Thursday, March 6, 2014

Near To the Heart of God

A night employee at East Tennessee Norris Dam saw the warming glow of kerosene lanterns in the cabins across the lake. Puzzled by this paradox of primitive lighting within the shadows of the great hydroelectric dam, the employee discovered that residents there lacked transmission lines by which to connect to the main power system.

Living outside of Christ is like living in the shadows of the great hydroelectric dam without the blessed benefits of its electrical power. The life of Jesus, His death, and resurrection connect us to heaven’s generating plant and enable us to live much fuller lives than otherwise possible.

When the disciples walked daily with Jesus, they discovered the source of His power. Watching him, they recognized their weakness and asked that He teach them to pray“(11:1 NKJV).

Accompanying Him early and late, those disciples saw prayer fortified Jesus for public encounters that ordinarily drain one’s energy reserves and leave empty tanks. The disciples observed the positive changes in people’s lives when Jesus prayed for them and with them.

They knew about pride, idolatry, and disobedience, without being reminded of their shortfalls. They knew the sacred writings; they had l learned Hebrew wisdom from a very young age, as did every Jewish boy. They prayed by custom three times a day. Moreover, they understood the barriers to prayer; they had experienced enough of their own.

However: when Jesus prayed, they felt the frailty and self-dependence of their lives. They compared His personal experiences to the embellishments of the lukewarm Pharisees who prayed impassioned public prayers on the street-corner. When Jesus prayed, they felt the sun rise on a new day of fresh anointing and they deeply yearned to experience the Father’s fellowship more fully (Luke 11:1).

The further they traveled with Him, the wider became their horizon of transformed living, altered circumstances, and deepened trust. Fired by deeper desire for spiritual intimacy, the disciples insisted, “Help us pray as you pray.”

Do you long for His renewing likeness (Ro. 8:29). Do you yearn for solitude, where you too can acknowledge your need to confess Him as Lord, and experience His renewing? Then pray:

“Make us more usable today than yesterday. Guide our words. Express your will through our thoughts and lives. Fortify us to bear witness to your living presence.

“When preoccupied with our own needs open our unseeing eyes and unhearing ears and help us recognize the needy. Clear our clogged channels of communication. Enable us to lighten the burdens of the over-burdened and friendless.

“We want your approval more than fame or fortune, so use us we pray, for as much or as little as you can glorify. We offer our best--wherever we are--whenever you call. Guide us, in the powerful name of Jesus, we pray.”

For, as Cleland McAfee wrote,

               There is a place of quiet release,
                              Near to the heart of God,
               A place where sin cannot molest,
                              Near to the heart of God.
               O Jesus blest Redeemer,
                              Sent from the heart of God,
               Hold us who wait before Thee.
                              Near to the heart of God. 1
               1 PRAISE! Our Songs and Hymns, Ed. By Norman Peterson. (Grand Rapids: Singspiration Music, 1979), “Near to the Heart of God” by Cleland B. McAfee, p. 410.

From Warner’s World, this is

No comments: