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Prayer Duncan Heaster  
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3-5 Visualize God

Another feature of Biblical prayers is the way they start with some reference to God, often involving several clauses. This is to be connected with the idea of lifting the eyes to Heaven at the start of a prayer (Ps. 121:1; 123:1; Ez. 23:27; Dan. 4:34; Lk. 16:23; 18:13; Jn. 11:41; 17:1). There are enough of these references to make us wonder whether other references to lifting up the eyes to Heaven is an idiom for prayer. This seems likely in Num. 24:2; Josh. 5:13; Jud. 19:17 and 1 Chron. 21:16 among others. The simple implication of all this is that we should begin our prayers with a conscious imagination and personalization of the Father to whom we pray; " Our Father, who art in Heaven" says it all. " God is in Heaven, and thou upon earth; therefore let thy words be few (more often translated " little" )" (Ecc. 5:2). Ezra, Nehemiah and Solomon all start their major prayers with a reference to the fact that God really is there in Heaven.

The fact that God is a material, corporeal being is vital here. The very fact God has a spatial location, in Heaven, with Christ at His right hand, indicates of itself that God is a physical rather than purely spirit-ual being. The fact Christ really is there, seated at God's right hand interceding for us, was a concept which filled Paul's thinking (Rom. 8:34; Eph. 1:20; Col. 3:1; Heb. 1:3,13; 8:1; 10:12; 12:2 cp. 1 Pet. 3:22). We are invited to see Christ as sitting there, unlike the nervous High Priests of old on their annual entry into the Holiest standing; and we are surely invited to see the connection with the fact that Stephen saw the Lord standing at God's right hand, caught up, as it were, in the passion of mediation for His suffering servant (Acts 7:56), whereas normally He offers our prayers seated.