Glory Nights, Waiting on the Lord and What to Expect

With our hearts sprinkled clean of a bad conscience (Heb. 10:22; cf. see previous article) we aim to wait on the Lord together unto his glory manifesting among us. This is our agenda. Other than that there won’t be much teaching and there will be a lot of simple intentional choruses for us to sing together as we go before him in anticipation of his drawing near.

Many of our gatherings are centered around either the speaker, a theme, or the congregation. Our aim is for this gathering to be about Jesus, encountering Jesus (by the Spirit), and just loving and adoring Jesus alone. So here are some directives we perceive may be helpful in setting healthy expectations for Glory Nights:


Like Ruth Ward Heflin taught, “Praise until the spirit of worship comes, worship until the glory comes, then stand in the glory.” This sums it up! This isn’t just a prophetic action plan but a biblical one. If we look at the tabernacle and later the temple we see the priests exercising this.

In the outer area the priest would offer sacrifices for guilt and sin before entering the tabernacle. However according to the New Covenant (in Christ and by the Spirit) we have no need to offer any physical sacrifices because of Jesus’ once and for all sacrifice on our behalf (Jn. 13-17; Eph. 2-3; Heb. 9-10). Therefore I think Psalm 100 helps us to know the proper way to enter in, “1 Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth. 2 Serve the LORD with gladness; Come before Him with joyful singing.” This is a beautiful and simple command. As we draw near we ought to come before him joyfully shouting or singing! Everyone may not be able to sing like [insert your favorite vocal artist here], but we can all join the chorus with simple and joyful melodies and phrases.  

According to Psalm 100 this joyful shouting, singing, and glad service is inspired by knowing God. “3 Know that the LORD Himself is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.” This is about our confidence in him as our Lord and God, as our Designer and not ourselves. This is a deep-seated trust as his people. We have entered the gate, that is through His Son, and are considered by him sheep of his pasture, those he has committed to protect, lead, guide, wash and help (Psa. 23; Jn. 10). This is a reason to be full of joy, serve gladly and come before him with happy singing!

Psalm 100 doesn’t stop there. It goes on to command that the joyful shouting, singing, and glad service are to be that of praise and thanks, “4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!” Praise for who He is (our Shepherd, the God and Creator of all things, our Redeemer), thanks for his attributes revealed in what he has done for us, “5 For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.”

The outer courts is an encounter with the Cross and how it informs us about God. This is a good time to practice remembrance, meditate on truths of scripture and ascribe glory to the Lord in any way we can offer. The appropriate response to those who have come to eternally benefit because Jesus and his sacrifice is to praise him and thank him, as we draw nearer still by him.


The tabernacle had only one entrance. Upon entering, a priest would be in the Holy Place, where there were three articles of furniture: the golden lampstand, the table for the bread of his presence, and the altar of incense. I like to see the Holy Place as an encounter with the Holy Spirit, his gifts, insight, and leadership in worshipping and waiting on the Lord.  A favorite of mine is when the Holy Spirit shepherds us with wisdom and understanding, helping us to respond appropriately to the word of the Lord, and guiding us through the three stations as we draw nearer still.

The first station is the golden lampstand. This may signify the seven workings of the Holy Spirit (Isa. 11:1-3). This is all available to us through Christ and we get to yield and readily obey him as he works all his gifts through us for the common good (1 Cor. 12:4-7). The golden lampstand stood as a permanent reminder that God is the giver of all life. I think this is apt considering what Paul states of the Spirit, “5…our sufficiency is from God, 6 who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life…17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. (2 Cor. 3:5-6,17-18)

The second station is the table for the beard of his presence. I would say this works hand in hand with the golden lampstand. It is by the light and life of the Spirit that we are able to discern the presence of God in his Word. Over the last few years I’ve enjoyed stating, “The word of God is best read under candle light.” The beard of his presence symbolized God’s provision for His people in the wilderness. Jesus would state, I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst... 47 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. 50 This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh. (Jn. 6:35, 47-51)

Jesus states that the bread that reminded the people of God’s provision was really about him and how through his atoning death God is providing salvation for all who would believe. By the Holy Spirit the atonement comes into focus. When we are in the Holy Place, I have seen the Lord often pour out great clarity and gratefulness for the cross and God’s offering of his Son so that we may draw near and know him intimately. Often time, if there is still any sin that we haven’t dealt with the Holy Spirit will mercifully enlighten our hearts to it and gently lead us through confession and repentance (Zec. 12:10;13:1) This is important as it leads us to the next station.

