I am halted by conditions. Conditional promises are circled throughout my Bible, just in case I miss one ‘if’. I don’t want to fall short you know, as if I could do anything but. I listen to warnings carefully, (James 4:1-4) “you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.” As we begin a prayer ministry at our church I felt assaulted by these warnings, what if I don’t know what to ask the Lord. What if I have no faith? What if my sin gets in the way? What if I insult the Lord? What if I’m just a big fat fraud?
He yearns jealously over the spirit that he made to dwell in us. James 4:5
But he gives more grace. God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. James 4:6
Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. James 4:8
I asked the question, are their conditions on His dwelling with me? My sin is dealt with, right? Jesus, right? But my habit of fear does separate my peace; the habit to fear is an insult to His presence. How can He be there to co-dwell with fear? But I need His strength to get rid of this fear. I prayed, “Lord, give me tangible prayers, thoughts, and actions to be rid of this fear.”
An hour later I read an article on NPR, a report on whether military chaplains have to believe in God (http://www.npr.org/2013/07/31/207320123/should-military-chaplains-have-to-believe-in-god). I was in tears thinking about a dying soldier being led in prayer, or assisted in prayer by someone who doesn’t believe in God. Empty words without faith - a prayer for the dead, not the living.
I found a quiet place and heard the Lord ask me, “are you a Godless priest?“ “No,” I answered, tears streaming down my face. “Is the word given to you by Me imperfect because of your imperfection?” “No,” forgive me Lord. And He does.
As you come to him, (draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.), a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 2:4-5) The condition? Come to Him. This I can do.