By Steve Troxel
God's Daily Word Ministries
In the message "The Courts of God" we saw how the presence of God is to be cherished above all else. We considered that not even a thousand days in an earthly paradise can compare to a single day in the presence of God. And yet, though we may understand the value of His presence, we seldom make the decisions or exercise the discipline required to enter.
"The news about Him spread all the more, so the crowds of people came to hear Him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed."
Jesus had a relationship with the Father which can only be described as absolute perfection; "If you really knew Me, you would know My Father as well. Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father" (John 14:7,9). We long for and desperately seek the presence of God, but Jesus Christ IS the very presence of God: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us" (John 1:1,14).
And though He had perfect union with the Father, created the entire Universe, and demonstrated complete control over the elements of nature as He "rebuked the wind and the raging waters" (Luke 8:24), Jesus still made time to be alone with the Father in prayer. Why?
Prior to the important decision of choosing His twelve apostles, Jesus "went out to a mountainside and spent the night praying" (Luke 6:12). On the night before He was crucified, Jesus was in such anguish that He prayed until "His sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground" (Luke 22:44). Jesus, through His life and death, taught us how we ought to relate to God...and it's a lesson we must not ignore!
If Jesus, who is Perfection, demonstrated such need of prayer, how much more necessary is it for us who contain so many flaws and so easily drift away from God. We cannot wave our hand to calm the storm, we must pray for patience and the strength to endure, and relentlessly ask for His help. We are to live in such constant communion with God that we "pray continually" (1 Thessalonians 5:17), even as we drive in busy traffic, manage multiple assignments, or care for noisy children.
But each of us must also set aside time, which is "often" and regular, where we can withdraw to a quiet place. Yes, the presence of God can be found in the midst of our busyness, but we all need times of quiet where we can be refreshed and receive direction - times when we can simply lift our hearts to God and say "Thank You!" Let's develop and maintain the discipline of entering the courts of His presence. Let's regularly set aside times of quiet to get alone and pray.
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