Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Comforts from the Cross - Day 29

Draw Near

Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. -Hebrews 10:22

Prayer. Why is it so much easier to pray when times are tough? I cry out to God in my time of need and beg for Him to hear. Most Christians you encounter would say they desire a better prayer life, myself included. Why is prayer a struggle? Elyse gives two possible reasons. First, "we don't pray is because we don't think we need to." According to the world's standards, do you think you are doing pretty well right now? I've definitely been there thinking that I was self-sufficient. God had provided food, clothing, shelter, and even many of my wants. Why pray when things are good? The problem is that "we are confirmed in our self-sufficient blindness, convinced that we are doing okay. We function as unbelievers." Has prayer ever been more a duty to you? Elyse describes it as a way to "silence our nagging conscience." We pray to make us feel better, so it is not really about Him, but us.

Second, "we have little fervor in prayer because we are not really very comfortable in God's presence." When I think that God knows my heart and my self-sufficient thinking, am I really comfortable going before Him? "We concede that we're sinful and flawed, but we are not really desperate."  Do you know the only thing that will motivate us and help us to love to pray? The Gospel. The truth of the Gospel shatters my self-sufficient thinking and reminds me that I am nothing without Christ. I cannot come before Him on my good efforts.  Hebrews 10:19 shares, "we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus." Do you want to learn to pray more? "Learn of your sin. Ask Him to show it to you, to give you a glimpse of your need. Ask Him to make you dependent on Him!"
As the Gospel shows me the reality of my sin, I can rest in the promise of Hebrews 10:21-22, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. "Only the Gospel will warm your affections so that you will long for an opportunity to be near Him. Let the Gospel motivate you to pray." Our High Priest is also our waiting Bridegroom. He has done the work of cleaning our hearts, so that we can with full assurance draw near to Him.

As the day's reading conclude with the admonition to draw near, Elyse ended the day with these words, "Run, now, to the lover of your soul." My mind was immediately drawn to one of my favorite super old hymns is Jesus, Lover of My Soul. My mom used to sing it to me, but I recently heard it again. I think it just fits with the truths of today's reading.  I thought I would just share a few of the verses, but the entire hymn is so beautiful, so you get to read all of it. The last two verses are my favorites.

Jesus, lover of my soul, let me to Thy bosom fly,
While the nearer waters roll, while the tempest still is high.
Hide me, O my Savior, hide, till the storm of life is past;
Safe into the haven guide; O receive my soul at last.

Other refuge have I none, hangs my helpless soul on Thee;
Leave, ah! leave me not alone, still support and comfort me.
All my trust on Thee is stayed, all my help from Thee I bring;
Cover my defenseless head with the shadow of Thy wing.

Wilt Thou not regard my call? Wilt Thou not accept my prayer?
Lo! I sink, I faint, I fall—Lo! on Thee I cast my care;
Reach me out Thy gracious hand! While I of Thy strength receive,
Hoping against hope I stand, dying, and behold, I live.

Thou, O Christ, art all I want, more than all in Thee I find;
Raise the fallen, cheer the faint, heal the sick, and lead the blind.
Just and holy is Thy Name, I am all unrighteousness;
False and full of sin I am; Thou art full of truth and grace.

Plenteous grace with Thee is found, grace to cover all my sin;
Let the healing streams abound; make and keep me pure within.
Thou of life the fountain art, freely let me take of Thee;
Spring Thou up within my heart; rise to all eternity.

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