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Prayer Duncan Heaster  
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3-6 Approaching God

This visualizing of the throne of Heaven is to be associated with the way the Psalms often begin a prayer with a serious, intense request for God to hear the prayer (Ps. 4:1; 5:1,2; 17:1,2; 26:1; 28:1,2; 31:1,2; 35:1; 43:1; 54:2; 55:1,2; 57:1-3; 61:1; 64:1; 67:1; 71:2; 80:1; 83:1; 86:1; 88:2; 102:1,2; 109:1; 130:2; 141:1,2; 143:1). This is without doubt a significant emphasis. There is a marked contrast with the way our prayers usually conclude rather than begin with a plea for God to hear us. Yet if we had this sense of entering into the court of Heaven, it would surely be the more evident that we have a desperate need to beg on entrance to be heard, to receive a hearing, through the Lord Jesus. The young Jews in Babylon desired mercy from before the God of Heaven, just as their Babylonian colleagues desired mercy from before the throne of Nebuchadnezzar (Dan. 2:18 AVmg.). 1 Pet. 4:7 RV exhorts us to be “sober unto prayer”, as if a sober, reflective mind set precedes powerful prayer. There is no better way to develop this than to meditate upon our approach to God Almighty.

Which leads us to another common theme in Biblical prayers: the language of the courtroom, pleading, hearing, crying for justice, pleading with God as the judge to show mercy, sending forth Angels to execute the answers, etc. " He shall send from Heaven, and save me" (Ps. 57:3) is worth reflecting upon. The word " send" is normally translated 'to send away, to let depart', implying physical movement away. This implies Angels are physically sent over space to answer prayer. The same word occurs in other verses where this same idea stands up well- e.g. Ps. 144:7 " Send Thine hand (an Angel) from Heaven. . . " ; " Let my sentence come forth from thy presence" (Ps. 17:2); " Judge me (i.e. my prayer)" (Ps. 26:1); " Plead my cause, O Lord, with them that strive with me" (Ps. 35:1); " Judge me, O God, and plead my cause...O deliver me from the ungodly man" (Ps. 43:1) are just a few of many examples. We are invited to see God Himself as enthroned, with Angels before Him on the right and left (1 Kings 22:21,22). The book of Job takes us further; the sons of God come before God, and discuss His children. " Satan" comes before them, apparently also an Angel, but representing the attitudes of one or more of Job's 'ecclesia'. He presents his case to God, and is empowered to afflict Job accordingly. All things and men are Angelically controlled; they each have a representative Angel before God's throne. This explains why Angels appear to be in conflict in Daniel and Rev. 12; it may be that we are being given visions of the court of Heaven, whereby the Angels represent and to some degree identify themselves with those nations or things they represent; and therefore they appear to be in conflict, although in actual reality this is of course not the case.

The persecution of David, e.g., was brought before God's throne by the Angel representing those men, and David's prayer was considered, brought before God (although not mediated by) his Angel (cp. Rev. 8:4). David pleaded that his prayer would be considered, and Angels would be sent forth to execute that answer. Hence his request for answers in terms of the word " send" (Ps. 20:2; 43:3; 57:3; 144:7); he perceived God as sending forth Angels with the answers. This was Abraham's conception too (Gen. 24:12 cp. 40). The idea of prayer being presented before God as the judge of all was taken over by the NT writers, with the difference that the emphasis is placed on the Lord Jesus as our matchless mediator and advocate. This sense of the court of Heaven is therefore vital, and is consistently held by believers throughout the Bible.

Confess Your Sins

This is a vital part of prayer. To come before " the throne of grace" is to come in essence before the judgment and before the cross of our Lord. Inevitably these things convict us of our desperation. The publican who beat upon his breast " went down to his house justified" (Lk. 18:14). Yet we were justified by the shedding of the blood of Christ (Rom. 5:9). That man's faith was consciously focused upon the Lord's sacrifice. We believe on Him who justifies us, through the blood of the cross (Rom. 4:5), and this faith is manifested through focusing upon the cross, and expressing it in prayer to be justified.