Vertical Thinking

Reading: Revelation 5

This week I begin the first of a series of studies on prayer, specifically The Lord’s Prayer. In the course of my research I’ve had the opportunity to read some really good books on the subject. Two of these books, Fresh Encounters and Transforming Prayer, were written by Daniel Henderson. There is a common theme that runs through Henderson’s books and appears quite often in some of the others as well. That theme is the importance of looking for God’s face before we look for His hand. In other words, our primary objective in prayer needs to be worship. 

Bill Hybels, in his book, Too Busy Not To Pray, writes: “If you have adored him, confessed your sins and thanked him for all his good gifts, you’re ready to tell him what you need” (page 57). Among the many things Henderson writes, encouraging his readers to seek God’s face first in worship, is this gem: “…the Lord has taught me that the only enduring motive for prayer is that God is worthy to be sought…I may or may not feel like praying. The prayer time may be energized; it may be dull. The answers to prayer may be apparent; they may not. Still God is worthy to be sought” (Transforming Prayer, page 156).

Revelation 5 is only one small part of the picture the book gives us of a God Who is worthy to be worshiped. In this particular chapter the Lamb has appeared in John’s vision. He ascends to the throne and all who are present fall down and worship Him. Then the worshippers begin to sing.

You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth” (5:9, 10, NIV).

John looks around and there are thousands upon thousands present worshipping the Lord. These are joined in the chorus by every creature in heaven, on earth, under the earth and on the sea.

Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!...To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!” (5:12, 13, NIV).

It seems to me that we humans are among the last to get the message, to understand the importance of praise as a primary element of prayer. I was reminded again this morning of how fragile my prayer life is in this regard. My prayer list is long and there are urgent needs. My mind immediately turned to those needs as I prayed. It was so much easier to hand God my shopping list than it was to put that list aside and just focus on Him. As I think about those needs, a verse comes to mind: “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10, NIV). I need, as we all do, to put the list aside and seek God simply because He is worthy to be worshiped. The One Who is worthy will take care of all the rest.

Have a worshipful day.


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