Tuesday, March 19, 2013

You Only Missed by 750 Miles

Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in a time of need. Hebrews 4:16

Have you heard yourself or others refer to prayer as “bombarding the gates of Heaven?” I have. When I used that approach I was only 750 miles off target. Bummer. How did that happen?

An excerpt from Kenneth and Gloria Copeland’s devotional, From Faith to Faith, illustrates the fallacy of this perception of prayer. Kenneth’s experience demonstrates this vividly.

I remember one day I was in prayer, begging and pleading, bombarding the gates of Heaven for revival. After I’d been at it a little while, the Lord spoke to me. “What are you doing?” He said. “I’m bombarding the gates of Heaven with prayer for revival,” I answered.
“Kenneth, how big is My city?” He asked.
“As far as I can tell from what the Bible says, it’s about 1200 cubits or somewhere around 1500 miles square and 1500 miles high.”
“Then why are you bombarding the gates? Assuming my throne is in the middle of the city that leaves you about 750 miles short! And by the way,” He added, “those gates aren’t locked. Why don’t you quit bombarding them and just come on in?”

You may think I’m being picky, but I’m in good company. Jesus took words very seriously. Matthew 12:36 reminds us that an account for every careless word spoken will be required. “But it’s just a figure of speech,” you say. “I really don’t mean it!” The spirit word doesn’t operate on what you mean; it operates on what you say. Our words create mental images that to us are real even if they have no basis in fact or truth.

“As a man thinks in his heart, so is he” Proverbs 23:7

Words that create the picture of one storming Heaven for answers may sound heroic, even deeply religious. The portrait they paint is that of an outsider fighting for entrance. Why waste time pounding ‘til your knuckles are bruised and bleeding when the gates are unlocked? Isn’t it easier to converse with God in the throne room than screaming at the top of your lungs 750 miles away?

Fellowship with God isn’t a figure of speech, biblically speaking. Colossians 3:1 tells us that Jesus is seated at the Father’s right hand. Verse three of that same chapter informs us that, “your life is now hidden in Christ in God.” Ephesians 2:6 provides further clarification. “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the Heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.” To imagine ourselves contending outside the gates may sound super spiritual, but it’s wrong. Hebrew 4:16 reiterates the open invitation to enter God’s presence at any time, for any reason.

The next time you consider staging a frontal assault on Heaven’s gates, for any reason, stop and think. Is it really necessary? How do you see yourself? Are you a child of God who knows your position in Christ and freely approaches your Father with your requests? Or do you see yourself as a sweat slinging, knuckle busting, gate pounder screaming at the top of your lungs vying for God’s attention 750 miles from His throne? Which works better for you?

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