Last year my Word for the year was “DELIGHT”. I so enjoyed delighting and figured there was so much more for me to experience that I was expecting I would stick with the same word for 2017.
As I prayed and meditated on it last week I stumbled across a line in a prayer I read:
“If I’m going to be in a hurry about one thing this year, may it be to linger longer in Your Presence. Everything else will fall into place.”1
I stopped. Re-read this line a few more times as I prayed and then I had a new Word for 2017. Can you guess what it is?
It’s a great word. How much do we enjoy lingering on a great cup of coffee or fabulous dessert or a piece of music? But how much time do we spend simply lingering in the Lord’s Presence to savor Him? Not what He can give us but Him, His face, His person.
Those who lingered
As I reflected more on that line above, people in the Bible who spent time lingering in His Presence came to mind.
“And it came to pass, when Moses entered the tabernacle, that the pillar of cloud descended and stood at the door of the tabernacle, and the Lord talked with Moses. All the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the tabernacle door, and all the people rose and worshiped, each man in his tent door. So the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. And he would return to the camp, but his servant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, did not depart from the tabernacle.” (Exodus 33:9-11 NKJV)
Joshua lingered in the tabernacle (nee: tent). Even when Moses, his mentor, left it. It changed him. So much so it was Joshua, and not Moses, who received the honour of leading the Israelites into the Promised Land.
“Now there was one, Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, and had lived with a husband seven years from her virginity; and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years,[a] who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. And coming in that instant she gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem.” (Luke 2:36-38 NKJV)
These are the only three verses in the Bible about Anna. She was a woman who lingered in the temple. And served God with fasting and praying. The Lord honoured her by allowing her to see Jesus, the infant.
Mary of Bethany
“Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word.” (Luke 10: 38-39 NKJV)
Mary lingered at Jesus’ feet and heard His word.
How can we linger in His Presence?
As we come to next week’s annual New Year prayer and fast what can we do to linger a little longer in His Presence next week and beyond? No doubt you have some ideas but here are a couple:
- When the hunger pangs strike, pray. Even if it’s as simple as saying “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.” Allow His name to change the atmosphere around you so you “forget” your hunger.
- Turn up every morning (or lunchtime or evening) – come often as your mind enjoys the habit of consistency.
- Be silent – I know this can be extremely hard for those of you with kiddies and busy households. But I hope you’re able to find a spot where you can escape for a few moments and simply be quiet. Might be in the car after the school drop-off. Take one or two deep breaths and then quietly say “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus” or similar and allow yourself to linger with your Creator. The one who loves you more than anyone.
- Start small. If this is new to you a few minutes of lingering is good. Don’t feel you need to speak. Simply ask Jesus what’s on His heart. And listen.
Stay in the tent. And enjoy Him.
Let me pray for us all.
Dear Jesus, we love you, we adore you. We consecrate this new year of 2017 to you. We consecrate ourselves, our partners, our marriages and families to you. We consecrate this week of fasting and prayer to You. Let Your kingdom come in our marriages and in our homes – let Your will be done, Lord Jesus. Help us to linger longer in Your Presence and to enjoy the fruits of Your tenderness. We pray this year will be the year our partners come to know you. We love you and love being your sons and daughters. In Your Mighty Name we pray. Amen.
Grace and peace, dear friends. I so look forward to sharing next week with you all and savouring our Lord together. I love reading of other people's Word's of the year and/or verses if you adopt such a practice. Share them in the comments so we can encourage you in your endeavours for 2017.
Notes: 1. “Everyday Prayers”, Scotty Smith, Baker Books, 2011. Pg377.