The psalmist David writes, “Do not banish me from your presence, and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me” (Psalm 51:11, NLT). We know that God is omnipresent, but His manifest presence is something else altogether. It is the reason why so many worship services open with choruses imploring the Holy Spirit to come down and make His presence known. David is saying here, “Lord, I need Your presence, not just today but tomorrow. I don’t want it to diminish because I don’t want to return to my lukewarm ways. Please, God, don’t take Your Holy Spirit from me. Stay with me once I finish worshiping You.”
We all know what this is like. At church and in our fellowship with others, we may know God’s manifest presence. Inner sparks fly, bringing a sense of fresh, new life and we weep for God to stir us that way every hour of the day. Yet the spark wanes as days pass and we are bombarded by job demands, family obligations, and bills that consume and overwhelm us.
I fall into this cycle every September at our ministry’s EXPECT Conference. I am moved and inspired by the godly leaders who speak here, their powerful messages driving me to my knees. Yet last September I made a bold prayer to God: “Lord, if You are not going to sustain the spark, don’t give me one.”
I was tired of the roller coaster, of being sparked without a flame to sustain it, of being on a mountaintop one week only to descend to drudgery the next. So I asked, “God, whatever flame You spark in me, let it grow more and more intense. Give me a loyal spirit, as David said. If you give me a spark, turn it into a torch!” God has sustained that flame these past months. The church I lead now has a pastor who burns with prayer for his people. I may not be able to take everyone to coffee or play golf with them, but I have a loyal spirit that intercedes for them day and night to see their lives become all they can be for Jesus.