the back of the stove and focus on the fact that God’s real desire for this season is to redefine His relationship with me around a very different kind of worship than anything I have asked for or imagined while toiling in the brickyards.

Let’s come into agreement with God’s plans for both the transformational desert encounter and the ultimate place of worship that is an exquisite match for my design in the long run, and ask for His light to lead us there.

It is quite interesting that I have been pondering that concept of how a man worships.  We are mostly asked to worship in a woman’s manner in our current religious configurations.  I think there is a wide variety of very manly forms of worship that are not socially acceptable today, not taught, not affirmed.  Indeed, there is no room for them in many circles.

I have been pondering how there is a form of worship unique for each gift.  There is a form of worship for each gender.  And there is a sweet spot in that overlay for each individual.

God knows how He designed me.  He knows where and how my spirit will be most released in extreme worship.

AND I am convinced that He is moving me toward a divine encounter of epic proportions in the near term, as well as a more lengthy journey toward that situation where the deepest passion of my spirit can and will be expressed in worship like nothing I have ever given Him so far in my life.

“Father, You know my heart is fickle and feels pain more than love.  I ask You to forgive my heart and ignore its priorities.  With my will, I choose to set my face toward an encounter with You that will be utterly life transforming (possibly even affecting my fickle heart!)

“I ask You to vigorously keep me on track with Your light, not just escaping from the clutches of Pharaoh, but also taking me all the way to the place of Your choice, for an encounter of Your own design.

“I welcome a transformational encounter with the Transcendent God, for me and for SLG.  Let Your light invade and control my destiny, regardless of any conflicted messages coming from the rest of me!”

Copyright February 2014 by Arthur Burk

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33 Responses to Light Prayers: 9. The True Destination

  1. jane62 says:

    Interesting…I missed this week, pressure of work and tax year end, tightly coupled with my emails getting nuked along with the 4 other people in our company. Having to try and recover the situation before having a procedure that necessitated not one, but then two days in hospital, and in the process discovering a panic spot I didn’t know I have…talk about digging deeper! I managed to get into that worship place (from my hospital bed in the middle of the night..picture the scene!!!), starting out of obedience, pushing back the panic and ending up connecting with God! Some kind of victory, a little bruised, but definitely not broken. Then I read week 9’s Light prayers nearly a week late and WoW, it resonated. So….I am in anticipation of what light God will shine next, in your life, Arthur, in the greater SLG and in my life, recuperating mostly at home over the next two weeks.

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  2. Sally Sugrue says:

    I’m continuing to pray ‘light’ for you Arthur … for the last week or so, I’ve sensed a need to really learn to worship more deeply & as I stay posted on your light prayers for you, I’m so challenged & inspired for myself as well.

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    • SLG says:

      Thanks Sally. I ponder the transition of the Hebrews from the brickyards to the presence of God on Mount Sinai. I think there are a lot of things for us to learn about interfacing with the immense God of creation.

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  3. Soo Fee says:

    I am delighted to know that there is a unique form of worship for each gender, RG and individual – that brings out the best of our relationship with God. God designed us for worship and this is also the primary purpose behind the creation of mankind. Ultimately when we get to heaven, we will be worshipping Him day and night. What a happy time it will be. I truly love worshipping the Lord; be it corporate worship or private worship (sometimes just soaking in His presence) – that’s the place where my spirit connects to His spirit and draw strength. Somehow I believe there ought to be more …… It would be awesome if we can experience the equivalent kind of worship the twenty four elders have in heaven….

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  4. eva says:

    On Last Thursday I was having a day of rejection in epic magnitued even for me. As I was on my way home in the car with tears streamng down my face, I said Father, I need you to come into this situation and help me because you are my only source and I have no earthly idea what I am going to do. I felt a peace wash over me and I began to sing worhsip songs. When I got home I was drawn to my place with HIM and as I sat their still crying, I felt a strong nudge to read Psalm 91 so I read it out loud to myself tearn still streaming down my face and wondered what in the world did worship have to do with the pain in my soul that was more than I could bear, and threatened to take my breath away. Now I know, He wanted me to worship even in the pain that is beyond my ability to tolerate. Interestingly enough this emotional melt down did not last for very long and my recovery was relatively quick, I am sure that is was due to the worhsip. Thanks for sharing. I am still in and praying for your light as well as mine.

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  5. Dayle says:

    Although female, I prefer worshipping on my own, even though I attend a church with amazing worship, I find it an effort at times to engage with it. Yet at home, on my own, my spirit can soar into worship with a liberality unfettered by those around me but there is more, higher deeper places in worship to explore so my prayer for you and your team, and for me is that we don’t settle for what we have experienced but run to embrace the new places that God wants to invite us to.

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  6. Caroline says:

    If you’re referring to manly worship in a corporate setting such as Sunday church service (for worship isn’t confined only to that setting, is it?), I’ve experienced a man shouting out, no, maybe yelling declarations of praise to God in the midst of a silent space in corporate worship. It fit. It brought the worship to a different place. I wonder if the higher pitch and less resonate voice of a woman would have the same effect.

