approach in prayer
What does it look like when I talk to God? If an artist were to capture my encounters with Him, what image would emerge?
. . . two friends sitting in the comfy chairs at Starbucks lost in conversation?
. . . family members talking over the droning TV and ringing phone while surreptitiously responding to emails and texts?
. . . carpoolers slogging along, interjecting angry exclamations at other drivers in the midst of a harried, distracted conversation?
Maybe I’m a little too comfortable. Maybe my posture is a little too nonchalant. Where has my speechless amazement at having an audience with the Creator gone?
Sometimes I do little more than toss a comment over my shoulder on my way out the door. How stunningly different from those who were appropriately awestruck in the presence of God.
There was Isaiah:
. . . I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another:
“Holy, holy, holy
is the Lord God Almighty;
the whole earth is full of his glory.”
At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. (Isaiah 6:1b-4)
And John’s glimpse of glory:
In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures . . . Day and night they never stop saying:
“‘Holy, holy, holy
is the Lord God Almighty,’
who was, and is, and is to come.”
Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say:
“You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.” (Revelation 4:1a, 8c-11)
A stark contrast indeed.
So I’m painting a new mental picture. I’m consciously imagining myself stepping upon the trembling threshold and catching sight, through the smoke, of the train of His robe cascading off the throne and filling the room. And I listen to, and join with, the angels proclaiming, “‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty,’ who was, and is, and is to come.”
And then—once I am fully, reverently before my God—can I “approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that [I] may receive mercy and find grace” (Hebrews 4:16).
His throne hasn’t moved. His love for me has not changed. They are constant. But I, I have moved; I have changed. I am learning to come to Him with newfound awe. The posture of our communion is different.
To the outside observer, perhaps we look more like two people sitting side-by-side on the beach staring at the pounding surf. When we do use words, they are much quieter, less frenetic. We are dwelling in the sanctity of His love and mercy, though the storms of life still rage all about . . . and it is very good.