"A day in Thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than to dwell in the tents of wickedness."
King James Version
EXPLORATION: "Praying the Praise Prayer - I Present"
"God is always near you and with you; leave Him not alone.
Do I recognize the presence of God in my life?
"When we sing, ‘Draw me nearer, nearer, blessed Lord,' we are not thinking of the nearness of place, but of the nearness of relationship. It is for increasing degrees of awareness that we pray, for a more perfect consciousness of the divine Presence. We need never shout across the spaces to an absent God. He is nearer than our own soul, closer than our most secret thoughts."
A. W. Tozer
INSPIRATION: "P" - I present myself to You this morning.
Today we begin A 6-day study on the "Praise Prayer." As I shared with you yesterday, I have started each day with this prayer since 1996 and what blessings Praising God have brought into my life.
As I mentioned, the "Praise Prayer" is an acrostic with each letter in the word "Praise" representing a specific element of the prayer.
First we will begin with the letter "P."
"I present myself to You this morning."
I hate to admit this but I'm not a morning person. Years ago when I worked as a nurse, I loved the 3-11 shift. I went to work at 3:00 p.m. in the afternoon; got off work at 11:30 p.m. at night; and after going out with friends after work, I usually got to bed about 1:00 a.m. and didn't get up the next day until 9:00a.m. It was a perfect cycle for my body.
Getting up with the chickens in the morning holds no allure for me. And having "praise" on my lips at an early hour isn't natural either. Quite frankly, as I stumble out of bed in the morning, the last thing on my mind is saying, "Hallelujah!"
So when I chose to start my daily routine with the "Praise Prayer," the first thing I had to do was change my mindset. Unfortunately, we are creatures of habit, and so rewiring my brain wasn't easy. But choosing to say the "Praise Prayer" was something I could do. Having made a clear choice to incorporate heaven's praise into my life, I faithfully began starting each day with praise.
Of course, as I've told you before, my favorite question is, "why?" And as I analyzed this prayer, my first question was, "why do I need to present myself to God each day?"
I know I am His child. I believe God created me. Not only am I His child, but I believe His Word. As a Christian, I accept the gift of His precious Son, Jesus Christ. And I believe in the gift of the Comforter - the Holy Spirit. So why should I need to present myself to God? Doesn't He know I am already His?
Asking these questions encouraged me to go to God's Word for answers. And I want to offer you several reasons it is not only important but critical that the first thing we do each day is to place our lives within the presence of our Heavenly Father.
Several weeks ago, I was in Phoenix, Arizona, which is 2 hours away from where I live. I had several appointments and was staying with my mother who lives there. When I arrived, my mom told me that my niece Bethanie, who also lives in Phoenix, was coming over. "What does she want?" I asked my mother.
"I'm not sure," my mom replied.
When Bethanie arrived I asked her the same question, "What do you want?" This was her response, "Oh, Effie, I just wanted to spend time with you. We don't have to do anything. I just wanted to be with you."
WOW! Talk about stacking up brownie points with me. I was so touched! Later I found out that a group of Bethanie's friends were getting together that evening and she really wanted to be with them but chose instead, when she found out I was in town, to spend the evening with me.
Now let's relate this practical situation back to the first line of the "Praise Prayer."
When I get up each day, I have the power to use one of the greatest gifts God has given me - my power of choice. I can make a choice to place my life, myself, within the presence of God for that day. What I do when I "present" my life daily to my Heavenly Father is I put myself within the net of my Father's love! By my action, I tell my Father that I want to be in His presence and I want His presence with me. Remember, God doesn't force Himself upon us, but where He is invited, He will gladly enter. I love the words of the Apostle John in the last book of the Bible, Revelation. "Look at Me. I stand at the door. I knock. If you hear Me call and open the door, I'll come right in and sit down to supper with you" (Revelation 3: 20, The Message). This isn't a bully banging down your door and pushing his way in, this is the gentle call of a loving Father who when invited comes in and fills us with His presence.
But there's another element to presenting ourselves to our Father. In Matthew 6: 24 we find Jesus telling His followers: "You can't worship two gods at once. Loving one god, you'll end up hating the other. Adoration of one feeds contempt for the other." This is how Matthew 6:24 reads in The Message. In the King James Version the word used in place of "worship" is "serve," The Hebrew translates this word as "valiant warrior." I can't be a soldier in God's army and belong to the opponent's army, too. As I reflect on this text in Matthew it becomes very clear that if at the beginning of each day, I suit up in the armor of God, I have in effect put the devil on notice - I'm not fighting the battle against evil by myself. I am not alone in the fight. I have the greatest Commander in the universe walking side by side with me because I choose to "present" myself to Him. He is present with me.
At this point you might be saying, "But Dorothy, I'm not good enough. I've made too many mistakes and when I present myself, all my filthy rags will be exposed."
Well, I have good news for you. And the news comes from the lips of Jesus, Himself. "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and (she) that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out" (John 6: 37 K.J.V).
If you and I choose each day to "come" to "present" ourselves to our Father - we already know what His answer will be, "You are welcome and accepted." Don't you love hearing your Father in heaven say, "Yes, come to me." And if I choose to "present" myself everyday, I'll get the same answer everyday.
In 1614, a young man was born in France named Nicholas Herman. Because he lacked the "proper" education, he spent most of his life working in the kitchen of a priory in Paris. He also, in his later years, became a repairer of sandals. Yet his humble life never deterred him from seeking the presence of God. After his death, a book of his writings was published, The Practice of the Presence of God. We now know the author as Brother Lawrence. Here is how this man of God describes the joy of "presenting" ourselves to our Father in heaven:
"I consider myself as the most wretched of men, full of sores and corruption, and who has committed all sorts of crimes against his King. Touched with a sensible regret, I confess to Him all my wickedness. I ask His forgiveness, I abandon myself in His hands that He may do what He pleases with me. The King, full of mercy and goodness, very far from chastising me, embraces me with love, makes me eat at His table, serves me with His own hands, gives me the key of His treasures; He converses and delights Himself with me incessantly, in a thousand and a thousand ways, and treats me in all respects as His favorite. It is thus I consider myself in His holy presence." "P" - I present myself to You this morning. And our Father says, "Welcome. Come, I have embraced you with My presence."
"I no longer believe that God is up there, and I do not believe that God is only within me, and I do not believe that God is merely out there in history. I think we are actually in God at all times."
Sister Madonna Kolbenschlag
AFFIRMATION: BLESS HIS NAME!
"Bless the Lord, O my soul;
and all that is within me, bless his holy name!"
It is thus, O God, that I want to begin this day -
blessing you, praising you, adoring you,
as did the ancient psalmist.
You have kept me through the night.
You have forgiven me the sins
and errors of yesterday.
Now I am privileged to begin a new day,
to start over again,
to step out into this world as your child and servant,
assigned to serve in your purposes,
I praise you with the assurance that,
as you watch over your own through the night,
so you will walk with us through each day.
I dedicate this day to you, O Lord,
that I may travel in that course you set before me.
Help me to be faithful and obedient
to the voice of your Spirit within me,
and allow my morning praises
to continue throughout this day,
reflecting your love and glory
in all my relationships and activities."
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
P.S. My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is now available wherever books are sold and on the internet at www.amazon.com, Christianbook.com, or by calling toll-free, 1-800-Christian. You can also go to www.whenawomanmeetsjesus.com and purchase the book through Paypal for $8.00. Or by calling Transformation Garden at 1-888-397-4348.
For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.