I recently heard a Christian song that was based on the Old Testament prayer in
II Chronicles 7:14
If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.
It is a wonderful prayer as it applies to the Old Testament Jew; however, the song (and the verbal appeals from the worship leader) took this verse and appealed for Christians to come to God with their guilt and shame and seek forgiveness. And then a period of time at the end of the song was spent in repeating the phrase "Lord hear us from heaven."
I mean no disrespect to the song writer, or the singers, as I could feel the passion in their words, and hear the passion in their voices, but we are not Old Testament Jews. We are bought and paid for by the blood of Christ; we have the very righteousness of God imputed to us - we have NO guilt, and NO shame! There is no need for forgiveness, because all of our sins - past, present and future - are forgiven!
I can go boldly before the thone of grace; I need not cower in guilt and shame. I stand in front of my Father just as though I had NEVER sinned! I am justified! And I need not be embarrased or hide my face over the mistakes I make, big or small, God loves me just the same! There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
But what of this phrase "Lord, hear us from heaven?" So many times I have prayed and felt like I was praying up to the clouds... like God was so far away, how could he possibly hear. Sometimes, it was like my prayers were bouncing back to me! God was so high above me, it seemed like I had to pray more and more fervently and weep passionately for him to hear. To just whisper a prayer to him was nonsensical, as he had so much on his mind, that he would never pause to listen to me. I had to grab his attention!
And so we beg, "Lord, hear us from heaven!" Is that how it really is? Nope! Of course, Jesus is seated on the right hand of the Father this very minute, but he is also here. Right now! In me! In every Christian. He is closer than a whisper; he hears my every thought! Before I utter a word in prayer, he knows my heart and has already begun to formulate his response. Those times when prayers bounce of the walll of clouds and back, are the times when I have forgotten that I have direct entrance to the throne of God within my very being. I have forgotten who I am! I am the temple. I house the throne room. In shouting at the clouds and begging for his attention, I am acting as though I do not have permission to tap him on the shoulder for my slightest need. Jesus is here!! WOW! It blows me away!
I think maybe the reason so many of us feel the need to shout for God's attention is because it seems to good to be true that we have such open and easy access to him. It is easier to doubt and cry out to the heavens, than to trust and whisper our thoughts.
So, there is no guilt, there is no shame, there is no more need for forgiveness, and he is ever present within us to hear our prayers.
One more thought... II Chronicles 7:14 was in reference to the Jew's actual land. As New Testament Christians we have no land holdings. We are joint heir's with Christ in the Kingdom of God, but that is a land that does not need healing! This verse really doesn't apply to us anyway.
elbow room - My focus today is to leave room for God to be who He is. Nothing is as it seems and I trust him.