My youngest calls me by my first name. Many mothers would find this disrespectful, but it is needs must with us. You see, I don’t always answer to Mom. I’m a writer, and so I spend a lot of my time in the whirl of ideas in my head. For some reason, the word, Mom, doesn’t always pierce my consciousness. But float out the name, Alice, and my attention is yours. I have been a parent of six for thirty years, so I have no excuse or reason why this would be so. Fortunately God is not as scatterbrained as I am, and He has names for us to call Him according to our need.
A prayer exercise I like to use in my personal devotions is to imagine myself at the foot of a high tower on which the names of God are engraved.
The scripture that inspired this was Proverbs 18:10: “The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.” I like to imagine all of God’s names carved in stone all around the strong tower and light coming like a beacon from the top. With each name, I examine myself and my emotions and beliefs about those names. If there is pain or doubt, I know that I need to spend time exploring God’s name for Himself, and exploring the source of my discomfort. And I need to spend time letting God expose me to my own self. After all, He knows me better than I know me.
Prayer with baskets
At my side is a basket. As I contemplate those names, usually one at a time, I place those items in my life that prevent my experiencing the fullness of that particular name. For instance, for Jehovah Jireh or the Lord my Provider, I often imagine my empty wallet or perhaps an empty cup and put that into the basket. Then I ask the Lord to take that basket and I wait. Sometimes He returns the basket with something surprising in it, and other times he relieves me of whatever burdens me. I know many need to explore their relationship to God as their provider. This exercise has healed me of much of my sense of lack.
Sometimes there is revelation in the basket. As I sat at the base of that tower, the name that I struggled with was Savior. My large brown worn out basket was filled with my sins and regrets. I found I could not lift it because it was so heavy. This is an accurate picture of how I see my mistakes. But I also know that there is no regret in the kingdom of God, and He is anxious to free me from it. To the Lord, the weight of my sin was light. He had no problem lifting it and so He did, with ease. After all, He has already bought it all. Up it went in God’s invisible hand and in its place came another basket, moving slowly down to my side as if it was placed there with care.
In that same basket, returning to me repaired and in good condition, was a very intense light.
I tried to lift the basket and found that if anything, it was heavier than the weight of my sin at the beginning of my prayer time.
A revelation of the Light
Sometimes it takes a moment to let truth sink in. As I looked in and around this immovable basket filled with light, joy began to well up in me. I had thought of grace as lightweight; somehow my sin was heavier. We sing about the weight of God’s glory and grace, but my unconscious assumption was that these were somehow less substantial than the reality of my errors. Not so! Grace, once received, is immovable, heavier than any transgression to which we feel bound. In Acts 15:11 we learn “that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved.” God’s grace is fixed, strong, and mighty to save. The light in my basket was like the sun, so heavy and yet unbearably bright. How metaphorical. After all, it is the weight of the sun that keeps the earth in its place. Its fierce light keeps us alive.
What is your concept of grace? We throw around phrases like ‘cheap grace’ and ‘saved by grace’, but sometimes it takes some serious self-examination to surface our beliefs. The concept that God is light is easy to pass over. The light in my basket was bright and denser than any matter. It could not be moved by any force.
If God is light, He is not the weak fluorescent lights we are accustomed to.
And if He is the Father of lights, what does that say about the light that shines out of you? Is your light strong? Or are the batteries weak? Sit at the foot of His strong tower today and ask Him to reveal Himself in a new way today.
Don’t be surprised when your basket is filled with the unexpected. Instead wait on the Lord and let Him reveal you to yourself and Himself to you. Spend time leaning on that strong tower. It stands there as a safe place for the believer. Wait for His revelation because He is the Giver of all good gifts. What have you received from Him lately?