Rev 3:20 “Behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.”
Here is a door.
God is at the door of many a heart knocking, and how often is it that even in his condescension for our sakes, we are too busy for him and his communion? Our souls lie dormant, while we hurry around filling our time with pursuits that busy us and add little value to the only thing that will endure beyond the shifting sands of time. How often do we open the door of our hearts to him in prayer? How often do we take time out of our lives to pray to the one who is infinitely mighty and powerful to save? How often do we shun and even block our spiritual ears to his pursuit? What price do we put on such highly esteemed company? If the president or a person of high esteem were to offer their company, many would drop all that they were doing to make provision. How much moreso should we make provision for the company of the King of Kings. We are often like children engaged in some form of entertainment and upon hearing their parents voice, are prone to turn up the volume. Our pursuits may be noble, and yet that has never been an excuse for neglect. To disregard the pursuits of the Almighty who is the essence of nobility, and from whom all nobility is derived is pure pride. And yet even so, He says, ‘Behold I stand at the door and knock.’
Heaven itself is accessible by this door, and yet prayer is an unpopular thing to enter into today. People talk about anything and everything through their twitter accounts, Facebook feeds, paper columns and blogs, and yet what do we hear of prayer? Many people exercise great perspiration over the ability to make money and yet when do we see any perspiration exercised through prayer? Fun and enjoyment is found at happy hour or in gaming or dining and yet nothing much is said about the joy found in prayer? Does that not say something about our attitude toward prayer?
And yet even so, He says, ‘Behold I stand at the door and knock.’
There is a call.
Our neglect of such things would be enough for him to walk away and stop knocking, and yet he is faithful in his pursuit of his chosen people. There is great comfort in the words, “if anyone hears my voice”. A strangers voice is unrecognizable, but the voice of someone familiar is much more open to our reception. We do not have a God who presents himself as someone mysterious and unknowable, but who invites us to open the door by the sound of a known voice. It’s a voice that we may recognize. It’s a presence we have already welcomed. We may be inclined to open the door briefly to a stranger or salesperson, but how much more then are we inclined to open the door to the knocking pursuit of God who is also our Father? He could have called to us with the voice of anger and heated pursuit. He could have called to us by his wrath and judgment, instead He reveals himself to us as a welcoming voice, a voice of mercy and grace.
And yet there is no fellowship with a person until there is agreement, and there is no agreement with the almighty until provision for sin has been made. Just as those who are about to sit down to eat, are first given to wash their hands, likewise if we would dine with our heavenly Father in his throne room we must be cleansed of all impurity. A newborn child first receives a washing to clean away the blood and vernix by a nurse or parent, but requires many cleanings afterward. Likewise we are born into the kingdom of God through the regenerating work of the Spirit symbolized in the washing of water, but we are in need of ongoing cleansing through the renewal of the Holy Spirit. This we must do whenever we come to dine in heaven’s courts. Just as Isaiah was quick to express his uncleanliness of speech, so too is this a precursor to our being healed. And so we must come to him in confession, shedding all the earthly impurity that is unfit for his holy presence. But what about the spots that we miss? The grease and grime that are hard to remove. Our prayers are often tainted and fall short of heaven’s perfection. Words expressed without any real sense of his presence, words uttered without clarity, desires shared without any passion or expectation.
Dwell on this for long and we might be prone to lose heart, and yet we are encouraged to look to our Lord Jesus who sits at the Father’s right hand and as our perfect Priest sympathizes with us and makes all our prayers presentable to the Father. His dining with us is not dependent upon our weakness in prayer, our failure to confess all that is impure, our still often feeble and ignorant minds and hearts. We may dine with Him in prayer because He dresses us in presentable garments.
There is a Feast.
God invites us to dine with him. There are fewer more pleasant things on earth than being able to dine and have conversation with friends and others you love. God invites us to share our hearts and desires with him knowing him to be our portion.
God is present at the meal. Too often our prayers are governed by perceived distance, failing to perceive the Father’s company. We forget that the whole reason that the Holy Spirit was given was so that we might be given faith to access his throne room, to apprehend his presence with us. God invites us to dine with him in the purity of his mercy and grace so that we might be strengthened as his ambassadors on earth.
God provides the meal. He provides the meal in which he speaks to us through recollect faith and his promises. Have you come to him to express your worries? Has he sent you on your way with a reminder of who he is, or a promise to take hold of? Have you come to him to plead your cause, which is also his? Has he left your soul in peace? He gives us the meal of his sacrifice in the past as a reminder to us of his character and so as to inform us in the present. He hears all our concerns and our cries, he listens to all our anxieties and proposals. He dines with us and as we eat in his presence we are filled by his love and strengthened in faith and trust.
We are invited to dine with him, and having been given such an invitation; we have every reason to be thankful and to express our enjoyment in thanksgiving. A meal can quickly be soured by a lack of gratitude toward the host and the cook, and likewise unless we exercise gratitude for the great privilege extended to us and wrought for us by Christ in prayer our hearts can become presumptuous and calloused to it’s joys.
If we have our Father’s attention, why not come to him with a list? Spurgeon described insightfully that our prayers are often directionless. We are prone to enter into prayer like some would enter a grocery store or open their pantry. They enter without any real sense of what they want and are content to meander through it. Let us instead be bold children and come with requests to our heavenly Father. Children come with an awareness of who holds the resources they need. They feel their weakness, their need for their faith to receive mercy and grace and our heavenly Father has all these resources in his grasp. Consider his power to give through prayer. The parting of the Red Sea was obtained by prayer, the water teeming from the rock was given through prayer, bread fell from heaven through prayer, fire thrust down from heaven on Elijah’s water-saturated sacrifice, the sun stood still. If we know God to be in control of all things then let us pray boldly and with expectation.
Let us make it our aim to respond to every prompting of the Spirit to dine with the King, and be nourished with thanksgiving.