Have you ever felt like there must be more to faith than just going to church? Like there’s an underlying current of God’s presence waiting to be tapped into? You’re not alone.
In your spiritual journey, you may have experienced times when God seemed far away or prayer felt dry. You longed to reconnect with His peace, hope, and vision. The good news is there’s a biblical model of prayer that opens up that deeper connection: it’s called soaking worship.
Grounded in Scripture
While the terminology sounds new, the foundations for soaking worship prayer are evident throughout the Bible.
Old Testament Encounters
In Exodus, we read how Moses encountered God’s tangible presence in the burning bush, and then God instructed him to build a tabernacle where He would meet and commune with His people. The very purpose of this holy tent was spiritual encounter.
King David, whom God described as “a man after My own heart” (Acts 13:22), penned multiple Psalms about his deep longing for God’s presence. He valued intimacy with God above any earthly pursuit, praying “One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life” (Psalm 27:4).
Jesus Modeled Listening Prayer
In Luke 10, Jesus visits the home of Mary and Martha. While Martha busies herself with hosting tasks, Mary sits at the Lord’s feet soaking in His teaching. When Martha complains of this, Jesus responds that Mary “has chosen what is better” (Luke 10:42). Similarly, soaking worship chooses the “one thing” that feeds our souls.
Before sending His Spirit to dwell in human hearts, Jesus made a stunning promise about prayer in Luke 11: “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” He invites us not only to ask, but to seek and knock. Soaking worship is a seeking and knocking mode of prayer.
An Ancient Practice for Today
While the specific terminology of “soaking worship” is relatively new, followers of Jesus through history have described similar experiences using terms like:
- Waiting on the Lord
- Tarrying in God’s presence
- Beholding the Lord
- Silent contemplation
- Listening prayer
One powerful example is Brother Lawrence, a 17th century monastery cook who cultivated such a constant awareness of God’s nearness that he could “bless and praise God with all his heart” even while washing dishes!
So What Exactly Is Soaking Worship?
Simply put, soaking worship brings two elements together: adoring God through worship coupled with silent receptivity to His Spirit. These twin focuses distinguish it from other prayer forms.
In worship, we lift our eyes from earthly concerns and distractions to behold the beauty and majesty of God. We were designed to find greatest joy in knowing and expressing our love to God through worship.
In soaking, we quiet our souls, still our striving, and make room to experience more of God. The presence of God refreshes and renews us. As we soak in His unconditional love, the life of Christ flows into places of fatigue or woundedness, bringing wholeness and transformation.
So in this special sanctuary of soaking worship, we release control of the agenda to God. We cease from asking God to bless what we’re doing and instead wait quietly to receive what He wants to do in and through us.
Creating a Soaking Environment
While personal worship provides the foundation, group soaking sessions allow God’s presence to spread in wider ripples. Laying some groundwork goes a long way in creating an atmosphere where people can encounter God without pressure or distraction.
Expect God to show up in power, so make places for folks to sit, lie down, or soak freely. Cushions, pillows, and reclining chairs invite physical ease.
Soaking worship flows best with gentle, meditative music without jarring tempo changes. Instrumentals with layered synth pads and ambient keys help “hold the space” for spiritual connection, while vocals sung prayerfully over top release deeper adoration.
Room to Respond
Provide optional places apart from the group where individuals can process with leaders if they need personal prayer or have an emotional response. Trust the Holy Spirit’s ministry but have a plan to care for people.
Foster an environment where there’s no pressure to have a certain experience. Give loving space for each person’s journey.
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Diving Into His Presence: The Benefits of Soaking
As you carve out this oasis time in God’s presence through soaking worship, you’ll soon discover benefits, both spiritual and natural. Here’s a peek at what you can expect:
Depth of Intimacy
There’s no replacement for simple, relaxed face-to-face time with someone you love. The same goes in our relationship with God! Soaking worship fosters a deeper heart connection as you experience His pleasure in you.
God’s presence brings progressive inner change as we behold the beauty of Jesus. As we soak in God’s unconditional love, places of fatigue, hidden sin, or emotional pain surface, but His grace gently heals and restores them.
Revelation and Vision
God births fresh dreams in the womb of worship! He may speak directly to your spirit, reveal keys in Scripture, or use spontaneous pictures or impressions to share His heart. Soaking postures us to receive.
As you soak in God’s presence, your body releases tension too. Soaking activates your parasympathetic nervous system, lowering blood pressure, heart rate, and stress hormones.
Stewarding Your Experiences Well
While deeply meaningful, soaking worship remains one stream that should flow in balance with other biblical ways we commune with God. Here are some tips:
Stay Rooted in Scripture
Measure every spiritual experience against Scripture. God’s written Word provides the lenses to accurately interpret His voice.
Cultivate Discerning Community
Share what you sense God saying with trusted leaders in your church community. Submission protects you from deception and helps you walk out God’s unique call.
The river of soaking worship invites you into deeper realms of God’s presence. It’s time to dive in! God is calling you to more. As you respond to His invitation, you’ll discover the “width and length and depth and height” of His love (Eph 3:18). The overflow of that vibrant connection will spread His Kingdom near and far.