Therefore let this principle abide with us, that on the road we so live as travelers, as pilgrims, as guests of the world, entangled by no lusts, longing with no earthly desires, but let us fill our minds with heavenly and spiritual impressions, singing with grace and power, When shall I come and appear before the face of God?
- Columbanus, Sermon VIII, Irish, 7th century
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When shall I come and appear before God?
- Psalm 42.2
“When shall I come and appear before the face of God?” This is the cry of the one who has learned the secret joys and transforming power of prayer.
This longing to meet with the Lord in prayer shapes the heart of everyone who has ever gazed upon the glory of the Lord in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 4.6). As Peter said, in the presence of Jesus’ radiant glory, “Lord, it is good for us to be here” (Lk. 9.33).
Prayer – more of it and better – is the consuming passion of all who have tasted of the fullness of joy and pleasures forever more which are to be enjoyed in the Presence of the Lord (Ps. 16.11).
It’s not that this life is unimportant or insignificant; rather, this life – this road on which we are travelers – only makes sense, only yields its fullest satisfaction, and only commands our most devoted attention when it is lived before the face of the Lord in prayer.
The prayer of every sincere disciple is the prayer of Columbanus and the sons of Korah: “When? When, Lord?”
Well, why not now?
Prayer is the defining Christian practice. As such, it takes various forms: “Not to us, not to us, O God, but to Your Name be glory!” “Here am I, send me!” “Guide me, O Thou great Jehovah!” “Great is Thy faithfulness!” “Unite my heart to fear You!” “Teach me Your path!” “Give us this day our daily bread!” “Create in me a clean heart!” “Hallowed be Thy Name!” Thy Kingdom, come!” “Thanks be to Thee, O God!”
Thus, prayer should define our lives as Christians, first thing in the morning, throughout the day, last thing before we sleep. Paul instructs us to pray without ceasing (1 Thess. 5.17), and in that, he was only following Jesus (Lk. 18.1); and unless we regard this as mere hyperbole or pious rhetoric, we must be about this effort by every available means.
Jesus sits enthroned at the Father’s right hand, not in some remote, inaccessible place beyond the distant heavens, but here, with us, around and over us, watching and calling to us, summoning us to enjoy His Presence and know His power now, right now.
The unseen world from which Jesus rules the cosmos is not far from any of us, if only we know how to engage it. Prayer draws aside the veil that separates time and eternity and makes of every moment spent in it a “thin place” for communion with the Lord. Once you have entered through that veil – truly entered and beheld the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ – you will wonder why this is not your constant occupation. Soon your heart will also continually cry, “When?”
We travel through this life as on a journey. Like those ancient Celtic missionaries, we are peregrini pro Christo – wanderers for Christ – and we make our journey with our eyes fixed squarely on the light that glows beyond the horizon of time.
But let us also seek and enter that light daily, at every moment, as it radiates from the face of our reigning Lord and King, with Whom we have been seated in heavenly places (Eph. 2.6).
“When shall I come and appear before the Lord?” Memorize this verse. Internalize it. Then let it exude from your spirit with every breath you exhale.
Then answer your question, “Why not now?”
1. What can you do to bring more prayer into every moment of your daily life?
2. Why is prayer the defining Christian discipline?
Psalm 42.6-8 (Nettleton: Come Thou Fount)
Oh my God, my soul is weary, therefore I remember You.
Let Your grace and goodness near be, and Your promise firm and true.
Lord, when trials and fears surround me, Your commands will be my song!
When distresses sore confound me, Your great love will keep me strong.
Lord Jesus, I know there is glory in Your face, and I long to see it, to know You and love You more completely. Teach me to pray; and draw me daily more deeply into it, especially today as I…
Resources for prayer
To learn more about how you can grow in your prayer life, order our book, The Poetry of Prayer, and take up the exercises outlined there to help you in seeking the face of the Lord daily. Click here to order your copy. And we also invite you to download a free audio copy of our book, If Men Will Pray. Share it with all the men in your Christian circle, and help us mobilize a movement of men, seeking the Lord for revival, renewal, and awakening (click here).
A call to prayer for September
We are asking all of you in The Ailbe Community – all who read or use any of our resources – to make a special, daily focus in prayer, that God would move the hearts of many to share in the financial needs of this ministry. The Lord supports our work through the prayerful and generous gifts of those who share our vision and are served by our ministry. Please join us throughout the month of September, as we seek the Lord to move and enable more of those who benefit from this ministry to share in our financial needs. If the Lord moves you to give, you can use the Contribute button at the website to give with a credit card or through PayPal, or you can send your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 360 Zephyr Road, Williston, VT 05495.
T. M. Moore
All Psalms for singing from The Ailbe Psalter. Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
 Walker, p. 97.