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    • SLG says:

      Ah, but Caroline, what if we were to take worship out of the building, out of the Sunday morning setting. You see, your presupposition is still female. Women worship most naturally in a planned corporate setting and men worship most naturally in a spontaneous setting, and in a very small group or alone.

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      • Caroline says:

        I completely agree – worship is much, much more than the planned Sunday morning corporate worship time. I would define worship simply as something from myself that I do for another to show their immense value to me even (especially?) at cost to myself. So, examples of manly worship that first came to my mind were building a cathedral and writing a symphony. But, as you say, I speak from the outside. Perhaps better to let the men folk express their view.
        Interesting to read the thread below with snoopsparky and the different views of worship – “adventurous interaction of intimacy and presence ” and celebration.

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  7. snoopsparky says:

    I couldn’t help but make the observation regarding ALL the previous comments; they are all women. And that is truly a wonderful thing. You speak of a gender specific worship experience, though, and my heart has to stop and seriously shift gears before I can settle down to some genuine honesty as to what that could possibly be like. So I ask myself what would really get this eagle up to a worship atmosphere that I could truly appreciate as a man. It has nothing to do with demonstration per se and much to do with that adventurous interaction of intimacy and presence on a scale where heaven has touched the natural realm with intense energy and deep peace [shalom]. I picture it being a place where anything is possible and the awe of who my God is becomes clearer, fragrant and even tangible. According to 1 Cor. 2:9, Papa has prepared things to experience that have not even entered the heart of man. Whatever my imagination can picture is meager pickings compared to what can be. Nonetheless, I consider my daily time with Him beautifully transformational. Yet, I hunger for more……….Jim

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    • SLG says:

      I agree, Jim. The message of the gospel is two fold. We are all male — sons of God; we are all female — Bride of Christ. But the message that has been preached is primarily female. And it becomes a circular dynamic. Because more women than men come to church, pastors preach a female presentation of the gospel. Because pastors preach a female presentation of the gospel, more women come to church.

      It has been very interesting to follow the trail of male worship through Scripture and see how little of it fits within the walls of the established structures of religion.

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      • snoopsparky says:

        Arthur, have you done anything on this that I can explore? I think you have stirred something that will get me searching even if you don’t.

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        • SLG says:

          I am working on it now. I am about a year out from having anything. So you dig in. Start with all the males in Scripture and see how they worshipped. There is a lot of grunt work involved, but it is not complicated.

          Then look at our culture and see how non-religious men celebrate (another word for worship) secular things.

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          • Renate says:

            We have experienced Christian men in the Pacific islands worship God with an abandon, passion, strength, loud shouts that were a mix of a war cry and joy, loud powerful drum beats, and their redeemed ancient dances that had nothing feminine about them. I treasure those experiences and miss them since we live in western part of the world again… There is a Christian group in Hawaii, called Island Breeze, that has taken traditional cultural dances and customs and redeemed them into a powerful form of worship. And each time they do their regular Luau performances for the tourists they worship Yahweh and proclaim Him.

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          • snoopsparky says:

            I took the opportunity to re-read the entire article following a unique pain storm that can only be addressed with the help of “EL Nino” and His Holy Spirit. The circumstances are probably irrelevant; although it doesn’t feel like it; so I won’t labor that part. The pain and frustration brought me to an extended time alone with the Lord. As I let Him into the core issues and the people involved, I sought His help in making sense of it all. In time, I began to understand that He could use this difficult moment to bring something good for all parties if I could walk this through with his heart as my heart. Within a short time a mild fire began to ignite within me and grew as the evening progressed. Inside that fire is the love He has for all and His desire to reconcile these situations with grace.

            The experience could not be described as an “extreme” worship demonstration. It was quiet, intimate, tangible and revealing. Perhaps the freedom to celebrate lavishly will come when the results show His handiwork. Regardless, the pain did not win this one.
            Jim

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      • jewestaway says:

        Re male/female worship…
        Last fortnight I was recipient of several prophetic ministries with banners whilst at a retreat. One occasion I was prophetically draped with a silk banner with the Lion of Judah Roaring. It affected me greatly. Me?
        Later, out on a grassy hillside, as an exercise, we were to watch for the anointing, move to where it was, then to follow what the one carrying the anointing was doing. Mostly it was waving the banners in different beautiful patterns or running in victory circles that I couldn’t join in! Then when I got ‘me’ and my disappointment out of the way (limited mobility and using wheelie-walker, with pain in knee) the anointing came on me! They all came running with banners up and ready to follow my lead.
        Picture this, silver-haired woman, tears flowing, with one hand on walker, the other holding the banner on its pole, in victor stance… and then out of deep within came this roar! Yes, I began to roar and ROAR! That roar was taken up and echoed around the hillsides! The Lion of the Tribe of Judah roaring! Strength and authority! As one! Awesome! Tingling! Every iron filing being drawn heavenward! Roar!
        Then the anointing shifted…
        Question: Was that what you were referring to- a transition from female to male worship?
        Joan

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  8. Ruth Allison says:

    Dear Arthur,

    Your heart felt prayer at the end really resonated with me. Thanks, God!

