Monday, April 11, 2011

Be still and know...

How much do we need to come to a place of stillness - for true prayers are born from a place of rest. When our minds and our hearts are filled with cares and worries that weigh us down, we do not find ourselves soaring in prayer. Before entering into true communion with the Lord or a time of prayer, our aim is to find ourselves in a place of rest. We can only bring our petitions before His throne and nowhere else. For it is before the throne of our God that we find the unending supply of grace, mercy, provision and help in time of need. And His throne is a place of perfect peace and harmony. We draw near by tuning ourselves to the frequency of His throne by entering the place of rest - when our spirit, soul and body are are tuned to the harmony of stillness.

Firstly, "be still" is a call to our souls to be real. Come with all the burdens, cares and perplexing thoughts that trouble us. Come with our hearts in sincerity and release the burdens at the feet of Jesus. We are exhorted to cast our cares upon Him for He cares for us. If we are laden with a load of care and we do not know what to do, the first step we take is to bring our cares and leave them before His feet. We unload our burdens and the things that weigh us down before His feet. Strange as it sounds, we detest departing with the things that weigh us down even though we cry out to be released from their clutches. We learn to "be still" when we choose to un-load and detach ourselves from these worries, anxieties and fears of the unknown that occupy our hearts.

Not only do distress and anxieties cloud our hearts and minds, but when we approach His throne, we may also be overwhelmed by a sense of guilt, inadequacy and sinfulness. After traversing upon the paths of the world throughout the day, we feel the effects of the dirt of the earth clinging to our feet and hands and at the same time, haunting our conscience as we draw near before the Most Holy God. Again, we hear the Spirit's clarion call beckoning us to draw near with all boldness, in full reliance of Christ's finished work at the cross despite our guilt or sense of sinfulness. Secondly, "be still" is also a call to acknowledge and see our weakness in the light of His love and holiness and yet not to cower away in fear. We overcome another hurdle into the place of stillness and rest when we cling on the redemptive work of Christ on the cross with all our heart and mind and find the strength to speak to our tainted souls - be still for you are washed and cleansed by the Divine blood of the Son of God.

We are now inching closer to the place of rest and stillness. The place of His glorious Presence - the place of revelation, power and glory. It must not be too far away now. We now encounter an enemy so familiar in its appearance that we are not aware of its schemes and strategies. This enemy comes in many shapes and forms. Spiritual apathy, sloth and distraction are just to name a few examples of its manifestations. We are so close to the promised rest yet it seems so far when we find ourselves indifferent to His wooing and bidding. Just when we are hard pressed at every side and we know that the answer lies in coming before Him but it seems that there are so many things to do than to be still before Him. The works of the flesh begin to rear its ugly head and we give in uncompromisingly each time to its demands. This is when we keep postponing coming before His Presence in stillness and wait upon the King of Kings or find ourselves too lazy to draw near or carried away by distractions in our minds or engrossed with too many external activities. The Psalmist cried out in Psalm 27:8, when You said, “Seek My face,” My heart said to You, “Your face, LORD, I will seek” There is such swiftness to respond to the Spirit's wooing and bidding. Thirdly, we learn to "be still" when we choose to crucify the flesh and its demands and yield to the higher life of Christ within us. The Apostle Paul revealed in Galatians 2:20, "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me."

We are confronted with different hurdles each time when we choose to enter into the place of rest. There are times when we encounter one of the three hurdles mentioned above and there are times when all three become so apparent standing in the way to God's promised rest. Praise be to our God for we despair not - with the call comes the divine enablement. When we are desirous to draw near to our Savior and Friend, the one called alongside, our Divine Counsellor will prod us along with encouragement and strenghten us along the way. The key to accessing His help is in dying to ourselves and yielding to Him - a choice we make each moment.

When we are ushered into the place of His rest, indeed what joy it brings to our souls. A place of enlightenment, a place of revelation and a place of divine exchange. It is a place where we exchange our weakness for His strength and we receive His power to accomplish that which we are shown to do. Even in this place, oftentimes many are tempted to just bask in the wonderful feelings and the wonderful ambience of the place but the complete verse of the title of this post goes on to tell us, "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!" This is a place where we know our God as He is. When we have come to the place of rest and stillness, we receive His divine revelation and just like Jesus, we can begin to do the things we see the Father doing. This is a place where divine strategies are released and the Father's secrets are shared with His bride. And this is the place of prophetic intercession - the most effectual form of prayer that we can embark, that is when we pray in accordance with the heartbeat of God.

Let's take time to be still each day and enter into the place of divine rest for true prayers are indeed born from a place of rest. On a practical note, it is imperative for us to set a time and place each day - to be still before Him and to draw near before His throne. There are "accessories" that can help us when we begin to embark on this journey. Soft, worship (or soaking) music in the background helps to tune our souls to be still. The scriptural exhortation of entering His gates with thanksgiving and praise is another key that will bring us to His throne. Similarly, the grace of reading and meditating upon His word can be used to set our soul and spirit in tune with the frequency of His throne (not discounting the importance of reading, meditating and studying the Word of God as a separate exercise in our walk with the Lord). Do you hear the Spirit of the Lord whispering in your ears, "Seek My Face..." Let us come and be still before the Lord and tell Him, "Your face, Lord I will seek."

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