Am I a mystic?
A couple of years after my first time of being gone in my prayer life, I mentioned my prayer experiences to another believer. Big mistake!
The supposed spiritual man was kind enough to listen to me before he gave his opinion. “Well, brother, this just doesn’t sound right to me. It sounds new-age or like mysticism. You’d better be careful. You wouldn’t want to get off the well-worn path, would you?” he said.
How could I answer him? I had no clue except to say that my experiences drew me closer to the Lord.
Fortunately, not too long after my discussion with this man, I listened to a teaching by Benny Hinn in which he talked about being in the presence of the Lord. His description of his prayer experiences matched mine almost to a tee. Rather than using the words of “being gone” like I did, he referred to it as “resting in the presence of the Lord where time no longer mattered because the Eternal One was there.” Much better use of scriptural sounding words!
King David talked often about the presence of the Lord in the Psalms:
You make known to me the path of life; in Your presence there is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. (Psalm 16:11)
Cast me not away from Your presence, and take not Your Holy Spirit from me. (Psalm 51:11)
Let us come into His presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to Him with songs of praise! (Psalm 95:2)
But David also used metaphors to describe the presence of the Lord:
You have said, “Seek My face.” My heart says to you, “Your face, LORD, do I seek. Hide not Your face from me. Turn not Your servant away in anger, O You who have been my help. Cast me not off; forsake me not, O God of my salvation! (Psalm 27:8-9)
The Hebrew word paniym is translated into the English word face in these verses, but the same word is translated into the English word presence in numerous other verses.
Today, many believers use the term “intimacy” to describe their relationship with the Lord. Yet, sadly, many critics hate the term because it is not in the Bible. I would guess that believers who use the term “intimacy” are just trying to relate their experiences in the best way they know how as I did when I used “being gone” as a young Christian.
(Continued in Part 4…the full series to date can be read here.)