Thursday, March 09, 2023

In the Prayer-Presence of God There Is a Purging

Monroe county

I know, from many years of getting alone with God to pray, that in the prayer-presence of God there is a purging. 

One of the truths that got burned into my heart from growing up in the Lutheran church was that part of the liturgy that quoted Psalm 51, where David prays:

"Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of your salvation." (Ps. 51:10-12) These words are part of my spiritual DNA!.I often find them singing in my soul.

We've all got laundry to do. Clothes have to be washed and cleaned. There are stains to be removed. For me time spent daily, intentionally, in focused praying serves to accomplish many things, to include personal stain removal.

Sin is stain on the human heart. All sin dehumanizes; sin indicates subhumanity. Sometimes we say, when we sin, "But I'm only human." But if we were human as God intended us we would not walk in sinful subhumanity. If you are like me, you have experienced sadness at the hold sin may have on your life. What can you do?

James Houston writes: "Prayer works to destroy these evils, because prayer unites the human soul with the life and vitality of God. Prayer allows us a direct relationship with the one person who can save us from the evil that invades our hearts." (Houston, The Transforming Power of Prayer: Deepening Your Friendship with God, 61) 

The beginning of prayer includes purging from accrued evil. Houston says, "this is the cost of being claimed by God." John Calvin wrote, "The first rule of right prayer is to have our heart and mind framed as becomes those who are entering into converse with God."

Referring to the Temple on Mount Zion in Jerusalem, David wrote:

Who may ascend the mountain of the LORD?
Who may stand in his holy place?
4 The one who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not trust in an idol
or swear by a false god.
(Ps. 24:3-4)

When you pray today, begin by requesting, "Create in me a clean heart O God; renew a right spirit within me." Stay in this place, quietly, for a moment. Experience the merciful purging and forgiveness of our Lord.