Step 1: You must be Born-Again
The first step to entering into God’s Presence is to get born again by believing in the resurrection of Jesus and deciding to follow Him with your whole heart.
You see, the Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit is God being present on earth. In other words, the Holy Spirit is the presence of God. [Related article: Is the Presence of God the Holy Spirit? (Biblical Answer)].
Right now, the Father is in Heaven (Matthew 6:9), and the Son – Jesus Christ is in Heaven as well (Mark 16:19). But the Holy Spirit was sent to the Church once Jesus rose from the grave and paid the penalty of all sin. (John 20:19-22)
Now the only way to receive Holy Spirit is to receive salvation from the Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit will come to live on the inside of you.
The Bible makes it clear that no one can receive the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit unless they first accept Jesus Christ as their savior and repent of their sins. (John 14:17)
(Note: this is not referring to the Baptism in the Holy Spirit but the work the Holy Spirit does in the life of a believer the moment they get saved. The Baptism in the Holy Spirit is a separate experience from salvation. I have a whole article on this topic, you can check it out by clicking here).
You see, under the Old Covenant the Bible says that the temple had three sections: the outer courts, the holy place, and the holy of holies.
The outer courts were where the altar was and this is where people sacrificed for their sins. The holy place was where the showbread, the frankincense, and the golden lampstand. This is where the priests would minister to the Lord.
Behind these items was the veil. The veil was basically a thick curtain that separated the holy place from the holy of holies.
Behind that curtain was where the ark of the Covenant was and on this ark were the ten commandments, the Mercy Seat, and a design of two angels. The holy of holies is where God’s Presence dwelt among the children of Israel. In fact, this is where Moses often heard from the Lord (Numbers 7:89).
The High Priest only entered the holy of holies once per year. He did this to sacrifice for the sins of the entire people. No one else could enter there. Only one person could of prestigious status and that was only done once per year.
But now, Jesus died on the cross for us, and then rose from the grave, and the Bible says that He sprinkled His blood on the mercy seat in Heaven and that He did it once and for all. (Please read the book of Hebrews it covers this much more in-depth).
The Bible also says that His flesh was the veil being torn. That when He was getting beaten and crucified for our sins He was ripping that veil that separated us from God.
This is why the Bible says that when he died the veil tore from top to bottom (Matthew 27:51), and that it calls Jesus’ flesh the veil and that we can actually enter into the holy of holies by the new and living way (Hebrews 10:19-20).
I say all of this to say you can not do any of this if you are not born again. If you have not repented and given your life to Christ all of this means nothing to you and you cannot have a relationship with Him.
But if you have given your life to Jesus, then you have access to Him. You have the presence of God on the inside of you by the Holy Spirit and you can now enter God’s presence whenever you engage with Him!
Isn’t that awesome!! What a price Jesus paid for us simply so that we can have a relationship with Him! What an amazing God we serve!
Step 2: Understand that God sees you as righteous
You must start where He finished or you’ll never run well. You must be confident in His ability to make you righteous or you’ll be timid to enter His presence when the Word of God says that we are supposed to come boldly before Him.
Jesus not only paid the price for the veil to be torn and the Holy Spirit to come inside of us, but He paid the price so that we can be free from sin and be righteous before Him.
The Bible says that “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)
In other words, Christ became what we were so that we can become what He is. He never once sinned but yet He became it so that we can be free from it and be righteous just as He is righteous.
And just in case you don’t know, righteousness means that we are right with God. It means that God sees us as if we have never sinned.
This is only possible because the Son of the living God decided to put on human flesh and die the most gruesome and unjust death that ever could be, be buried, and then rise from the grave. All so that you and I can be sons and daughters of the Father once again.
So if you are struggling to have intimacy with God because of past failures, realize this; If you repented of your sin and you are following Jesus, God sees you as if you have never sinned. You’re dealing with an issue that has been totally settled for all eternity. God isn’t even thinking that you’ve done wrong, because Jesus has done so much right!
It would be similar to my daughter not allowing me to love her or to express affection for her because she keeps saying “Sorry daddy. Sorry daddy. Please forgive me, dad.”
If my daughter said that me, all that I’d want to say is, “Sweetie you’ve done nothing wrong! I love you. Now would you come over here and give me a hug!”
God is saying the same thing to us. He sees us as if we have never done wrong. So let’s stop being timid to come to Him. Cause Jesus paid too high of a price for us to be back in the arms of the Father.
Step 3: Engage with Him through praise and worship
The past steps dealt with the requirement to enter God’s presence and the understanding that we should have so that we can enter His presence and have a relationship with Him.
But this step is going to be much more practical. It is going to address, “what do we do to enter His presence?”
To answer that question we are going to first look at how Jesus taught us to pray, then we are going to look at a couple of passages in the Psalms, and then finally we are going to analyze the apostle Paul’s prayer life because the Bible reveals a lot about how Paul entered God’s presence.
Let’s get started.
For starters, Jesus told us exactly how we ought to pray in Matthew 6:9-13. [Related articles: How did Jesus teach us/His disciples to pray? (Explained) and The Lord’s Prayer (Common Questions Answered)].
“In this manner, therefore, pray:
Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”
A couple of things to notice from the passage:
(1) Jesus says, “In this manner, pray.” This shows us that this prayer was not meant to be copied word for word but that it is an outline or a manner of praying.
(2) Jesus starts and ends this prayer with praise and worship by saying “holy is Your name” and “Yours is the Kingdom.”
So how do we enter God’s presence? Through praise and worship.
This isn’t the only passage that reveals this. Psalm 22:3 says that God inhabits the praises of His people. Psalm 100 tells us to enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise and that we are to come before His presence with singing.
Worshiping and praising God through song should be a huge part of everyone’s prayer life.
This is why we can find this in the Apostle Paul’s prayer life so consistently.
We see Paul worship the Lord in prison in Acts 16:25.
“But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them”
We see it again in Acts 13:1-3. The Bible says that they “ministered to the Lord”, which is just another word for worship.
And again in 1 Corinthians 14:15 when he explains how he incorporates speaking in tongues in his private prayer life.
“What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding.”
So, in short, worshipping the Lord through song and thanksgiving is how we enter God’s presence. The more we practice praising Him the nearer His presence will become. (James 4:8) [Related article: How to stay/abide/dwell in the presence of God (4 steps)].