by Angie Thomas
I was deeply moved as we prayed together on our knees the other week. It was so powerful to hear all the prayers of praise and thanksgiving as we poured out our hearts to Him. I believe it was a taste and a glimpse of what it will be like when we are in the presence of our Lord and Savior someday. John describes it in Revelation 4 like this:
And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying,
“Worthy are you, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they existed and were created.” (v. 9-11)
But how do we transition from these powerful moments, where the Spirit is almost tangible and certainly palpable, to our own quiet places of prayer? Because the way to those places is almost always paved with sacrifice. Can you relate?
Let me share my experience the first week of the study. The alarm clock goes off for me to wake up and spend time with my Father. My body is aching, yearning for more sleep, and the discussion in my head begins, “Surely just a few more minutes won’t hurt? Surely the Lord will understand?” I doze off for another ten minutes to be awakened again by the alarm. Still…there is nothing in my flesh that desires to get out of bed at that moment. But in the darkness I whisper, “Jesus, help me. My spirit is willing, but my flesh is SO weak,” and somehow this confession is met by a sweet filling of the Spirit and though still groggy, I am able to move my feet to the floor and ask Jesus to help me stand up.
Somehow, I stumble to my chair where my favorite blanket awaits me and I curl up, thankful I have made it this far. I would still like to be in bed, but I do desire to have my heart renewed by the Lord. I pull out my Introduction to In the Garden and begin to read. I am soaking it up, giving lots of mental ascent to what I am reading…then the warm fuzzies stop. I am asked to kneel. I literally sit there for about 5 minutes, debating about whether or not I really need to get out of my chair, from underneath my cozy blanket and pray. Again the debate in my mind ensues, “Jesus doesn’t really care where I pray, why does it matter? He hears my prayers from anywhere.” Again, I have to pray for the grace to just submit to what I am being asked to do, even if I don’t understand.
And as I sit there on my bedroom floor, face to the ground and knees to the earth, I realize why it is so important for me to kneel. Because He is Creator, and I am the created, He is King and Ruler and I am humbly His child, because of His grace and Christ’s sacrifice. And the concerns and worries I had about the day begin to appear small and manageable to my Great Lord. And even though my time with my Abba is interrupted by my crying baby, I am so thankful for those moments stolen away with my Father, half-awake, and blessed by His presence.
So may we cry out to our Abba when we are faced everyday with the decision to enter into our study and time with Him in prayer. Will we simply ask Him for the grace and the faith to be obedient, to follow Him on this journey? He isn’t asking for performance but dependence. Will we trust that even when it is uncomfortable or sacrifice is involved, He is worth it?