“Behold, we heard of it in Ephrathah, we found it in the fields of Jaar. Let us go to his dwelling place, let us worship at his footstool.”
So this is a Psalm of a sense, which means that this is a song that God’s people would sing as they would come together in Jerusalem for a feast or a festival. They would come to Jerusalem to the temple for worship. And this whole Psalm is about how David had vowed, as king, to construct a house for God’s glory to dwell. In and how God had told David that his son, Solomon, would actually construct that house. But David’s desire was to see the glory, and the presence of God dwelling among his people in a place where people could encounter His glory and worship Him.
In the absence of being able to gather together, let’s pray for one another. We pray specifically for children’s ministries throughout the world who will be unable to meet for an extended period of time.
Now, this is one of those places where we want to be careful not to leave this picture in the Old Testament, because we know that based on what Jesus has done on the cross for us, He’s opened the door. Remember when He died on the cross, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, and the way was made open for us to come into the presence of God, to be restored to relationship with God, to encounter the Glory of God, through what Jesus has done on the cross for us. So, we don’t have to go to a building in Jerusalem, or really a building anywhere in order to encounter the presence of God, and encounter the Glory of God. Our bodies are now the temple of His Holy Spirit, all those who’ve trusted in Jesus. The church, the people of God are the dwelling place of God.
But as I read this song, I can’t help but to think about, well, even the emptiness I feel when I drive up on a Sunday morning to the place where the church I have the privilege of pastoring normally gathers together for worship. And how over these last couple of months there’s like 10 of us up there, and the parking lots are empty, and the buildings are empty. And it’s not just our church, it’s so many other church buildings that have been closed during this pandemic. And so, in one sense, it’s awesome, isn’t it? And it’s encouraging that we don’t have to go to a building in order to encounter the Glory of God, that God’s presence dwells in us, is dwelling in you right now, if you’ve trusted in Jesus. You have the privilege, I have the privilege of meeting with God everywhere we go everywhere we are. At the same time, there’s this longing in the songs of a sense, and the psalms as they’re coming together there’s this longing to be together before the Glory of God. And I feel that longing nonstop right now. Certainly, every Sunday, but nonstop.
And so, I read this prayer request that was sent in to radical.net/prayerrequest, I encourage you to continue to send these specific prayer requests in, in light of the pandemic. But it’s from Mandy, who’s the children’s director at Park Springs Bible Church in Arlington, Texas. And she says, “I would just love prayer for myself, and for all of those who specifically minister to children and families within churches. This has been a challenging time as we’ve not been able to gather together for children’s ministry, specifically. And even as churches are beginning to move towards opening, children’s ministry will still be limited, since children have a hard time social distancing. So would you pray for creativity, wisdom, joy as staff and volunteers continue to minister to children and their families? That family discipleship would continue. That children would grow in their love for the Lord and His word. And God would give them hearts for the lost and the nations.”
Yes, yes, yes. And so, I want us to pray for our churches as a whole but specifically, in light of what Mandy has written, just for ministry to family, and children, and students as we long to be together before God. Long to be together worshiping God in His presence, encountering His glory. God, we do. We praise you. We praise you Jesus for making access to the Father possible even for us right now. For us to worship from our homes during these days. For us to worship anywhere we are at any time. God, we want to live in constant awareness of Your presence, constant encounter with You and Your Glory. We want to walk in the fear of You, and love for You, in awe of You and all that we do. So God help us to do that all the more so during these days.
And then, God, in the absence of being able to gather together with our churches, to be in the same place encountering Your Glory and specifically, as Mandy has mentioned here, without the opportunity to minister to children and families in unique ways that we are able to when we come together, we pray for an extra measure of grace. God, we pray specifically together over Mandy, over leaders at Park Springs Bible Church in Arlington, Texas, that you would give them grace, wisdom, creativity, joy as staff and volunteers, as they minister to children and families. And God, we pray that for children’s ministries all around our country, around the world. God, we pray that You would help those who minister to children and families specifically to have an extra measure of grace during these days to know how best to do that. And we pray that family discipleship would indeed continue in even greater ways in our homes.
And God, we pray that as we are separated from one another physically, that You would grant us an extra measure of grace in all of our lives to grow spiritually, to grow in Your presence, to see and encounter Your Glory in greater and greater ways with each passing day. As we long for the day when we can get back together. We pray that that day would come soon. And we pray that you would give wisdom to church leaders, as we decide when to do that, and how to go about that. God, we praise You for Your presence with us wherever we are. We praise You for the joy of being together with Your church, so we certainly don’t take for granted. And we pray that whether alone, or when we are able to gather together, we pray that You would be maximally glorified in our lives, our families and our churches in. Jesus’ name we pray, amen.