When, Indeed?

Have you learned the joy of coming into the Lord's presence?

My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?

   - Psalm 42.2

Therefore let this principle abide with us, that on the road we so live as travellers, 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

This is the cry of the one who has learned the secret joys of prayer.

This is the longing of all who have ever gazed upon the glory of the Lord in the face of Jesus Christ.

This is the consuming passion of everyone who has tasted of the fullness of joy and pleasures forever more which are to be enjoyed in the presence of the Lord.

It’s not that this life is unimportant or insignificant; rather, this life only makes sense, only yields its fullest meaning and purpose, and only commands our most devoted attention when it is lived before the face of the Lord.

The prayer of every sincere disciple is the prayer of Columbanus and the sons of Korah: “When?” Every day, of course. First thing in the morning, throughout the day, last thing before we retire.

Jesus sits enthroned at the Father’s right hand, not in some remote, unobtainable 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. And once you have begun to, you will wonder why this is not your constant occupation.

We travel through this life as on a journey, our eyes fixed squarely on the light that glows beyond the horizon of time. Live not for the pleasures and distractions of this life; live for the face of Jesus.

And to the question, “When?”, learn to give the answer, “Today, now, and always.”

For in the presence of the Lord is everything you were created for, could ever want, or will ever enjoy.

Psalm 110.1-3 (Aurelia: “The Church’s One Foundation”)
“Sit by Me at My right hand,” the Lord says to my Lord,
“Until I make Your foot stand on all who hate Your Word.”
From in His Church the Savior rules all His enemies;
While those who know His favor go forth the Lord to please.

Lord, haunt me with the question, “When? When?”, until coming into Your presence, into the fullness of joy, is my every moment discipline and delight.

Prayer is the defining Christian activity. If you need help learning what to pray or how to pray more consistently, order a copy of my book, God's Prayer Program, from our online store. Here you will learn the joy, power, and discipline of praying the psalms, and of learning to pray without ceasing. This discipline has changed my life, and it can change yours, too.

T. M. Moore, Principal
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T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT. 

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