Ife stirred awake. Lazily he looked at the bedside clock, 9.30am. Like a bolt, he jumped out of bed having a 10.30am appointment to keep.
With the Lagos traffic, he knew he ought to be on the road now. To be composed when ushered into the office of the Senator.
He, being a busy man, is a stickler to time and if he, Ife, missed the appointment would take almost six months to fix another.
Hurriedly he brushed his teeth, washed his face, no time for a bath, he got into his clothes which he heavily perfumed, and ran out of the room. It would take a miracle to meet the appointment; one he must not miss.
No thanks to his friends who kept him up late last night. No matter how he protested, they refused to go home; rather they teased him the more. Now he would have to deal with the rush alone.
His eyes were red and pepperish, and he prayed no one would notice his sleeplessness or the fact that he did not have a bath. This was one of the few situations that prompted him to pray; for a traffic-free road, and for God’s favour.
Surely God was on his side, for evidently the traffic was light and moving. He heaved a sigh of relief as he drew near the office.
Not being truly composed, his heart thumped louder with every step that took him nearer the Senator’s office. He looked at his wrist watch; a few minutes more. His strides became longer as he tried to cover the few yards with a few steps.
“Brother Ife, you’re just on time”, the Secretary told him as he entered the reception, “the Senator will see you now.”
“God!” he breathed quietly, walking to the door to the Senator’s office; no time to rest or catch his breath. He knocked at the door.
“Come.” A deep voice invited.
He turned the knob and suddenly found himself in the massive, posh office of Senator Ken. The man’s presence was intimidating. From the Secretary’s office, he began to feel the man’s presence; powerfully strong and intimidating.
Rivers of sweat began to cascade freely under his singlet, and he prayed it would not show on his shirt.
“Sit”, the man told him without looking up from the file on his desk.
But he kept standing; transfixed by the energy of the man’s presence. His perfume, aura and personality combined as a whirlwind emanating from him, that he felt like running away. What was he doing here? He suddenly forgot the reason for the visit, feeling like an insignificant pest in that massive office that even the butterflies he felt in his stomach seemed to seek an escape route.
No doubt you have felt like that some time. But that is just in the presence of a mere man.
This is one thing we often overlook or forget as we go into His presence, either because He is not really there, or we have become too familiar with Him. This portends a very dangerous trend for us as Christians.
Jacob said “The LORD is in this place and I know it not”. Many of us enter into the place of prayer not knowing that God is there. We are so full of ourselves and our fleshly requests, we fail to acknowledge Him in the place of prayers. It is like walking in a bright and well lit room where there is a pillar, but being occupied with other things, one bumps into the pillar.
Jacob eventually knew God was there. Do we eventually?
Many do not. Neither are they troubled or bothered. We play religion; make some noise called prayer, work up sweat as we jump up and down the prayer room with a zeal that has no foundation or substance.
It reminds me of the prophets of Baal who prayed, cut themselves, jumped up and down the altar producing sweat, yet producing no fire! All because the presence of God was not with them.
That partly explains why we hardly produce fire today, as Christians. Because there is no presence of God in most prayers. He who fills heaven and earth IS there in the secret place or prayer room. But we fail to connect Him! We ignore and despise His presence!
HOW DO WE CONNECT HIM?
(1) Draw high to Him and He’ll draw high to you!
“Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.” – James 4:8
This is a deliberate action, not forced by the situation or circumstances that sometimes threaten us like Ife who was forced to pray as he walked along. Nothing is wrong with praying on the road, but let it not be the only time we pray. Such prayers are not only hastily done, but are not focused because of distractions; our heart needs to be fully on Him.
We need to deliberately make time for the secret place, not to run in there when situations threaten. Many Christians, like Ife, only remember prayer when situations threaten! And we do so hurriedly. It should not be so!
(2) Treasure Him.
We place a high value or premium on things we treasure, and our heart gravitate around them.
Whatever is dear to us is constantly on our minds. We place it on a scale of importance above every other thing.
One of the reasons we do not connect God in our prayers is because we do not treasure Him enough.
“And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.” – Mark 12:30
Most often we forget the one to whom our prayers are directed, placing value on other things, and making Him jealous.
Love Him, treasure Him above your vocation, even if it threatens your life!
“So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.”
– John. 21:15
(3) See Him through the eyes of faith.
Entering the place of prayer with spiritual blindness stands against our receiving. What we see, we receive.
Elijah said to Elisha that receiving his request would only be possible if he saw. If Elisha failed to see Elijah, the one from whom the request was made, he would not have received his desire.
Till you see God in the secret place you cannot receive what you ask!
God is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him. You have to seek Him in the secret place before you can receive your request. Seek Him for Who He is, not just for the solution of a situation at hand; seek Him diligently and with all your heart then you will find Him and be rewarded. Jacob could not inherit Canaan till he had wrestled with God.
See Him first then He would usher you into inheritance.
Let your eye be single, no distractions; for God will never share His glory with any man or situation. Disconnect from external things; they distract! Peter began to sink when he regarded the boisterous wind.
“But when He saw the wind boisterous, He was afraid; and beginning to sink, He cried, saying, Lord, save me.” – Matthew 14:30
(4) Use The Power Of Imagination.
This is the only time I advice the use of this power.
Paul’s advice is that imagination should be used only on things that honour God, else, don’t use it!
“Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” – 2 Corinthians 10:5
Imagination can kill, and it can make alive! It is in Man, what the tree of knowledge of good and evil is in the garden of Eden.
Imagination can lead you into adultery! It can inspire you to steal, to kill and to destroy! What you imagine, rather than restrain you, will empower you! That is why Jesus said that whoso looks at a woman lustfully has committed adultery; that imagination if not dealt with will grow and become real!
That is my grouse with “motivational” speakers or preachers. The “word” motivation, is relative! A robber can be motivated! A murderer can be motivated! An adulterer can be motivated! Motivation can be good or evil. What direction are we motivating ourselves!!!
The mind is home to motivation, and thrives on imagination. Imagination can produce what you direct it to.
But ask Nimrod and all in Genesis 11; they had results, but because the results were not of God, they did not last! Do you still wonder why your blessings don’t last?
Even the strong-willed Christian will fall if he employs his imagination outside the leading of the Holy Spirit, because imagination would always conquer the Will when pitched against each other. Like in the military we are not called to think for ourselves but to obey instructions.
Its only but a matter of time and you will be overtaken by your imagination! As much as it is possible, do not use this power!
But in the secret place (prayer room), and in the direction of God, yes; employ your imagination. See Him through the eyes of faith, seated upon the throne, and you at His feet in humble adoration!
Imagination can connect you to God if directed to Him. It can also disconnect you from Him if directed to any other person or thing. Train and use the power of imagination only towards God.
The Secret Place is the only place no one can follow you, not even your spouse. Like Ife in the Senator’s office, you have to be alone in the presence of God. The direction of your heart has a lot to do in your appointment with Him. Fill your heart with the joy of His presence and let not your heart be troubled.
Remember, He is your Father.