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The Nearness of God is My Good

Metropolitan

October 21, 2019

Prayer has less to do with words and posture and more to do with intimacy and closeness, like a child has with his father or mother. As in prayer, the nearness of God is not determined by space and time, but rather by the inner relationship and intimate fellowship we have with Him in our hearts.

Just the other day, I was meeting with a few of my coworkers in the ministry. Before we started to discuss some things we were dealing with, I said, “Let us pray.”

Gathered in my office and sitting in our chairs, I began to pray, “Lord, You are the One who promised that when we gather like this You will be with us. Right now we are here because of You and in Your name. We are Your sons and daughters.”

All of a sudden, I felt like we should have another chair in the room because Jesus was certainly present with us. In my mind, I did not want Jesus standing somewhere while we were all sitting down.

You see, in Asian culture, it is terribly impolite and unacceptable for a subordinate to sit while there is a superior standing. This is why when a superior walks into a room everyone stands up until the superior sits down and asks for everyone else to please sit as well. This thought came to my mind, and I prayed right in the middle of it, “Lord, I feel like we should have a chair for You because You are right here with us.” In fact, Jesus assured us that “where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20).

In all of our prayers, whether private or public, let us have this attitude and frame of reference for sharing our prayer: We are talking to a Father who is closer to us than our own thoughts. He is near, so near that no words can describe it.

In Psalm 73, we read of a godly man who, in the midst of tremendous discouragement and inner struggles, finally recognized the nearness of God. After all was said and done, he cried out saying, “The nearness of God is my good” (Psalm 73:28, NASB). His prayer is no longer directed to somebody far away, but to someone who is near to him. It is the understanding of this that changed his view on the situations of his life and even changed his own heart.

Let us then remember that when we pray there is no reason we should close our eyes and imagine some strange being far away. Rather, let us have the honest attitude of a little child talking to his father.

I believe the Lord is so delighted when we approach Him with a childlike heart, sharing our concerns and burdens with Him in this manner, experiencing the nearness of God.

• Tell God all that is in your heart, as one unloads one’s heart, its pleasures and its pains, to a dear friend.

• Tell Him your troubles, that He may comfort you;

• Tell Him your joys, that He may sober them;

• Tell Him your longings, that He may purify them;

• Tell Him your dislikes, that He may help you to conquer them;

• Talk to Him of your temptations, that He may shield you from them;

• Show Him the wounds of your heart, that He may heal them;

• Lay bare your indifference to good, your depraved tastes for evil, your instability.

• Tell Him how self-love makes you unjust to others, how vanity tempts you to be insincere, how pride disguises you to yourself and others.

If you thus pour out all your weakness, needs, troubles, there will be no lack of what to say. You will never exhaust the subject. It is continually being renewed.

People who have no secrets from each other never want for subject of conversation. They do not weigh their words, for there is nothing to be held back; neither do they seek for something to say. They talk out of the abundance of the heart, without consideration they say just what they think.

Blessed are they who attain to such familiar, unreserved intercourse with God.[1]

[1] Francois Fenelon, quoted in The Tale of the Tardy Oxcart by Charles R. Swindoll (Nashville, TN: W Publishing Group, 1998), p. 309.

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Season of Lent is a journey to spiritual growth, renewal and an opportunity to know the Lord Jesus more intimately and closely. We must hear the Lord speaking to us all along the way as the journey continues so that our heart-attitude will become more like His. The way to attain this is by deliberately choosing an attitude of confession, denying of self, fasting, meditation, prayer and supplication. And, the life is enriched with humility of Christ and service to others. This daily devotional will do just that: bringing the focus upon Jesus and enabling spiritual renewal in our walk with the Lord.

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