Last week I wrote a blog about preparation. It should be pretty easy to find if you want to read it but just in case you can’t, you can read it here.
In it I mentioned that for me and for the worship team, musical preparation is very important but that it’s not as important as preparing our hearts.
I should mention that, for me anyway, this usually starts with one main thing – confession.
I love the story of the prophet Isaiah. Without getting into painstaking analysis, Isaiah has a vision of the God seated on his throne in heaven. He sees the angles in heaven and hears them singing about the holiness of God. Take a read….
In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said:
“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory!”
And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!”
Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.”
(Isaiah 6:1-7 ESV)
When Isaiah sees God and he sees how glorious God is and he sees how majestic God is and he sees how powerful God is…what is his immediate response? Confession. He confesses that he is unclean and that ALL the people are unclean. And he knew that things that are unclean aren’t permitted in God’s presence.
But look at the immediate response from God – mercy and grace and forgiveness. Isaiah knew that he had no right to be in God’s presence because he was unclean. But God showed him mercy and MADE him clean and gave him the right to be in His presence.
This is a HUGE deal.
Because the same thing is true for believers today. On our own, we have no right to be in God’s presence. We are sinners and we aren’t clean. But because of Jesus’ life, death on the cross and resurrection, God has made us clean and given us the right to come boldly into his presence. Its a HUGE deal.
I think about this pretty much every time I pray. I start praying and my mind says,
“Father (oh shoot…. I’m a sinner and I don’t have any right to be praying to a holy God right now…much less calling him ‘father’. But wait…Jesus died for my sins…and gave me access to the Father..and Jesus makes me clean so that I can be in His presence)
Thinking through the glorious fact that Jesus died for my sins and reconciled me to the father usually takes about 2 seconds. Sometimes I intentionally dwell on it because, dwelling on that forces you to dwell on the glory of God. And dwelling on the glory of God will change you. But like I just said, if I am honest it usually takes about 2 seconds.
But I think, for me, that 2 seconds is maybe the most important part of prayer. Whenever we come into God’s presence and we intentionally look at him we HAVE to think about the fact that it’s only because of what Jesus has done that we are able to come into God’s presence. We have to confess our sins. We have to repent. And we have the utmost confidence that God is merciful and gracious to us. That’s the context for everything. That’s the gospel and the gospel changes us.
This is what I pray for Visio Dei. I pray that our church would see God. I pray that God would reveal himself to us. I pray that because I know that we are no different than Isaiah. When we see God we will confess and we will repent and God will show us grace and mercy and will change us.
So as we prepare for our Sunday morning gatherings I pray this over and over.
Because I know that ultimately, that’s what we all need. We need that every day. We need that every hour. We certainly need that when we gather together on Sunday mornings.
So I would ask you to pray with me. Pray that we would see God and that we would respond in appropriate ways. That our lives would be changed because of it.