How do you pray? What do ask God for when you pray? I think most of us can confess we sometimes bring a laundry list to God in prayer. It seems that as Daniel Henderson put it in his book Transforming Prayer, “like everyone in the country must have had an ingrown toenail, a slipped disc, a cousin with cancer, or a friend in financial crises. The requests went on and on.” I don’t want to minimize the importance of prayer requests—they are vital to prayer and our relationship to God,. but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.(Phillipians 4:6, ESV) The main problem with our prayer is not that we ask God for things, but that making requests to God has becomes the foundations of our prayers. Prayer patterned after the Bible, and after a proper understanding of whose presence we are entering when we pray—Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16, ESV)—will start not with requests and demands but with worship. So I would like to spend some time unpacking what it is to be in the throne room of God. I think this may cause us to “stop talking for a while, but instead to take a long hard look at him before you say another word.” (Crazy Love, Francis Chan Page 25)
Before I share with you what God’s Word tells us about the throne room of God I would like to share a quote from A.W. Tozer;
What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us. Worship is pure or base the worshipper entertains high or low thought of God. For this reason the gravest questions before the Church is always God himself, and the most portentous fact about any man is not what he at any given time may say or do, but while he in his deep heart conceives God to be like (A.W. Tozer, The knowledge of the Holy, Page 1)
2 At once I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne. 3 And he who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian, and around the throne was a rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald. 4 Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones were twenty-four elders, clothed in white garments, with golden crowns on their heads. 5 From the throne came flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder, and before the throne were burning seven torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God, 6 and before the throne there was as it were a sea of glass, like crystal.
And around the throne, on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind: 7 the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with the face of a man, and the fourth living creature like an eagle in flight. 8 And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say,
“Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty,
who was and is and is to come!”
9 And whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever, 10 the twenty-four elders cfall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast dtheir crowns before the throne, saying,
11 “Worthy are you, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they existed and were created.”
The language that John uses here to describe what he sees in heaven is incredible, because it is almost as if he is fishing words, like what he is seeing is like nothing he has ever seen before, but it so amazing, so beautiful. He just expresses himself by comparing it to those things that are most precious and pleasant in our world. John continues with vivid imagery, so as he does picture it in your mind. But, the most amazing part of this section is the living creatures and the twenty four elders. Imagine being in that room. God in the centre on his throne, the four living creatures declaring the Holiness of God and the twenty-four elders surrounding the throne declaring God’s worth.
The last sections of scripture we will look at is Isaiah 6. It parallels in many ways in Revelation 4.
Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory!”
4 And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. 5 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!”
6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7 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)
Here we see the same thing as John did in revelation. God is on his throne. He is being worshipped by the seraphim who perpetually worship the holiness of God. In this text Isaiah emphasizes his response to being in the presence of God. In the presence of the Holy God, Isaiah is broken by his sin. When we come to God in prayer we need to be struck with the reality that we are in the presence of the Holy infinite almighty creator of the universe and that because of Jesus Christ we can draw near with confidence to the throne of Grace.
Here are links to the books cited in the article