The place of worship is a place of covenant with God, as a meeting point and encounter with the presence of God. Going there shows a call to encounter the presence of God.

You shall make an altar of earth for me and sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and your peace offerings, your sheep and your oxen. In every place where I cause my name to be remembered I will come to you and bless you.” Exodus 20:24

May your eyes be open night and day toward this house, the place of which you have said, ‘My name shall be there,’ that you may listen to the prayer that your servant offers toward this place.” 1 Kings 8:29

And the Lord said to him, ‘I have heard your prayer and your plea, which you have made before me. I have consecrated this house that you have built, by putting my name there forever. My eyes and my heart will be there for all time.‘” 1 Kings 9:3

In the place set apart for prayer, there is a covenant created with the presence of God. Thus, even at home, if you have a place of prayer or even a seat where you sit to meditate on the Word of God, you will notice that every time you engage there, there is a calling of the presence of God. We also find this reality in the church, temple, or building dedicated to God.

Going to the temple even on a day when there is no prayer can lead to experiencing the manifestation of the presence of God, as it is a place of covenant with His presence. It is good sometimes to go to the temple to pray. Some situations require our presence in the temple and cannot be addressed in our homes. It is true that nowadays, people prefer to attend services at home, online, etc.

But as much as possible, let us set our feet in the temple, a place dedicated not only for prayer but also for answered prayers. I remember a woman who, for three months, came to pray for her husband every morning, touching the door of our temple. In response to her prayer, her husband was promoted to a high position in a multinational corporation. Her husband didn’t have very high qualifications for that position, but the miracle happened. This woman knew how to enter into the presence of God through the place of prayer.

The Bible tells us about Jacob, who had to enter the place of prayer for the spiritual restoration of his family. Indeed, Jacob experienced a great visitation from God as he fled from his brother’s anger. One day, he fell asleep in a place and had a mysterious dream through which he realized that the presence of God was in that place.

He named that place Bethel. Jacob said to himself, “Does God really have a house? Is this truly the house of God? If so, this is where I must make vows to God.”

Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, ‘Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it.’ He was afraid and said, ‘How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven.’ Early the next morning Jacob took the stone he had placed under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on top of it. He called that place Bethel, though the city used to be called Luz. Then Jacob made a vow, saying, ‘If God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I am taking and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear so that I return safely to my father’s household, then the Lord will be my God and this stone that I have set up as a pillar will be God’s house, and of all that you give me I will give you a tenth.‘” Genesis 28:16-22

For Jacob, the house of God is the gate of heaven. We can understand that it is the place where the gate to the presence of God is found. Therefore, one can enter into the presence of God through the place of prayer.

Years after the visitation at Bethel, Jacob found himself in Shechem facing a troubling situation. His daughter Dinah had been violated by Shechem, the son of Hamor. In revenge for their sister, Simeon and Levi killed Hamor and Shechem his son and plundered the city. Jacob was very afraid. What should he do? God commanded Jacob to go back to Bethel, the place of the revelation of God’s presence.

Then God said to Jacob, ‘Go up to Bethel and settle there, and build an altar there to God, who appeared to you when you were fleeing from your brother Esau.

So Jacob and all the people with him came to Luz (that is, Bethel) in the land of Canaan. There he built an altar, and he called the place El-Bethel, because it was there that God revealed himself to him when he was fleeing from his brother.” Genesis 35:1, 6-7

Bethel had been forgotten. Yet, it is the place of the presence of God. Jacob had to enter into the presence of God through the place of prayer, through the place of God’s presence.


This text is an extract from the book “Being present in the presence of God” written by Don Yves Kisukulu K.

We invite you to read the following article “Staying in the presence of God“.

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