December 30, 2011

Throne, Temple, Tabernacle

Oh the irony of reading books about prayer!

Having read at least five myself, I realize five books later that every one left me beyond unsatisfied. What am I searching for when I read books about prayer that prayer itself does not generously grant? What can any author say that surpasses the sanctity of solemn communion with God between just Him and me alone?

If a position became available as a humble servant in the Lord’s Heavenly throne room, a face-to-face, behind-the-scenes job, would you want it? “Of course!” you say, “What a privilege and an honor!” For the truth is, there is an opening and there is no competition for the position.

“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)

I confess, when I pray, I visualize God’s throne room. I see a grand, open door which beckons me forward. I humble myself, block out the temporal world and allow my faith to transport me into a throne room of brilliance. Once the open door is behind me, I stand in a room filled with warmth and light. I see the glassy floor, but the radiance within the room is reflecting off of it so that I can not see the color or the design upon it. There are walls and high ceilings, but both are far beyond my peripheral vision and I am so enthralled by the glow emitting from the opposite end of the room that I do not steer my gaze away even for a moment to see how high or how wide the room is. I am confident, without question, that within the exuberant light at the far end of the room the Lord sits on a throne with Jesus seated to His right, yet they can not be seen. His glory is so magnificent that I can only step a few feet into the room before I am completely engulfed by it.

And then the magic sets in . . . I step in to His glory and He steps in to me.

I need not move one inch closer because the Holy Spirit within me rises up in union with the Lord on His throne. I find that the God in my view is actually closer than my own skin . . . for His voice is in my head, His heart beats in my chest, His tears flow from my eyes. My body can not contain the intimacy of such holiness, and I tremble and cry beyond control. As I speak my requests I likewise experience His hearing of those requests, for my ears hear as He is hearing. It is almost like we are fused together; I purge and receive simultaneously. If my burden is great, I find both my arms extended forward, palms open and outstretched, desperate to entrust the burdens in hand to my helpful Lord, just as a frantic mother would charge forward with a dying child in her arms as she enters an emergency room. My heartfelt plea steals the Lord’s undivided attention and I am promised all will be well regardless of the final result, for my cry has not been neglected. And so, I am comforted. I can not describe it any other way.

“Know you not that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?“ (1 Corinthians 3:16)

I have no secret code, ticket or key to grant you passage into such an encounter. I have only found myself in this place by God’s generous will. But I can say that the invitation to “come boldly unto the throne of grace” is given to each of us. Without reading the Bible literally and developing an uncompromising faith in God’s written Word such encounters are impossible. Faith is the portal.

I encourage you to prove to the Lord that He has no competition for your attention. Present yourself in private without reserve before His throne through prayer. No sin can be hovering over your head. No “to-do” list can be in the back of your mind. No time constraint can be tapping its foot at the door. Enter . . . trepidaciously . . . in an attitude of confession . . . and in proper reverence. Hold nothing back.

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13)

“In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried unto my God: He heard my voice out of His temple, and my cry came before Him, even into His ears.” (Psalm 18:6, II Samuel 22:7)

“And I heard a great voice out of Heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God.” (Revelation 21:3)

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