Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Holy, Holy, Holy!

I remember prayer used to be a different experience for me than it has been for a long time. Sometimes, I even found it difficult to stop blessing the food. I'm sure that some of this came from my strong feeling of gratitude, which has waned as my heart has wandered.

But I was never any sort of 'prayer warrior'. My experience was not unique or unusual. I know that prayer to the one true, living God can be a strengthening, encouraging, peaceful experience for everyone. After all, in it we encounter God himself. Could we expect any less?

But my prayers have changed. I have lost some of my sense of gratitude, though it can be restored by the grace of God. Hallelujah!

And I have learned a routine. I use certain language for every one of certain kinds of requests. I may talk about 'traveling mercies' or say 'lift up to you', 'pour out your blessings', 'be glorified' or say 'Lord', 'God', or 'Father' at the beginning and end of every sentence. None of these are necessarily bad, but after a gloriously celebratory wedding banquet, my prayers are like the 1000th thank you note — routine.

I see now that I have even allowed my perception of God to become corrupt. Jesus is with us in our temptation (Hebrews 2:18, 4-15-16), so I forget he is not with me when I give in to temptation. I request God’s work in this world and he does answer. But, I forget that he remains not of this world.

God is not routine. He is not worldly. How else could he save us from the destiny of this world? God is holy.

When we pray, we 'step into' Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who is the bridge spanning the great chasm between the fallen world and the holy God. He is unique and superlative in every way. God is holy.

We are rightly taught to 'walk in the Spirit', 'live by the Spirit', and 'pray in Spirit and truth'. Speaking at least for myself, I must pray with reverence to our holy, though supremely gracious and loving God, in order to have any hope of living by the Spirit. We can pray reverently without any comprimise to intimacy. And how much greater joy will prayer be if it serves additionally to remind us of our Father’s supremacy over all that is in the world!

    In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphs, 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 Almighty;
           the whole earth is full of his glory."

    ~Isaiah 6:1-3

    Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

           "Glory to God in the highest,
               and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

    ~Luke 2:13-14

    Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under his wings. Day and night they never stop saying: "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come."

    ~Revelation 4:8

1 comment:

Wesley Handy said...

Mark, This post is very encouraging to me. I need this everyday in my prayers.