Some years ago while teaching a class in a Bible School I was struck by a verse that I had read more times than I knew. I even had it highlighted in my Bible. But that night it spoke to me like it never had before. It is the transition verse of a very familiar text. It is from the story during the ministry of Jesus in Luke’s Gospel where the four men let their friend down into the house through the roof. “And it came about one day that He was teaching; and there were some Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting there, who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem; and the power of the Lord was present for Him to perform healing.” Luke 5:17 NASB (Emphasis Mine)
I want to focus on the last phrase of that verse, THE POWER OF THE LORD WAS PRESENT FOR HIM TO PERFORM HEALING. We need to realize that there are times that the power of the Lord is present. It is not always present. If it were the Scripture would not have specified that it was present at this time. Now you may say that the Lord is omnipresent so there is never a time when His presence is not there. In this article we are drawing a distinction between the omnipresence of God and the manifest presence of God. They are not one and the same. The miraculous power of God to deliver, heal, and set free does not come with His omnipresence, but with His manifest presence. Unfortunately it has been my experience that many times when the power of the Lord is present, people don’t receive and get their needs met because they have not learned how to place a demand on the power of God.
There are three things that we as believers must learn about the power of God. 1. The power of God (or anointing, or manifest presence of God) can be stronger or weaker at any given time. 2. When the power of God (or manifest presence, or anointing) is present, there is a flow in the realm of the Spirit that we must cooperate with (or flow with). 3. How well we flow with the move of the Spirit will have a direct bearing on the strength of the power present.
I have learned through the last 37 years of ministry that I can be more or less anointed at any given time. The more time I spend in the Word, the more time I spend in prayer, the more time I spend in meditation, the more anointed I am. The less time I spend in the Word, the less time I spend in prayer, the less time I spend in meditation, the less anointed I am.
So it is in our corporate settings of worship. There are things that we can do to bring a stronger anointing or presence of God into our meetings, just as there are things we can do to experience a stronger anointing personally. We must learn to follow the flow of the Spirit. In the Old Testament the children of Israel had to follow the pillar of cloud and the pillar of fire, which represent the presence of God. One time while teaching along this same line something came out of my mouth I did not plan on saying, but it was definitely by the inspiration of the Spirit:
“The first notice we have of the Spirit is in Genesis chapter one and we are told that He was moving. The Spirit is always moving but not always the same way. When the cloud moved, Israel moved. When the fire moved, Israel moved. As the Spirit moves in our services, however He chooses to (which won’t always be the same way), we must move with that move. What we are talking about is maintaining the strong presence of God (or anointing, or glory of God). If the presence is moving and we don’t move with it, we end up with ICHABOD (which means the glory has departed).”
Not only must we learn to recognize the strong presence of God and to cooperate with it so that it intensifies, but we must also learn to place a demand upon it in order to receive the benefit of it. I’m sure you have been in services like I have through the years where you might say that the presence of God was so strong that you could have cut it with a knife. Yet many times in that kind of atmosphere, dear saints of God leave exactly as they came not receiving from the power that was present, simply because they have not learned to place a demand on the power of God. Nothing bothers me more than to see people not get their needs met, especially when the power of the Lord was present to heal, deliver and set free.
Placing a demand on the power of God is not a hard thing to do once you are taught how. We can learn a great deal from both those that received and those who did not receive during the earthly ministry of Jesus. Jesus was anointed by the Spirit without measure (John 3:34) and we by measure, and yet there were times that even Jesus had people who did not receive. “And He did not do many works of power there, because of their unbelief-their lack of faith…” Matthew 13:58 AMP “And He was not able to do even one work of power there, except that He laid His hands on a few sickly people [and] cured them.” Mark 6:5 AMP Another translation of this verse in Mark says: “…a few sick folks with minor ailments…”
From these verses we can conclude then that unbelief will keep us from receiving. Therefore the opposite must be the way to receive. We must receive by faith. Let us consider the woman with the issue of blood in Mark chapter 5. “And He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace and be healed of your affliction.’” Mark 5:34 NASB Notice that Jesus did not say that it was the power or virtue that went out of Him that made her whole, although we know that if the power did not go out of Him she would not have been made whole, He said that it was HER FAITH THAT MADE HER WELL!
In this story we see the principles of faith in operation. 1. She heard of Jesus (faith comes by hearing Romans 10:17). 2. She pushed her way through the crowd (faith without works is dead James 2:17 & 26). 3. For she was saying (verse 28, literal Greek translation of word thought) (whoever says to mountain Mark 11:23). Faith always is the way to place a demand on the power of God. Let us go back to the story of the four men and their friend in Luke chapter 5 for a moment. “And seeing their faith, He said, ‘Friend, your sins are forgiven you.’” Luke 5:20 NASB (Emphasis Mine) Notice the thing that Jesus took notice of was the faith of the four friends who put it into action by ripping off the roof. Without exercising faith we cannot place a demand on the power of God because: “…Without faith it is impossible to please Him…” Hebrews 11:6 NASB
Faith is simply an expectation. Many times even though the power is present we have no expectation and therefore do not receive. Some people won’t even go forward in a prayer line to receive because they have no expectation. Others go and do not receive because they do not know how to receive of the power being administered. We must learn to cooperate with the power of God to receive from it.
Some stand there like a statue made of stone not even open to the power of God and then wonder why they don’t receive. They shouldn’t even waste the preacher’s time or their own for that matter, and remain seated. Some come forward and pray in tongues harder faster and louder than the preacher, and thus also don’t receive. If you are giving out of your spirit by praying in tongues you can’t receive what God is trying to give you. You can’t give out and take in at the same time. That is like trying to pour water into and out of a pitcher at the same time, it does not work.
Receiving from the power of God like trying to drink a milkshake through a straw when the milkshake is too thick, you want that milkshake really bad so you draw on that straw with all your might to take it into you. You need to do the same thing with the power of God. You need to want it just as much as you want that milkshake and with all that is within you, draw it into you.
In conclusion, we must recognize the presence of the Lord when it is there. We must learn to cooperate with that presence and flow with the flow of the Spirit at that moment to avoid ICHABOD. We must have expectancy and place a demand on that power in order to receive the benefit of it. This article is by no means an exhaustive study on this subject, but let it stir your heart to deeper study and meditation in this area so that you will always receive because you have learned to place a demand on the power of God.