As I stepped into the sanctuary, I encountered the tangible presence of God. Something was very different. Although the service didn’t start for another half hour, the tangible presence of the Lord greeted me as I entered the room. The place was heavy with His presence. In silence I sat down, wondering what made this place different. There were only a couple people milling around, no music was playing – simply the heavy, weighty presence of God. It was holy, humbling and inviting all at the same time.
The tangible presence of God isn’t abnormal in many churches; however, I have found the presence doesn’t usually arrive until about halfway through praise and worship, or during prayer time. This was the first time I had walked into an empty sanctuary and experienced the presence of God like I did that day. So, what made this place different? This is something we need to discover.
After about a half hour, the praise and worship team came on the stage. I was about to see what made this place different. The praise and worship team didn’t start with music. They didn’t sing. No one made announcements. They began by proclaiming the names of God and His attributes. On and on they went, with one name after another – quoting the name and then who and what that name said about God. The more they declared His name, the weightier the presence of God became. It was awesome. That day, I learned the power in praying and declaring the names of God. From that time on, I have made it a part of my private times of worship.
One may ask, “why does God have so many names anyway?” It almost seems excessive, doesn’t it? Perhaps, until you realize every single name has divine significance. Each individual name describes an attribute of who God is, what He does and what He is all about.
For instance, Yahweh is one of God’s names. It is the name most often used in the Bible. We see it first in Genesis 2. This name describes God, the creator.
When God appeared to Moses in the burning bush, He says of Himself, “I AM WHO I AM … Later, He told Moses to tell Pharoah, “I AM sent you.” What does that mean? To me it means, I am whomever you need me to be to you” (Ex 3:14). Yahweh always has always been, He now is, and He always will be. He is who or what we need Him to be.
If we need a physician, we call a doctor. If we need healing from God, we can call on Jehovah Rapha, the God who heals. Exodus 15:26 says, ““If you diligently heed the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the Lord who heals you.”
If we have need of finances, we often go to the bank or another financial institution. As believers, we can call on the name of Jehovah Jireh. The Lord will provide. “Then they came to the place of which God had told him. And Abraham built an altar there and placed the wood in order; and he bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, upon the wood. And Abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. But the Angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” So, he said, “Here I am.” And He said, “Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now, I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.” Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So, Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son. And Abraham called the name of the place, The-Lord-Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, “In the Mount of the Lord it shall be provided” (Gen 22:9-14.)
If we have need of peace, we can call on Jehovah Shalom. “When Gideon saw he was the angel of the Lord, he said, ‘Alas, O Lord GOD! For now, I have seen the angel face to face. The Lord said to him, Peace to you, do not fear; you shall not die. Then Gideon built an altar there to the LORD and named it The LORD is Peace” (Judg 6:22-24). This is a peace that only comes from God, and it is found in the name Jehovah Shalom.
Adonai, Abba, Jehovah, Yahweh, Elohim…the list goes on and on. God has a plethora of names and attributes, one for whatever we have need of today. He truly is, I AM that I AM.
Do you have the same tangible presence of God I experienced that day in your home? In your office, your church, or your daily life? If not, I encourage you to make room for Him by discovering who He is through the many names and attributes of God.
(orig. published on IFApray.org)