Reverence: honor or respect felt or shown;deference–especially : profound adoring awed respect.
Think about the last time you bowed your head to pray. How did it begin? Dear Heavenly Father is always nice. What came next? Perhaps you thanked him for something or maybe just went into your litany of things that you needed God to do for you. Most of the time that is how we approach God.
I found a quote by Henry Blackaby and a sermon by Andy Stanley that turn this kind of praying upside down.
The quote is this:
“We talk about standing in the presence of a Holy God, yet our response to him is unlike anyone who stood before him in the Scriptures.”
When people of the Bible stood before the Lord, it didn’t take long before they fell on their faces in reverence and awe of him. When we stand before the Lord, often times we are flippant and demanding and take the privilege we have for granted.
The sermon entitled “Red Letter Prayers” addresses this and instructs us to pray as Jesus prayed in the Lord’s Prayer.
Jesus’ focus was on two primary things:
- First, we should spend our time in prayer lifting up and exalting the magnificent, mighty, holy and powerful God who loves us.
- Second, we should seek his will (his kingdom) over our own and give him the right to act as he sees fit in our lives.
In the message, Andy makes the case that when we spend our time exalting God (putting him in his rightful place as Lord of our lives) and focusing on building up his kingdom (instead of our own) then the rest of our lives tend to fall into place.
Jesus says it this way in Matthew 6:32-34:
For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
When we keep God high and lifted up it keeps our focus pointing upward as well. It causes us to lose sight of our problems and focus on the one who holds all things together. It causes us to turn our prayers from what we want to what God wants for us. It helps us remember that we are here not for our own glory, but for his glory. We are here not for today, but in preparation for eternity. If we will pray like this we will begin to see treasures in heaven mount up instead of treasures on earth that rot and decay. When we treat God like he is the Lord of our lives instead of a magic genie that gives us what we want, he will begin to show us his Lordship in powerful and mighty ways.
Remember, sometimes you have to fall flat on your face in order to remember the mighty, powerful God you serve. You have to approach him with reverence and awe. Only then can he lift you up and provide what you need, when you need it.
Isn’t it amazing that the God of all the universe loves you and I that much? I think so too.