Prayer – Relating Our Life of Prayer to The Tabernacle

Who are we? What are we meant to do?  This question has been asked, most likely before written history . The Westminster Catechism answers the question this way:

“Man’s chief and highest end is to glorify God, and fully to enjoy Him forever.”

We were created to walk with God in the .

8 He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?

and 11 ‘Moreover, I will make My dwelling among you, and My soul will not reject you.12‘I will also walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people.

Until we are born of Spirit we are separated from God and we are dead.

23 “But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.24 “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

It is as we commune with God that our relationship with Christ is clarified. Each of us is either positively or negatively related to God. There is no other possibility. We are either born of the Spirit or separated from God in the flesh.

 4 Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” 5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 “Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’8 “The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

When we accept Jesus Christ of Nazareth, Ἰησοῦς Χριστός τοῦ Ναζωραίου, we are not just born anew of the Spirit, but we are adopted into the household of God.

13 for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God,

Until we are adopted into God’s household, there is no life of prayer with YHWH (יהוה‎); there is no life. This is the foundation of prayer, the Spirit of God within us, a mystery and our hope of glory.

I have wrestled with how to structure this series on prayer. The many ways prayer can be legitimately approached is evidenced by the sheer number of books on the subject. I have imagined several approaches, but until today I have not had peace about any one direction. Today I have settled on the tabernacle as a model for prayer, using its structure from camp, to altar, to laver, to shewbread, to lampstand, to altar of incense, to veil, to the Holy of Holies.

Usually hen we say we love something or someone, we often mean that we love what we know about that person. The more we know God, the more completely we can love Him.

To love God therefore, it is crucial that we have read the scriptures and meditated on God’s self revalation contained within the. The Bible will not fail in its purpose, which is to provide all we need for faith and practice.

At the same time it is the leading, illumination, prompting, and prodding of the Spirit which allows us to be manifest as the hands and feet of Jesus (Yehoshua, Yahweh saves).

By looking at our prayer, we have a window into our relationship with God. Public prayer gives a window through which to view our group’s relationship with God, and personal prayer provides a window through which our personal relationship to God can be seen and for our purposes evaluated.

So prayer can be summed up in the phrase “prayer is communion with God; prayer is communication with God.” Prayer, according to this definition, applies to participants in all religions, from panantheism, with worshipers such as Walt Whitman, whose prayers take the form of lyric and metre, list and repetition, image and symbol, spoken to all in nature, to monotheism, with its prayer, ‘Our Father who is in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.’

It is the blessing of God that we can even participate in the life of God at all; it is not of ourselves. So who are we to question or condemn our bother or sister, whose walk with God is varied from our own? God is sovereign, giving us the grace we need, in all situations. Every station of the tabernacle relates to our life in God, so rejoice and be glad wherever you are if you know your life is hidden in God.

6 Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, 7 casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.

As we walk with God there are signs to verify we are on the right path.

  • We are humbled – The further we get into a life of prayer, the more we realize just what we are. It is in our relationship to Jesus that we see our position. We should not think of ourself as more than we are or less than we are, but as we are in Christ, for our being is in God.
  • We will have charity for our neighbor. Our neighbor is everyone whose path we cross. Our love for others will be a natural expression of a life touched by God. The more we participate with God in making our life a prayer to Him, the greater this love will be.
  • Beyond love we find other fruit produced in life – “22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”

As you examine your conscience, if in any of these things you are going in the wrong way, you are most assuredly off the path.

Kierkegaard’s focus is based on knowing oneself, knowing God’s will for his life, and knowing what one is to do. Knowing oneself and knowing God both flow from one and the same prayer/communion. Again we understand ourselves more completely as we reflect on our walk with God, our life of prayer.

In now trying to come to an understanding with myself about my life.... as a child takes time to learn to distinguish itself from objects....this same phenomenon repeats itself in a higher spiritual sphere.... I thought I might gain more peace of mind by taking up a new line of study, directing my energies towards some other goal.... What I really need is to be clear about what I am to do, not what I must know, except in the way knowledge must precede all action. It is a question of understanding my destiny, of seeing what the Deity really wants me to do; the thing is to find a truth which is truth for me, to find the idea for which I am willing to live and die....Such a focal point is something I too have looked for....So the first thing to be resolved was this search for and discovery of the Kingdom of Heaven...One must first come to know oneself before knowing anything else (γνῶθι σεαυτὸν). Kierkegaard, Journals - August 1, 1835

 

Reflecting on how we pray gives us a set of descriptors, which allow us to value that relationship.

So I ask:

  • How real is God to you when you pray, walk humbly with God?
  • Do you address God by name?
  • When you pray, do you pray to God as :Father, friend, savior, judge, holy one, etc?

This is not meant as judgment. God’s desire is to commune with you. I have seen well-meaning Christians cause others to feel bad about how much or how well they pray. Prayer is about communion, a communion which begins now and culminates with the appearing of Christ. As John writes,

“Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.”

In that end there will be full disclosure, so to speak, but in the meantime we have prayer. May it move each of us to  “glorify God, and fully to enjoy Him forever.”

 

Finally, Prayer is not meant to change God, who is immutable, not of shifting shadow. Prayer is meant to change us. We are as shifting shadows, “14Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. ” Our life is in Jesus and there we have and will continue to have being.

Kierkegaard Prayer Does not Change God It Changes the One Who Offers It

Keith and Melody Green hit the idea on the head, “Make My Life a Prayer” to you, which is our spiritual form of worship

“Keith Green – Make My Life a Prayer” Written by Melody Green

Make my life a prayer to you
I wanna do what you want me to
No empty words and no white lies
No token prayers no compromise

I wanna die and let you give
Your life to me so I might live
And share the hope you gave me
The love that set me free