Have you ever prayed and felt like nobody was listening? We’ve all experienced this. However, sometimes when we silently meditate and pray from the deepest place of our souls, we feel the presence of God. In the following excerpt from his book The Long Road to Eternity, (available on Amazon) Pastor Timothy W. Ehrlich tells us of a time when he not only felt God’s presence but actually saw God’s presence.
My Religious Kicks
Occasionally, I get on a new religious kick. It could be a new spiritual exercise that I discover and use every day for a month, or a certain thing that I lift up in prayer every day for a time. I mentioned in the experience I shared about healing Annalee that I was on a kick of trying to be filled with the Holy Spirit daily. Other kicks I have been on include using transcendental meditation every morning, serving myself communion every morning and so on. Usually, my spiritual kicks last about one or two months before I get distracted and forget about them or find something new; sometimes they become lifelong daily habits, as was the case for reading the Bible a little bit every day.
In 2007 I was visiting a woman in the hospital and she told me, “I wake up every morning and say, ‘Good morning God, thank you for another day!” Realizing I didn’t greet God first thing in the morning, I decided to do this too. So, for about two months, every morning, upon waking up and before my feet hit the floor, I would say “Good morning God!”
Shouting Down a Rat Hole
For some reason I expected to receive some sort of response back from God; I was waiting for it, but day after day there was nothing, no response at all, not even a feeling like I had been heard. Most of the time when I pray, I can feel something, a “quickening in my spirit” John Wesley would call it. Paul said the Holy Spirit testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and I’ve experienced that dozens of times, but this was a dry spiritual time for me. Not only was there no response from God in the morning, but I was also feeling nothing from God at any time.
As usual, one morning in the middle of January, I woke up and greeted God: “Good morning God!” And I got no response for what I estimated was about the 60th day in a row, and suddenly I became either angry or frustrated. I thought, “I always say hello to God, and he never replies. I feel like He either isn’t there or doesn’t care. I am not feeling anything when I pray. Maybe my prayers are just me shouting down a rat hole and hoping there is someone down there who can hear me, but maybe there isn’t.”
I knew that was a terrible thought and I put it out of my head as quickly as I could; then I got up and went about my day.
God Showed Me His Presence
The next morning, I woke up, and just as in the previous two months, I said “Good morning God.” I was not expecting a reply but to my shock and amazement, when I opened my eyes, God was there as a translucent shimmering silvery substance occupying one side of the room.
When the Holy Spirit descended on me in my upper room in Fire Island the physical sensation was very mild, barely perceptible.
(You can read the Fire Island experience @ Her Rejection Forced My Forgiveness.)
This was different. I felt a very strong physical sense of God’s presence. It was overpowering, I was inside His presence; and His presence permeating me entirely, seemingly altering my physiology; going between and separating the very atoms of my body.
It felt like God’s presence in me had temporarily transformed my body from purely material to a material/spiritual fusion. Like I was a vapor in the form of a body, or even less, a spirit in the form of a body. At the same time, I could feel the power of God’s intellect creating the power of His presence; extending outward to embrace every atom of my being. I knew that my every thought and emotion were as clearly known to God as if they were His. I realized then that His presence with me was a response to my thought the previous day: it was His way of correcting me; of saying to me “Your prayers have been heard the whole time!” I was amazed and terrified and very happy all at the same time.
I thanked God and. I closed my eyes and, for what seemed like a whole minute, I basked in the glow of His presence. When I opened my eyes God’s presence was gone, but the effect of His power on my physiology remained; my atoms were still loose. For the brief period that I was in His presence my physicality had been subsumed by the Spirit and I felt like a ghost, like you could have put your hand right through me, and now that He was gone, I could still feel what that had felt like. The feeling or perhaps it was just the very strong memory of the feeling, of having my molecules loosened by the power of being in the presence of God stuck with me for the rest of the day. And as I said, it was scary.
To say that I am an “unlikely candidate,” and “far from worthy of this honor” is putting it mildly It is amazing that God uses me and has chosen to give me these exceptional blessings of experiences with Him. This was one of the most powerful moments of my life, and naturally I have revisited it again and again in my mind; in fact, in my daily prayers I thank God for allowing me to experience the awesomeness of His presence.
God Knows You
I learned a lesson that day that I will never forget; God truly and always hears every thought and knows the heart and mind of every person. Everything we say to God is prayer is heard by God even when we don’t feel a thing back. He is always and truly as close as the inside of our minds. I will never doubt that again.
God in Christ Jesus
I now have a much better understanding of how the power of God in Christ must have transformed the physics of His body making Him for a time Spirit in the form of a man enabling Jesus to walk on water or how he could appear suddenly in a closed room after his resurrection and how he could use that power to alter molecular structures to enable him to feed 5000 with five loaves of bread and a couple of fish.
God the Creator
As a Christian I believe that God is the creator and source of all the energy in the universe. Scientists tell us that, at its deepest level, all matter is just different forms and arrangements of energy in motion and vibration. So, it makes perfect sense to me that God, the creator of all, has the power to transform the energy in matter into its purest form – spirit – or into some amalgam of physical and spiritual.
About two years after God came to me in my room, I was laying on the same bed thinking about that amazing experience and the thought came to me, “was there any significance to where God was in the room?” I was going through the event in my mind, second by second, searching for clues. I realized when I woke up on that special morning I was on my left side, and I felt his presence behind me and above me, not at the ceiling but more than halfway up the wall as I turned to face Him.
While remembering this and staring at the wall, lost in thought, I found myself looking at a framed lithograph of 19th century Jerusalem by David Roberts entitled The Old City. In the center of that drawing is the Dome of the Rock, the famous Muslim mosque built over the site which was the holy of holies in the original temple. The holy of holies is the place where the Ark of the Covenant was stored and coincidentally the place where Solomon suggested that God would always hear our prayers.(1 Kings 8:44-45).
You can read about many more spiritual experiences had by Pastor Tim and others in the Spiritual Experience category of this Spiritual Meditations blog.
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