Prayer in the Presence of God

Psalm 65:1,2
       Praise waiteth for thee, O God, in Zion: and unto thee shall the vow be performed. O thou that hearest prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come.

 JOHN CALVIN (1509-1564): Literally it runs, “Praise is silent to thee,” but the verb has been metaphorically rendered first, to be at rest, then to wait.

 JOHN TRAPP (1601-1699): There is first a deep silence in Zion, and then due praise; a silence of religious awe and devotion―or a silence of expectation to receive mercies.

 EDWARD LEIGH (1602-1671): Mercy is not yet come, we expect it; whilst Thou art preparing the mercy, we are preparing the praise.

 C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892): Or, it may mean that our praise is but silence compared with Thy deservings, O God…Perhaps the poet best expressed the thought of the Psalmist when he said, “a sacred reverence checks our songs, and praise sits silent on our tongues.” Certainly, when the soul is most filled with adoring awe, she is least content with her own expressions, and feels most deeply how inadequate are all mortal songs to proclaim the divine goodness. A church, bowed into silent adoration by a profound sense of divine mercy, would certainly offer more real praise than the sweetest voices aided by pipes and strings.

 R. C. CHAPMAN (1803-1902): The soul persuaded that “God is” cannot be wordy.

 RICHARD BAXTER (1615-1691): Speaking to the God of heaven in prayer, is a weightier duty than most are aware of.

 MARTYN LLOYD-JONES (1899-1981): The first step in prayer, should always be the realization of the presence of the Lord. One of the greatest men of prayer of the last century, I mean from 1860-1960, was the saintly George Müller of Bristol. Here’s an expert in prayer, and he always taught that the first thing you do in prayer, is to realize the presence of God. You don’t start speaking immediately. You can utter lots of phrases, but you might as well not have done. You must realize the presence of God. It’s got to be this fellowship, this communion, this conversation. And the realization is infinitely more important than anything you’ll say. So we realize this, and as we do so, we are filled with strength and power. Again the human analogy is obvious. Whenever you are in the presence of any saintly person, you always feel better yourself; you always feel stronger. Multiply that by infinity, and the realization of the presence of the Triune God is the greatest source of strength, and vigour, and power.

 A. W. TOZER (1897-1963): In God’s presence the Christian feels overwhelmed and undone, yet there is nowhere he would rather be than in that presence…The fellowship of God is delightful beyond all telling.

 C. H. SPURGEON: I can hardly tell you what joy, what confidence, what inward peace the presence of God gives to a man…The presence of God on the throne of grace is an overflowing source of delight to the godly; and let them not fail to drink of the streams which are meant to make them glad.

 A. P. GIBBS (1890-1967): The believer is at rest. That is to say, he is in the full consciousness and enjoyment of his perfect acceptance before God, through the person of Jesus Christ. He has been brought to realize that, in Christ, he is seen by God as sanctified, redeemed, regenerated, justified. As he thus basks in the sunshine of the Divine favour, his heart goes out in adoration to the One who made it all so blessedly and gloriously actual in his experience. With the writer of the Canticles he exclaims “I sat down under His shadow with great delight, and His fruit was sweet to my taste. He brought me to banqueting house, and His banner over me was love,” Song of Solomon 2:3,4.

 JOHN FLAVEL (1630-1691): Certainly there is a felt presence of God, which no words can make another to understand; they feel that fountain flowing abundantly into the dry pits, the heart fills apace, the empty thoughts swell with a fulness of spiritual things which strive for vent…Truly our fellowship, our communion is with the Father and Son, I John 1:3. God pours forth of His Spirit upon them, and they pour forth their hearts to God. It is sensibly manifested to them when the Lord comes nigh to their souls in duty, and as sensible they are of His retreats and withdrawments from their souls, Song of Solomon 3:1,4. They find their hearts, like the heliotrope, open and shut according to the accesses and recesses of the divine presence. They that never felt any thing of this nature, may call it a fancy, but the Lord’s people are abundantly satisfied of the reality thereof.

 C. H. SPURGEON: Do we not miss very much of the sweetness and efficacy of prayer by a want of careful meditation before it, and of hopeful expectation after it? We too often rush into the presence of God without forethought or humility―prayer without fervency is like hunting with a dead dog, and prayer without preparation is hawking with a blind falcon.

 JOHN FLAVEL: Take pains with thy dull heart; cleanse thy polluted heart; compose thy vain heart; remember how great a presence thou art approaching.

 MARTYN LLOYD-JONES: If you have problems that seem insoluble, if you are liable to become anxious and overburdened, and somebody tells you to pray, do not rush to God with your petition. That is not the way. Before you make your requests known unto God, pray, worship, adore. Come into the presence of God and for the time being forget your problems. Do not start with them. Just realize that you are face to face with God. In this word ‘prayer’ the idea of being face to face is inherent in the very word itself. You come into the presence of God and you realize the presence and you recollect the presence―that is the first step always. Even before you make your requests known unto God you realize that you are face to face with God, and that you are in His presence, and you pour out your heart in adoration. That is the beginning.

 A. P. GIBBS: [One] has defined worship as: “the outpouring of a soul at rest in the presence of God.” Another has put it thus: “Worship is the occupation of the heart, not with its needs, nor even its blessings, but with God Himself.”


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