Have you noticed that the movement of people throughout your house depends on their relationship with you?
Some strangers remain standing on the doorstep. A deliveryman would enter into the foyer. An acquaintance or irregular visitor, unless using the ablution facilities, would remain in the lounge. A visiting family member would help in the kitchen and even enter some bedrooms. Few people would however enter the main bedroom - the inner sanctuary of the husband and wife. Young children living in the house are perhaps the only other people entering the main bedroom. Although God's presence or His Name may dwell in a house, He does not fully dwell in a physical building. However, I will use this analogy to illustrate the relationship and prayer life He expects from us.
A lost stranger stopping at God's home, for example, for directions to the local park, would remain on the doorstep. Distracted by traffic noises, an icy wind and his need to find the park, he will decline an invitation to enter. He will hurriedly focus on obtaining the directions and will not establish any rapport with the Speaker. Unbelievers, who have not trusted Jesus for their salvation, similarly remain alienated from God. They may pray but are easily distracted by diversions. They do not have the basis for a rewarding fellowship with God. Some believers also remain standing on the doorstep; they are interested only in having their needs answered and totally disregard the Person of God and His desires.
A pizza deliveryman would enter the foyer, hand over the pizza and receive cash. On guard, he avoids personal answers to God's inviting inquiries. The only thing that the deliveryman can think of is getting his payment and getting on with other deliveries. We can equate religious people who trust in their works for salvation and ministry workers who only care about a personal reward, to the pizza deliveryman. Their motivation for coming to God's home was to render a service for a material reward. This is also true for some believers who "deliver" worship to God on Sundays but ignore Him the rest of the week. This does not allow God to minister to them or give them the opportunity to know Him really.
Acquaintances or irregular visitors progress over the doorstep, through the foyer and into the lounge. Here at least, some proper dialogue can take place. The Host might serve refreshments and some social chitchat will follow. The visitor will talk about that serious illness of a family member and perhaps ask advice or guidance for a particular problem. He will give God opportunity to speak and they will have a good time together - on a social level. Acquaintances know God's word and promises but not His Person. We can equate believers who pray to God only in difficult times to an acquaintance. This also applies to those who only pray occasionally or out of habit or ritual.
Progressing further into God's home is the visiting family. Consider a regular barbecue for the family as illustration. The brother-in-law knows where the Host stores the barbecue grill and where to find the key to the storeroom. A sister goes to a bedroom cupboard to find a tablecloth. The brother carries all the spare chairs from the house onto the patio. A mother-in-law finds the outdoors crockery set, normally stored deep inside the pantry. Together, they talk, listen, work, laugh and have a typical fun-filled family time together. Family enters God's home and make it their own - for the duration of the visit. Family are the people one would usually see at all the church activities. They are faithful in all that the leadership assigns and loyal to their brothers and sisters in Christ. They truly love and worship God - for the duration of the visit. Away from His presence, they become distracted and affected by worldly circumstances and events.
Allow me to use my own son (six years old at the time of first writing this) to illustrate the value of entering the inner sanctuary in a Parent/child relationship. My son comes and goes through the main bedroom with no guilt or shame.
· He plays there when he needs a large comfortable area to drive his "monster-truck" or do somersaults.
· Some mornings, he discusses his plans for the day with my husband - while Hubby is shaving or getting dressed.
· He asks many of his "Mommy, why does......?" questions while I apply my make up or wash my hair in our en-suite bathroom.
· If Hubby and I lie in too late over weekends, he simply comes to snuggle in with us in our queen-sized bed.
We do not only approve of this but we really need and enjoy these moments. I love my son and thoroughly enjoy cuddling him when he gets into our bed some mornings. I appreciate his total lack of concern for anything but his need to be with me. Answering his "but why's?" with bleary eyes and tangled hair really puts a smile on my face. An equally fulfilling experience is hearing Hubby's "upside-down-shoe-tying-puffing-yet-enthusiastic-response" from the dressing room to our son's innocent voice.
Such times are indispensable to building an intimate, life-giving relationship with him. It gives him the security of knowing he is an integral part of the family and his parents' lives. It is no different with God. People who enter God's inner sanctuary freely, to play (or work) at His feet, talk or cuddle are secure in their knowledge that God is with them twenty-four hours a day. Folk like these can live their lives undistracted from God's love.
God's home is no common place. It is where He dwells, meets His people and delights in their worship; where His inner sanctuary is and where He wants us to be like children. God's children are perfectly at home in His home. We are no strangers, no mere guests; we belong there, we have a peculiar bond to the place and have a divine right being there. Christian life is a life of prayer; a life of intimacy spent in God's inner sanctuary by divine appointment and approval.
Prayers in the inner sanctuary come from a heart that places
its trust in God, assured that God is personal, living, active, all-knowing,
all-wise and all-powerful.
These prayers meet all our needs such as:
· freedom from fear and anxiety
· strength of soul
· guidance and satisfaction
· wisdom and understanding
· deliverance from harm
· good gifts
· fullness of joy and peace.
From the teaching of Jesus, we note that He taught that prayer should be characterised by:
· importunity (claiming God's willingness to bless)
· and unity of heart and mind.
Are these not typical childlike characteristics?
No other prayer stirs the heart of God more than that of a child. Prayer from the doorstep of God's home results in a verbal response. Prayers from the inner sanctuary result in changed circumstances and warm hugs. God loves us and wants us to experience that love 24 hours a day.
The book, You Can Know God, shows only can not only reach
the inner sanctum, but also his inner Being.