In Loving Awe

Good morning. It is Wednesday, September 16, 2015. Hump Day.

Today’s word of the day, from Merriam-Webster, is haptic. This adjective means, “relating to or based on the sense of touch,” or, “characterized by a predilection for the sense of touch.” Or it could be the next hit by Pharrell.

Today is Guacamole Day. This is one of those “holidays” that I can fully support. I love guacamole. It is one of my favorite foods, right up there with popcorn. It would probably be great with popcorn.

Yesterday was one of those days that I really don’t want to talk about very much. Busy, right from the beginning, I wound up not getting off work until 6:40. Needless to say, I didn’t make Huddle, and I was supposed to lead last night. The other leaders probably think I just did it because I didn’t want to lead. Oh, well. We have a person on vacation, and it just so happens that I am the only other one who can do part of her job. So I had to stay and cover that part of her job, because she’s not coming back until Thursday. Hopefully, today will be better.

Not much else to talk about this morning, so I’ll get on to my devotional.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

Today’s Psalm, from Heart Aflame, is Psalm 103:19-22.

The LORD has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all.
Bless the LORD, O you his angels, you mighty ones who do his word, obeying the voice of his word!
Bless the LORD, all his hosts, his ministers, who do his will!
Bless the LORD, all his works, in all places of his dominion. Bless the LORD, O my soul!

“In calling upon [the angels] to join in praising God, he teaches both himself and all the godly, that there is not a better nor a more desirable exercise than to praise God, since there is not a more excellent service in which even the angels are employed.” (p 260)

(From Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God)

The next touchstone in “What Prayer Requires,” is “Fear–Prayer is the Heart Engaged in Loving Awe.”

Our hearts should be engaged when we are praying, and we should avoid simply reciting words. “One important sign of an engaged heart is awe before the greatness of God and before the privilege of prayer.”

Remember when Moses asked to see God, to draw near to him, in Exodus 33? God would not allow Moses to see his face, as it would have killed Moses. But what God did allow was for Moses to see his back as he passed by, sheltering Moses in the cleft of the rock with his hand. “Moses is protected from God by God.” This is the essence of the gospel. In John 1:14, though, we are told that, in Jesus, we have beheld the glory of God! How is this possible? “Because in Christ our sins are covered.” In fact, they are more than “covered,” they are washed away. By being in Christ, we are constantly hidden in God’s hand, just as Moses was, on the mountain.

“This doesn’t mean we can ever take lightly the privilege of approaching ‘the throne,’ however.” This is an amazing privilege that we have, and we should constantly remind ourselves of “what is happening every time we pray. We should take time and meditate on this truth until it thrills us.” When we come before God in “loving awe,” it means we approach “with neither a sentimental or casual familiarity nor a stilted, remote formality.” Austin Phelps, in The Still Hour suggests that we should say this to ourselves, before beginning prayer:

God is here, within these wall; before me, behind me, on my right hand, on my left hand. He who fills immensity has come down to me here. I am now about to bow at His feet, and speak to him. . . . I may pour forth my desires before Him, and not one syllable from my lips shall escape his ear. I may speak to Him as I would to the dearest friend I have on earth.

When we approach God in this time, we can remember that God has adopted us as his children, and that we are children approaching our loving Father. We can remember that, in Christ, “we have a great High Priest and Advocate at the right hand of God, so we can approach the throne in confidence.” And we can also remember that the Holy Spirit dwells within us, assisting us in our prayers. All of these things can help us prepare our hearts for the work of prayer.

Father, help me to always approach you in loving awe. Each day, as I begin my prayer times, may I stop and reflect on the gravity of what is happening. All too often, I am guilty of approaching in this “casual familiarity” of which Keller speaks. May your Spirit help me to reflect on this. Help me to find the balance between this familiarity and “stilted formality.” I give you praise for adopting me, for providing this High Priest and Advocate that enables me to come before you with confidence. And thank you for the Holy Spirit, which helps me, especially when I do not know how to pray.

I pray for our day, today. May our travel to work and back be safe. I pray for more calmness in this work day. Once again, I failed to display your kingdom, yesterday. This makes me feel so unworthy of your grace. Teach me, Father, teach me. May your Spirit instill within me a calmness and prevalent joy. I pray for Christi’s day, too, that it not be anxious or stressful. Teach Stephanie about your great love for her, and draw Rachel and Justin into your heart. May you bring peace and comfort to my mother.

I lift up our pastor’s cousin and her baby. They were planning to induce labor, not sure when this was supposed to happen. I just pray for health and safety for both mother and baby.

Come, Lord Jesus, and rescue us from this world.

Before approaching God in prayer, try meditating on the seriousness of what is happening, in order to invoke this “loving awe” of God.

Grace and peace, friends.

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