Has Your Altar Become a Stage?July 15, 2016
Slowly the lights fade and the curtain is drawn open. The stage is adequately prepared as the ornately-donned actor steps into the spotlight to dramatically pronounce his lines. With clear and articulate enunciation, he calls the audience to attention. He is good. He is convincing. He is even mesmerizing. But he is an actor. His real identity has been arrested by a role, a part…a character he has learned to play extremely well. Sometimes in the private chambers of his life he cannot tell where he stops and the performer begins. He has a hard time engaging in real conversations as he has become saturated with his script. So he puts on his mask, assumes his role, and daily plays the part.
No, I am not speaking of a Broadway performer, I am speaking of the typical Christian and his prayer life.
The real issue behind a believer’s struggling prayer life is the issue of mistaken identity. We have a tendency to approach God with the mindset of a performer. Therefore, we use religiously-hyped words in a scripted manner with verbatim style and form. We feel as though God is our audience and we must impress Him with our articulation and professionalism. Though the façade may sound or look impressive to the casual onlooker, God knows it is just acting. Playing and praying become synonymous acts of worship.
A Table is Spread
God is not interested in our stage; instead, He has prepared a table. He sets a place, pulls out a chair with divine courtesy, and graciously invites us to take off the mask and just be ourselves. There is no pressure to perform, no intense stares from a crowd, no script, no memorized lines. No, here at the table of divine fellowship, God alleviates us of stardom and reminds us that He is the only One worthy of applause.
Therefore, when you bow your head, your heart, your knees in prayer, you should do so in true form – that of a son or daughter. Your Father knows you, the entirety of you. Your faults, failures, moodiness, anger, habits, indiscretions, secret sins. Your doubts, insecurities, fears, heartbreaks. He knows all of it and still invites you to come. He invites you to come, not only on the basis of who you are (His child), but on the basis of Who He is. The table of fellowship is constructed by the timbers of Calvary. And the royal seat has been allotted only to the Great High Priest of Heaven. Only He has the authority to grant access to whom He wills. And so He calls you…not to a stage, but to a table, a throne. And He grants you boldness to enter.
The right to enter however has one requirement: Take off the mask, get off the stage, and just be you.