Saturday, October 26, 2013

Prayer & the Presence Motif (PrayerLife)


The great New Testament scholar Gordon Fee writes:

"The Holy Spirit is none other than the fulfillment of the promise that God himself would once again be present with his people... The Spirit is God's own personal presence in our lives and in our midst; he leads us into paths of righteousness for his name's sake, he "is working all things in all people," he is grieved when his people do not reflect his character and thus reveal his glory..., and he is present in our worship, as we sing "praise and honor and glory and power" to God and to the Lamb."

Fee calls this "the Presence Motif." This motif is, for example, the interpretive key to the book of Exodus. In Exodus the people are seeking for the experiential presence of God, and follow God's tangible presence through the wilderness.

I believe that, for the most part, it is experience, and not theory, that breeds conviction. It is one thing to talk about God and His love and power; it is quite another thing to encounter and experience the Living God.

The Jesus-story has always been about this. Knowing Scripture is good, but it is far from enough.  Because Scripture is intended to bring us into a living, knowing and being-known relationship with God. What people need is the real presence of God, not a theory or doctrine about it. Things like God's love, grace, and mercy are essentially experiential realities of the God who is with us, not just theoretical postulates. We are told that the Spirit deluges our hearts with these things (Rom. 5:5 - hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit,who has been given to us).

Seek God today, in prayer. Pray in the dwelling place of His presence. Expect God.