The last station is the altar of incense. From this station rose a scent that filled the air reminding the people that their prayers were heard by God. In Revelation there is a heavenly altar of incense and golden bowls offered to the Lord which are said to be filled with the “the prayers of the saints” (Rev. 5:8;8:3) David exclaims, “Let my prayer be counted as incense before you, and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice!” (Psa. 141:2) I often can tell when we are at the altar of incense (so to speak) as The Holy Spirit leads us in prayerful worship. Usually most of the prayers are filled with affection and tend to focus on offering ourselves to him and asking the Lord to draw even closer and manifest himself to us even more. When we have come to this point before in previous gatherings, we've heard reports of those who smell a smoke or fragrance suddenly fill the air.

There is a curious fact about the altar of incense that I appreciate: the altar was considered a part of the holy of holies, however due to the constant upkeep it was placed just outside of where the glory dwelt. I appreciate it, because I have noticed when we are at the altar of incense the Holy Spirit rests on us while we pray and worship (often in my experiences like waves in ebbs and flows). The priorities of the Holy Spirit is sincere faith and instant obedience in the fear of the Lord. Do nothing to disrupt his leading and guidance. Do nothing to quench or grieve him. Do nothing to displease or insult him. Treat him and follow him carefully (Eph, 4:3.;1 Thess. 5:19; Heb. 10:29).

It is here we wait together in worship and prayer for the glory of the Lord to powerfully overtake and/or gently cover us. This is when the resting of the Spirit seems to settle and become like weighty blanket.


Unity is essential. It is important that we come together with one heart and focus. David song of an invitation to go before the Lord together, “I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.” (Psa. 122:1 cf. Isa. 2:3; Mic. 4:2; Zec. 8:21). Psalm 133 witnesses to the Lord’s pleasure in unity, “1 Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!” Paul states that this looks like showing tolerance for another in love, bearing patiently with one another, with all humility and gentleness. When we do this we are “being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Eph. 4:1-3).

This is also a corporate time of seeking, praise, prayer and worship. It is our tendency to join and often times speculate or disconnect by doing our own devotional time. Many times we excuse ourselves from participation due to our personalities and comfort zone. However, the Scriptures do not consult our personalities and comfort zone when it commands us to express worship and praise by shouting and singing (Psa. 100), lifting our hands (Psa. 141:2), clapping hands (Psalm 47:1), bowing down (Psalm 95:6) kneeling (Psalm 95:6) and dancing (Psalm 149:3).

David sings about leading a procession into the house of God, “with glad shouts and songs of praise, a multitude keeping festival” (Psa. 42:4). One of my favorite witnesses is at the dedication of Solomon’s Temple, “11 And when the priests came out of the Holy Place…it was the duty of the trumpeters and singers to make themselves heard in unison in praise and thanksgiving to the LORD ,and when the song was raised, with trumpets and cymbals and other musical instruments, in praise to the LORD, “For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever,” the house, the house of the LORD, was filled with a cloud, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled the house of God (2 Chron. 5:11-14).

Therefore, with hope that through Christ we might draw near and encounter the Lord together, let us make it out duty to draw near in unison. Let us discard all other motives and agendas that would disrupt such oneness. This is not a time to seek to be seen or spectacular. Let us humble ourselves to serve the Lord and one another. Not seeking to take leadership or control but submitting to one another (1 Cor. 12:26-33). Let us set our hearts to diligently stay connected and engaged together in whatever moment we might find ourselves in, affectionately and filled with anticipation for the Spirit to lead us into the glory of the Lord. Let us seek to obey the Scriptures when it says, “But all things must be done properly and in an orderly manner” (1 Cor. 14:40).  

With our hearts sprinkled clean of a bad conscience (Heb. 10:22) we aim to wait on the Lord together unto his glory manifesting among us. This is our agenda. We will praise until the spirit of worship comes, we will worship until the glory comes, then we will stand, dance, kneel, or simply lay in his glory.

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