“Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with Praise.”
- Psalm 100:4
I have talked a lot lately about the Presence of God. I have talked about different aspects of His Presence, the importance of His Presence, and hunger for His Presence. In the midst of talking about His Presence, I wanted to take a moment to write about how we actually come into the manifest Presence of God.
There are many aspects to coming into His Presence, but I believe there is one key element that the Bible talks about. Now, there are no formulas to entering the Presence of God, but we are given instructions. Psalm 22:3 says that He, “Inhabits the praises of His people.” The greatest key to unlocking a greater level of the manifest Presence of God in our lives is praise and thanksgiving.
Psalm 100:4 tells us to, “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise.” The “gates” and “courts” the psalmist is talking about here are places in the temple, but the psalmist is not simply talking about geographical locations. The gates are the entrance to the temple courts—the place where the manifest Presence of God dwelt. For many years I simply thought that this verse was giving us commands on what to do as we enter His Presence, when it is actually giving us instructions on how to enter His Presence. Listen to how Dr. Brian Simmons translates this verse from the original Hebrew:
“You can pass through his open gates with the password of praise.
Come right into his presence with thanksgiving.”
The password of praise. Thanksgiving and praise are the keys to the manifest Presence of God. If you want to be a person of God’s presence, practice thankfulness unto Him and praise. Another way that you could translate Psalm 22:3 is that God is “Enthroned upon the praises of His people.” Now, God’s power and authority does not change based on how much we worship Him. He does not gain strength from our praise. Although our worship does not enthrone God in heaven, it does enthrone Him in our lives—giving Him a place to inhabit. True worship gives God an open door to reign and act in our lives. Through worship, we create for Him a throne that He can come and sit upon. When we engage in thanksgiving, praise, and worship, we enthrone God over our circumstances—which is necessary whether our circumstances are peaceful at the moment or tumultuous.
Thanksgiving always leads to greater praise. When we meditate upon the goodness of God and when we steward the testimonies of what He has done in our lives and in the lives of those around us, it ignites praise within our hearts. As we begin to thank Him for what He has done (entering the gates), it opens our eyes to His goodness so that our praise is provoked within us—which takes us deeper and closer to Him… into the courts of His Presence.
Another amazing thing about God’s Presence is that when we enter into it, our perspective changes, our passion is ignited, and we view our circumstances with greater faith. We see this truth backed by the Scriptures in Psalm 73. The psalmist is pouring out his heart before God and confessing his envy of evil men. He is confused and asks God why wicked and proud men prosper. He cannot comprehend it, which causes him to move towards despair. But then something interesting happens in verse 17. The psalmist has been pouring out the troubles of his heart and then suddenly he says,
“When I sought to know this, it was too painful for me;
Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I understood their end.”
Something happened when he entered the sanctuary—when he entered the Presence of God. The goodness of God was reestablished in His heart upon the experience of His glory. The Presence of God always changes our perspective. It changes how we see, how we think, and it changes our very nature.