Updated: Jan 16
July 24, 2022
Two mornings ago, I became conscious in that place between sleep and wakefulness and heard my soul speaking and singing, “The practice of all time: lai, lai, lai-lai.” I rose to speak and sing it into my voice recorder, and realized that “lai, lai, lai-lai” was actually “holy, holy, ho-ly.”
In my job, what I do is described as “practice.” So, while I had an understanding of what the word “practice” means, I was uncertain what “the practice of all time” was.
Five nights ago, I was in a discussion online about feeling the presence of God. Apparently, some Christians say it is not possible. Several people gave powerful examples from the Word of prophets who had experienced His presence, such as Daniel. I gave the example of Ezekiel, who was unable to speak for seven days afterwards.
I went to bed but could not sleep. I looked at my phone and saw that someone had cited the verses I was referring to. I looked them up and then read this: “So I arose and went out into the valley, and behold, the glory of the Lord stood there, like the glory that I had seen by the Chebar canal, and I fell on my face.” Ezekiel 3:23.
Something in my spirit immediately knew I needed to go outside – to “go out into the valley.” Although I would normally be asleep by this time at night, I arose and walked out into my backyard. There was so much noise from air conditioners and traffic that I thought, “Lord, this is not the valley. This is the suburbs. I need to move to the country.”
Then suddenly all the noise hushed down to complete silence. I could feel, see, and hear nothing, and I began to pray words of praise and adoration for the Living God, spirit to Spirit. It was as if I was speaking mouth to mouth with Him. It lasted only a moment, but I went inside and laid back down and began praying profusely to the Lord how beautiful He is, to be my obsession again, and how I want Him to be my everything. It poured out of me without any thought or effort whatsoever.
This is the type of prayer John G. Lake referred to when he said, “[T]here is a prayer of your spirit – that deep quality of your life, deeper than the soul. O bless God there is still a prayer where the spirit of man and the Spirit of God unite and become one.”
I shared this with someone I trust the day after it happened. My question was how to get back there. I want to enter that place every time I pray. He said there is a hunger that the Lord honors when we do something outside of our routine with Him.
Yesterday I was thinking about that night, and it became clear to me that this brief moment of prayer I experienced was, indeed, union with God. This is the whole point of existence: complete communion with Him. And I then realized that the “practice of all time” is just that. It is the practice of entering into His presence.
Then yesterday I was taking an afternoon nap, and as I was falling asleep, I heard my soul say, “You can’t jump into the River without religious ecstasy. If you don’t have the second, you didn’t really do the first.”
It puzzled me why my soul said those words. I did not really know (or I did not realize that I knew) what religious ecstasy was. But here is one definition:
“Religious ecstasy is a type of altered state of consciousness characterized by greatly reduced external awareness and expanded interior mental and spiritual awareness, frequently accompanied by visions and emotional euphoria.”
This is what happened to me Tuesday night. I unintentionally entered a brief state of religious ecstasy. Now, all I want is to get back there. I want to enter His presence in that way every time I pray. Lord, is that too much to ask? Jesus, I don’t want to dangle a foot in. I want to be fully immersed and completely submerged in You.
Deep calls to deep
at the roar of your waterfalls;
all your breakers and your waves
have gone over me.
By day the Lord commands his steadfast love,
and at night his song is with me,
a prayer to the God of my life.
- Psalm 42:7-8