Into His Presence

Good morning. It is Monday, September 21, 2015. 2 days until Autumn begins.

Today’s word of the day, from dictionary.com, is enervate. This verb means, “to deprive of force or strength; destroy the vigor of; weaken.”

Today is World Gratitude Day. You can never have too much gratitude.

Yesterday was a nice day. Christi went and gave blood, mid-morning. Then we had lunch at Fogata’s, after which she went and got her oil changed, along with a car wash. After that, we watched The Judge, the other Redbox movie we picked up. It was good, mildly depressing, though. Not nearly as good as The Age of Adeline.

It’s Monday, again, and I have band practice tonight, so it will be a late night.

Three weeks until our 30th anniversary!

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL

Today’s Psalm, from Heart Aflame, is Psalm 104:33-35.

I will sing to the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have being.
May my meditation be pleasing to him, for I rejoice in the LORD.
Let sinners be consumed from the earth, and let the wicked be no more! Bless the LORD, O my soul! Praise the LORD!

“Here the Psalmist points out to others their duty by his own example, declaring, that throughout the whole course of his life he will proclaim the praise of God without ever growing weary of that exercise. The only boundary which he fixes to the celebration of God’s praises is death; . . . the end for which we are created is, that the divine name may be celebrated by us on the earth.” (p 265)

(From Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God)

The next touchstone, in the segment concerning what prayer gives, is “Spiritual Reality–Prayer Seeks a Heart Sense of the Presence of God.”

Edmund Clowney wrote, “God does not merely speak . . . he is present. Prayer is steeped in the awareness, often an awe-filled awareness, of the presence of God.” What is normally somewhat abstract knowledge becomes “existentially real to us.”

In the Westminster Larger Catechism, one of the roles of the Holy Spirit is defined. He helps us pray “by working and quickening in our hearts (although not in all persons, nor all times, in the same measure) those apprehensions, affections, and graces which are requisite for the right performance of that duty.” Keller has defined prayer as duty–“we must do it no matter what.” But in order to have the “right performance” of said duty, our affections must be engaged. Our heart needs to be “engaged in fear, wonder, and love.”

However, this is not always under our control. John Newton, eighteenth-century hymn writer, spoke of the presence of God as being a gift that we cannot, ourselves, dictate. “The Lord sometimes withdraws his sensible influence, and then the buzzing of a fly will be an overmatch for our patience: at other times he will show us what he can do in us and for us.”

Returning to the Larger Catechism, we find that we should not be passive, simply waiting for God to inspire us. As the Catechism describes the Lord’s supper, it says that Christians should “affectionately meditate on his death and sufferings, and thereby stir up themselves to a vigorous exercise of their graces.” Keller comments that, “This means that we are to meditate on the truth until our heart’s affections are stirred and we find ourselves desiring the service of God.”

So what does this presence and reality look like in prayer? In The Christian’s Great Interest, William Guthrie writes:

It is a glorious divine manifestation of God unto the soul, shedding abroad God’s love in the heart; it is a thing better felt than spoken of: it is no audible voice, but it is a ray of glory filling the soul with God, as He is life, light, love, and liberty, corresponding to that audible voice, “O man, greatly beloved” (Dan 9:23). . . . It is that which went out from Christ to Mary, when He but mentioned her name–“Jesus saith unto her, Mary.” . . . When He uttereth this one word “Mary,” there was some admirable divine conveyance and manifestation made out unto her heart, by which she was so satisfyingly filled, that there was no place for arguing and disputing whether or no that was Christ.

While we hear not an audible voice or see a sight with our eyes, “In prayer you can come into the presence of God.”

Father, let me know your presence this morning. Let me engage my affections and stir up my spirit through meditation on the truth. Let me desire to serve you greatly. More than anything let me know your presence.

I pray for this day, that our travel to work and home will be safe. May our work day be full of the knowledge of your presence, throughout, no matter the circumstances. May your grace and mercy fall on our family today, showing all the magnificence of your presence in our lives.

Come, Lord Jesus.

Prayer can bring us into the presence of God. May we meditate on his truths to stir up and engage our affections.

Grace and peace, friends.

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