I posted some quotes from an old Newfrontiers Magazine on "Spirit of God!" a while back and was directed to a blog post by Bob Kauflin which raised the question of how we view worship. What troubled me about that post was the absence of any discussion of the manifest Presence of God. Indeed God is omnipresent but that shouldn't excuse our seeking and hungering for God to manifest Himself in power in our corporate gathering. I have waited for responses to be written to that post but haven't seen any so thought I would do some research of my own and some studying of the Scriptures on my own.
I was interested and encouraged to find a discussion of this exact topic in the New Wine Magazine - November 1974 - between Bob Mumford, Derek Prince and Ken Sumrall. Here is the transcript of what they said;
Question: Why does the Presence of the Holy Spirit seem to be in some gatherings and not in others?
Bob Mumford: For illustration's sake, let us distinguish two types of the Presence of the Lord. As we remarked in question one, it is the same Holy Spirit in varying manifestation. The first type is theologically called omnipresence. Omni means everywhere at the same time. God said it succinctly to the prophet Jeremiah in Jeremiah 23:23-24; "Do I note fill heaven and earth?".
The second type is what may be called the manifest Presence. In our language it would be God, the Holy Spirit choosing to reveal His Presence at one place and at one time in such a way as to be felt, seen, heard or smelled.
When a particular life, group, church or gathering is more spiritually orientated and spiritual unity is in the midst in reality, the Lord sovereignly chooses to manifest His Presence in one way or the other. This is not supposed to be unusual but rather the normal Christian gathering.
Sensative leadership will seek God for hindrances, known and unknown until the Holy Spirit is released to move among us in scriptural freedom.
Derek Prince: Isaiah 40:13 poses the question; "Who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord or being His counsellor hath taught Him?". Viewed objectively it would be ridiculous for us to offer direction, or advice to the Holy Spirit. Yet in practice we often make this mistake. In advance of a meeting, we form our own anticipation or plan or programme for the meeting, and then we follow this out without reference to the Holy Spirit. When we act like this, the Holy Spirit may logically take the attitude; "If you don't need Me, I will move elsewhere!".
In any meeting, we enjoy the Presence and direction of the Holy Spirit in proportion as we yield to Him and follow out His purpose.
All too often a pattern of previous blessing becomes a form of bondage.
E.g; "God blessed us last time when we all reaised our hands and shouted so we'll do that again this time!". Inadvertently we are tricked into seeking a "blessing" rather than seeking the Holy Spirit's purpose.
Ken Sumrall: The Holy Spirit moves and makes His Presence known most in an atmosphere of love. This was made clear to Liberty Church in Pensacola during an all-day fellowship meeting on Labour Day 1966. God's Presence was so real, everyone could sense His nearness.
A prophetic word came forth; "If you will keep the love among you as it is expressed today, you will not need to ask for My manifestation. You could not prevent My manifestation for I reveal Myself in an atmosphere of love and trust".
During the baptism of Jesus the Holy Spirit descended in the form of a dove. As someone said, "The Holy Spirit as a dove descended on Jesus, the lamb as He always descends on those with lamb-like natures". The Holy Spirit is grieved over unchristian attitudes and will not expressly move among groups who harbour "bitterness, wrath, anger, clamour and evil speakings ..." (Ephesians 4:31).
If a group is in harmony and the Holy Spirit is not in evidence it could be that there is a need for unified praise until there is a release from oppression of the enemy or release from timidity and inhibitions. The Lord has promised to inhabit the praises of His people".