It was 2001 and I was half-asleep in an early morning breakfast devotional time at an Urban Saints staff conference. Tired voices did their best to sing the Noel Richards classic…

“To be your presence, to sit at your feet
Where your love surrounds me, and makes me complete.
This is my desire oh Lord, this is my desire.”

And as the room descended into silence once more, I had an experience that I’d not had before or since. I had a vision – a day dream if you will. I saw something!

In the vision I was aware that God was sitting on his throne (don’t ask me what He looked like, I was just aware He was on his throne). And then I saw myself, running past God – to and fro. And every time I was close to the throne I drew a breath and simply said ‘Hey God, how are you doing?” and then I’d keep running, to and fro, to and fro, from side to side.

Initially I thought this looked good. I was busy for the Kingdom BUT I was still checking in with God.

Then I heard the voice of the Father say ‘Matt, Stop…Come here…Kneel at my feet…Put your head on my lap…Let me stroke your hair…and whisper in your ear…how much I love you!”

It was an incredible picture of a God who loves intimacy more than anything. He longs to be close to us. He prioritises intimacy more than activity.

I wish I could say that this vision revolutionised my commitment to making space for daily times with God, but my driven nature made that more difficult than I’d imagined. Producing emails or sermons and articles or 1:1 meetings with team members, always clamoured for my time – and somehow felt more productive than prayer moments with the most High God. Crazy, I know!

But I’ve not given up. I’m training not trying. Learning the joy and privilege of starting my day with God. Realising that intimacy with God keeps me focused on the activities that will bear Kingdom fruit. This is what Jesus’ shows us in His own ministry. Regular intimacy with the Father set the direction each day for fruitful activity.

So, let me encourage you to pause afresh. Could To embrace the fact that we’re human ‘beings’ more than we are human ‘doings’ – and that we learn to simply ‘be’ with God.

May God bless you with the gift of intimacy with the Father and, as you embrace that gift, may you hear his gentle whisper “I love you” and the invitation to join Him with what He’s up to.