I wrote this post some time ago about how I learned to pray with confidence. My hope is it encourages you to put aside your doubts about praying and feel positive when you come to God.
Our Lord and our God, I turn my eyes to you, on your throne in heaven. Psalm 123:1 (CEV)
When I pray, I come into God’s presence. I enter his throne room.
This should be easy for a Brit. Kings and queens, castles and palaces, thrones and throne rooms; I’ve been raised on a history of royalty and rich imagery.
Yet, I am not prepared for my heavenly Father’s throne room.
Two round ivory-colored, marble pillars, smooth to the touch, stand imposingly; one on either side of me. They stretch up, seemingly into eternity. There are no doors to be opened or closed. There are no walls. Only pillars mark the entrance to the throne.
I hesitate between the pillars. I cannot place my foot over the threshold. Confidence eludes me.
Beyond the pillars is a vast room. It stretches on and on; bounded only by clouds and the earth beneath my feet.
I picture the crowds of people who congregate in God’s throne room—the witnesses I have read about in the book of Hebrews. I sense the jubilation from being in the presence of the great King over all the earth.
I loiter. Still, I am not persuaded. For some reason, I cannot deal with coming before God.
A deluge of questions hit me:
How had I accomplished praying to God prior to this occasion? Did I pray without thinking too much about what I was doing? Had I been launching prayers into outer space—in God’s general direction; addressed to him—expecting him to pick them up?
I considered, up to now, my prayers were a job well done. I mean, I had been praying! If God entered my thoughts, here and there during my day, I would shoot out a prayer—silently, unless alone in the car. Then maybe I would pray out loud, as long as no one could see me and think I was crazy talking to myself.
But, using my imagination… this required a conscious effort to think about the God to whom I was talking.
Then, I discovered the answer. I had not been coming close to God at all. My prayers had not been intimate or sincere. They had been…
… vague thoughts stuffed in an envelope with “God” scrawled on the outside. This didn’t make them personal prayer.
The truth of the matter was I didn’t always practice talking intimately to God.
I hang my head. I look at the floor and shuffle my feet. The threshold is still in front of my toes. I seem as rooted to the spot as the solid pillars either side of me.
Do I deserve to be there–in God’s throne room?
Ordinary people have not always been able to step into God’s holy place. God’s inner sanctum was out of bounds to the majority of people, except for a priest. But, at Jesus’ death the curtain of the temple separating the Most Holy Place from the remainder of the temple tore in two, symbolizing new access to God.
Jesus, God’s only Son paid the heavy price. Free entry to God’s presence has been costly. Not for me, but for the Lord God.
And so, my belief in Jesus Christ means I am able to walk into God’s throne room and speak intimately with him. I hadn’t been taking advantage of this reality at all!
Stooped in the doorway, unable to enter the jubilation, is not where I want to stay. I have lingered enough. I take a deep breath and place my foot forward. Relief hits me like a gust of wind.
Lord God, I never want to hesitate again to come into your presence and speak with you. Thank you for your Son who has made it possible. Amen.