Fellowship in the Galleries of the King
By Joanie Stahl & Brook Ardoin (July 2017)
I know that there are endless studies about prayer, different types of it, and ways to go about it. The internet is replete with the how-to’s and countless methods. There are a million different authors, all espousing techniques and ways of approaching the throne of the Most High God.
Prayer is a vast economy and there is no end of it, as heaven is eternal, and as God Himself is from eternity to eternities.
However, trying to apply the methods people employ often ends up fading away shortly after application. This is because it is what others have learned, becoming their own experience and not the reader’s. Prayer MUST become the personal possession of each saint.
Let me make myself clear on this. There are certainly methods of prayer that every saint must learn. Take spiritual warfare for instance. At times, you have to get down and dirty with the enemy and his vices. If you have limited to no understanding of how to pray in warfare, then you may find yourself beaten down pretty badly.
Spiritual battle takes understanding. No soldier will ever go into battle ill equipped. Every soldier’s goal is to make it through each battle alive, and ultimately win the war! In order to win a war, there are specific strategies that are taught and implemented by all soldiers. Can you imagine a soldier on the front lines of a battlefield who has never engaged in rigorous training? Nonetheless, this particular article is not centered on the “hows” of prayer.
Today, rather than focusing on the methods of prayer, I want to take you deeper into one of the“whys” that compels us to pray. I want to present this to you in the simplest of ways as can only be taught by the Lord. After all, I consider prayer as a breathing out of one’s own heart.
This is most personal because no one can breathe for you… only you. In my humble opinion, God did not breathe life into each person merely for carnal purposes. It was also to give back to Him that very breath He gave us, perfumed with prayers of the seeking soul. Prayer is power. It is a power developed in each of us, in our degrees of growth, and in the lives we live.
One of the definitions for the word incense in Greek is “perfume”. Our heartfelt prayers are as the smoke of sweet incense. They arise up in the spiritual realm, finding their way as perfume into the nostrils of the Almighty. They find their Creator, knowing they belong to Him alone… their sweet fragrant offering so pleasing to Him. King David said it beautifully:
“Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.” Psalm 141:2, KJV.
It is mostly developed as it is used, not in trying to develop the skill of it. It is not the length of prayer, but the strength of it that comes out of the soul – especially the suffering soul.
This happens to be my own attempt at not being anything else but myself, and sharing it with you in the simplest ways. It is not meant to do anything else but embolden you to launch out on your own and take the mountain yourself. Something has to rise up within your own self and release your breath of life that God gave you, back to Him, with the very force of your own will and say it like you mean it. There is no other way.
“Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, I will get me to the mountain of myrrh, and to the hill of frankincense.” – Song of Solomon 4:6, KJV
You have got to get yourself there.
I know that every human being since man’s creation has eternity set within them. Any forensic anthropologist would agree that every human tribe from antiquity has shown forth their quest to worship something they do not see or know.
There is something within every human being that knows there is something else that lies beyond them – an existence of life of something higher than themselves. That there is a person or being in whom holds all power, wisdom, and creation, and that there is a spiritual existence beyond this world.
This is true as we read Romans 2:14-15,
“For when the Gentiles which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves. Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another….”
In this verse alone, we see that God made sure that His creation of mankind would have something within themselves… something far greater than themselves. This caused them to know, to search, to look upwards towards heaven, even though they did not know why, but were still compelled.
When I consider the post-Edenic condition of lost mankind, it is interesting and wonderful to me at the same time, that God did not erase this feature from humankind. I am speaking of the intrinsic knowing that there is something more beyond this mortal life.
As I stated above, the earliest primitive humans knew something else was out there, something more than what they could taste, see, feel, and smell; hence, idolatry which Satan embellished upon.
In every culture around the globe, all of His creation cries out to something. Though there are numerous false religions and false gods that have deceived the masses, the underlying factor still remains…God has placed within every person an undeniable longing to commune with his or her Creator.
I can say that there is something in each of us in this postmodern era that carries on from our ancient predecessors from past millennia… no matter where in the world a person is born, and no matter how much sophisticated knowledge has crowned itself king.
God has placed this knowing, yet an unknowing, within every born soul. I credit Him for that. It is a high and wonderful mercy that He has bestowed upon the lost souls of mankind in the great wilderness of this earthly life. It is something like a door within everyone, leaving open to Himself, though many scorn and reject it. He still leaves it open until their end.