    Re manly worship – would it help to investigate how Messianic men worship? They have their Jewish heritage, and now love Yeshua.

    God bless,

    Ruth Allison

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  9. Sonia says:

    Excellent prayer Arthur. So I concede the paradox I have been in for several weeks. To want what He wants for me as He moves me into my birthright and yet scream other things in pain. The last line of your prayer has moved me tremendously. This prayer is powerful Arthur for worship as well. We have begun recently as a family to make time to just be with Jesus. We are keenly interested in what He is saying to each of us and what He wants to do with us. This is a first for a family activity for our family. We are still growing as a healthy family who loves and worships God. As an act of worship, I invite Him and His light to invade our home. At first it was as a cartoon bubble filled with colors and fragrance of a garden in Eden bursting into our home. It is now invading our time, our relationships and our activities. This is the area we are exploring worship right now. We are growing in intimacy as a family.

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  10. Caroline says:

    Walking with you on this journey and find much help for my self, too.
    Hebrews12 & 13 has come to mind as I read this week’s post and is adding dimension to my prayers for this week.

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  11. Serina says:

    I like what you say about these two very different places ” the transformational desert encounter and the ultimate place of worship that is an exquisite match for my design in the long run”.
    I come into agreement and pray.

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  12. K8 says:

    Odd.  I cannot relate.  I cling to Papa when I’m hurting……more desperately than I can explain.  R.O.T.C. Is easier for me when I feel or see or sense pain.  I guess I am weird.  To rely on, obey, trust and cling to the Lord is what I’ve spent 15 years doing in increasing intensity/circumstances…even if to you (and me at times) it seems I have built very little else.  I trust God and wait on Him continually surrendered.  

     For the first time I feel it would be wrong to pray or agree with what you’ve highlighted so I will continue to believe God for light…and am rooting and cheering for bigger great things than you all can imagine.  

    I bless you, Arthur, to be in receiver mode fully…submitting in excruciating simplicity.  May purification occur.  May your eyes be lifted up…

    You all are loved and precious!!  I am so honored to be anywhere near…what an exciting time!

    I believe God.

    Kate

    P.s.  I am curious what the Egyptians parallel in your world…and wonder about a good many other things.

    Sent from Samsung tablet

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  13. This is so true. It makes me feel joy and excitement at what is right and what God desires, and makes me think deeply about my own reaction to the times of pain. It will be a privilege to pray this for SLG and to know it will grow my own heart as well. I am really looking forward to the wine that will pour forth on the topic of worship!

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  14. Pamela says:

    I recently watched your YouTube video about intimacy and worship and how most of us have kept it in our small frames. It coincides well with part of this week’s post. This post challenges me to break out of my frames and give G-d permission to mess with me both in laying down my pain but also to experience a string of worship that’s never played before in my ears. I want to be frame free and let Him shine however He wants, whenever He wants and I choose to receive whatever facet(s) of Himself He wants to reveal. Oh this makes my heart do back flips because I’m so hungry to know Him. My pain pales in His face anyway, why wouldn’t I want to lay it down? It doesn’t seem easy at first to do that honestly, but if I stop to think about Him, it’s like the song…those things grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.

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    • SLG says:

      Hmm. . . I think your success is killing you. You have experienced extraordinary worship, lost it, and long to get back to it. That is reasonable. But what if God wants to take you to a different destination in worship, not the last one? It would not diminish your exceptional history in worship for God to take you to a completely new place.

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      • Pamela says:

        Exactly, that’s what I’m after. The, new, different place where I’ve never been. I know how to get where I’ve been, but I want to know Him in a way I haven’t before.

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      • Lillian says:

        Thanks Arthur for the post but even more for this reply…I am at a place where I long, with everything within me, to go back to where I experienced extraordinary worship. I keep getting close but not to the the exact place and get disappointed…unaware that He may desire to take me to a different destination.

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  15. Wendy Dermott says:

    Yes, Lord! Revolutionize and expand our worship. Maximize our response by aligning our worship expression with our design!

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  16. Hollis Kirkpatrick says:

    Yes, an encounter of Your own design!!!

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  17. Kim Holland says:

    I have been pondering and praying through this verse since late last year, and recently had to repent of pleading for His light and truth as a way OUT of my circumstances, rather than as a way IN to His presence. “A transformational desert experience”…such a heady statement! As I read this post, my soul shied away, while my spirit cried “YES!!” I stand in agreement with my spirit, and pray that Father would ignore my cries for peace, transforming them into cravings for His presence (no matter the testing of the desert). May He take us to the place on His holy mountain where we recognize (can truly SEE) the place where he dwells, and He would be our joy and delight (verse 4)….

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  18. Kunle says:

    Amen!

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