My forty plus years has been for the greater part observational in what I have witnessed in every soul both young and old. It is something within them that wants to look up and speak to God, longing to draw near to their Creator – to embrace Him, love Him, hear Him. There are many different degrees of this searching, but it all adds up to the same thing.
Let me draw your attention to Saul of Tarsus, the great enemy of the most early of Christians. He had a horrible reputation. Listen to what he says of himself:
“And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me for that He counted me faithful putting me in the ministry; Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious, but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.” 1 Timothy 1:12-13, KJV
However, while on his way to Damascus to arrest and kill Christians, Saul was met by the Lord in a divine visitation. This was the moment that Jesus Christ intervened, not only on behalf of those he would have imprisoned and had killed, but also for his own life. Eternally speaking, he was spared as well. It was at this time that Saul of Tarsus became born again.
Historical fact has proven that after he saw the risen Lord, he became blinded by that great light, brighter than the sun. Led into Damascus, the Lord told him that He would reveal what He had planned for him. I want to stress the part where a local disciple named Ananias was visited by the Lord in his sleep. Listen closely to what Jesus told him:
“And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, “Ananias”! And he said, “Behold, I am here, Lord”.
And the Lord said unto him, “Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth.” Acts 9:10-12, KJV.
You see, this stands out to me as the first most important thing that Saul did. It was the first sign of true conversion, of truly being born again and made anew; the first cry of the newborn and prayer is what marked his regeneration. After all, what baby does not cry a great cry after delivery? If a baby does not cry, there is a problem. Therefore, when we are newly born again, the first sign of life must be the cry of prayer to our Father.
The first cry of Saul’s was the beautiful evidence of his new birth. Additionally, his being blind for three days caused him to go into the very depths of his soul and into his spirit, both crying out in prayer to God who honored it. Not only must this be the first sign of conversion, but it is also understood as entering into new citizenry of heaven.
Prayer is and MUST be exactly the first and last cry of the human life, as well as all of the in between. Saul’s name in Hebrew means, “One Who Contends”, while Paul is a Gentile name that he took meaning “little one”. His entire life from the moment of spiritual rebirth until his death is marked out as a man who lived in heaven while sojourning on earth.
Now, let me say that you too have this deep heart cry, and God knows that you do. He hears your inmost thoughts.
“O lord, thou hast searched me and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, though understandeth my thought afar off. Though compassest my path and my lying down, and are acquainted with all my ways. For there in not a word in my tongue, but lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether.” Psalm 139:1-5, KJV.
I think about this scripture and all others too numerous to add here. I think so much of the many times God tells us that “the Father knows the things we have need of before we ask,” (Matthew 6:8, KJV), and how He declares, “….for I know the things that come into your mind, every one of them”, (Ezekiel 11:5, KJV) and how “he poured out his soul unto death”. (Isaiah 53:12, KJV).
This does something to me. It grabs a hold of me. He speaks to me and makes me grab a hold of Him and the only way is to pray to Him.
It does something to you too. Why? Because His word is alive and it is His life force. I may not know who you are that are reading this, but that is irrelevant. I get the feeling that you know that God is calling you. You are not a faceless person in the big Christian crowd or religious system. You are not a number or a byproduct of His glorious creation, though at times you may feel like it.
There was something in you before you were born again that yearned for more; that knew there had to be something more. Then you were brought into His family, being purchased by the precious Blood of the Lamb, His Son Jesus Christ. This was done purposefully that He would know you personally, intimately, deeply, all the days of your life.
God has created all people in His image and likeness. God is Spirit; therefore, we are all spirit beings. It is this part within all human beings that cries out to something greater. Jesus tells us in John 3 that, “that which is born of the Spirit is spirit”, thus we must be “born of water and of the Spirit” in the new birth. Our spirits are what cry out, desperate for its Creator. This was by design. God’s Spirit living within us bears witness with ours. We are then free to come before His throne with prayer offerings.
I love this following scripture:
“Look unto Me and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God and there is none else!” Isaiah 45:22, KJV.
Do you see the simplicity of it? Look… Just look! Look up to Him. It is that simple. It is a simple looking up to your God! Do it! Do it with everything in you barring nothing! Give all you have to Him and do not hold back any part of yourself. There is nothing worth holding back anyway. He is your God!
“Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the Lord? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and Saviour; there is none beside Me.” Isaiah 45:21, KJV.
This whole existence we call earthly life is a hard driver. Yet at the same time, the God of your salvation uses it to drive you towards heaven. When you even so much as glance His way, He engages your soul. Whether it be a little baby or a man or woman full of years, He receives even the slightest turning to Him.
The strong orator does not have His ear. It is the meek of the earth, the broken hearted, the captives of the greatest strongholds, the bruised, the bound, those that mourn, the sick, widows, the fatherless and rejected. This means those that appear rich too. They too need the Lord, for many of them are the poorest in spirit.
Many want the apparent, seemingly visual gifts they see on Sunday’s in the church which demand letters and degrees of qualification. However, I submit to you that everyone is qualified to pray and when you do, whoever you are, you take part of the very throne of Jesus Christ where you are even now in the very person of Him!
“And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:6, KJV.
This IS reality. This is where you exist even now in the spiritual realm, whomever you are, that have been born again through the new birth. When this reality enters into your mind, and into your spirit, a great quickening enters within you, and great power. It is a power to overcome by faith in everything. You will not know what it is not to pray, for you cannot help but to pray. You cannot help but to pray just as you breathe involuntarily. After all, prayer is breathing the breath He gave you back to Him in love.
This is truth and this is your heritage.
From the heights above Christ rules and reigns for you.
“In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.” 1 John 4:10, KJV.
As I get older, I consider that the most prestigious, most noble, and most honorable gift ever bestowed upon mankind is the vehicle of prayer.
“And ye now therefore have sorrow, but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you. And in that day, ye shall ask Me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in My name, He will give it you.
Hitherto have ye asked nothing in My name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.
These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: but the time cometh, that I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall shew you plainly the Father. At that day, ye shall ask in My name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you:
For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God.” John 16:22-27, KJV.
When it comes to prayer, God is not interested in lip service. His interest lies within the heart. He requires us to seek after Him with all our heart:
“…Forasmuch as this people draw near Me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour Me, but have removed their heart far from Me…” Isaiah 29:13, KJV
“Blessed are they that keep His testimonies, and that seek Him with the whole heart.” Psalm 119:2, KJV.
Take King Hezekiah for instance. In 2 Kings 20:1-3, the prophet Isaiah tells the king that the Lord said for him to set his house in order, for he will die and not live. In verse 3, the king then pours his heartfelt prayer unto the Lord, reminding Him how he endeavored to walk before Him with a loyal heart.
King Hezekiah could not get out more words because he sorely broke down crying before God. It was due to the prayer from his heart that the Lord answered him and added 15 more years to his life.
Hannah, the mother of the prophet Samuel, is another example of God answering prayer when asked from the heart. In 1 Samuel 1:10, 13, because of her mental suffering, her lips were moving though she did not speak her words out loud. Though Eli the priest rebuked her having thought she was drunk, God heard her inaudible request and granted her petition.
In Matthew 18, Jesus tells us to become as little children; therefore, it is acceptable to call out to Him as a child would – simple, trusting, and selfless.
It is abundantly clear in the Bible that God created man for His glory (Isaiah 43:7). Therefore, our ultimate purpose is as simple as this – to glorify God. Part of how can we do that is through prayer. God yearns to hear our voices every single day. He anticipates the time when we awaken, just to hear us speak to Him.
The more we seek to share our hearts with Him, the stronger that relationship becomes. Communication is mandatory in every relationship. In doing so, we begin to hear and know His voice like never before. He begins to speak to us like never before. We will only get from God what we seek to give unto Him. The beautiful truth is that we can start from wherever we are. Start today!
In closing, I think of a portion of a verse that has caught my attention for many years and has spoken to me at the last.
“…the king is held in the galleries.” Song of Solomon 7:5, KJV.
I think of Jesus, the great King, held in His galleries. It is here where He holds Himself as a private place of meeting with each of us, where we commune in private loving fellowship. Here the world is shut out, and those galleries are none other than each of our hearts proper. All it takes is a simple turning within. You have access even now, with boldness, where He is ready and waiting to receive you now.
Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory forever and ever, Amen.
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