The power of fire is both terrifying and incredible… able to utterly destroy anything in its path while at the same time able to cleanse and purify like no other. There are countless times in the Old Testament that God uses fire to communicate with His people or display His awesome power. God, Himself, is both terrifying and incredible, so fire is a perfect symbolic representation.
I get the shivers when I read verses like 2 Chronicles 7:1-4…
“When Solomon finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple. The priests could not enter the temple of the Lord because the glory of the Lord filled it. When all the Israelites saw the fire coming down and the glory of the Lord above the temple, they knelt on the pavement with their faces to the ground, and they worshiped and gave thanks to the Lord, saying, ‘He is good; his love endures forever.’ Then the king and all the people offered sacrifices before the Lord.”
Here, a holy flame came down from heaven and consumed what the people had offered up to God. Can you imagine being there? Standing there, praying to God, then BAM!
Fire comes blazing down out of the sky- demonstrating just a speck of the power of the Almighty! The thing I love the most about this passage is that the fire came… AFTER
Solomon had finished praying. Solomon didn’t make the fire show up, but in response to his prayer, God demonstrated His presence to the people in an incredible way.
This was the Old Testament: God’s people saw amazing miracles and wonders but they still were held at arms length to the Father because of His holiness and their sinfulness. They had to offer sacrifices in order to appease the Great Judge because they had no permanent way of becoming righteous enough for Him. However, while God accepted their faith and offerings (and, like Abraham, attributed it to them as righteousness) most of them still did not have direct access to God.
Then came the New Testament! Because of Christ, we now have direct access to the God of the Universe. Do you know what that means? That means we can “draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews [4:16]) In everyday terms that translates to this: we can go right up to God and talk to Him because, when He looks at us, He sees us covered in His Son’s sacrifice. That makes us worthy of entering the very throne-room of heaven.
The Spirit at work within us acts as the holy fire of heaven in our lives. When we pray, or when we don’t, that spiritual fire will either burn us up, or burn itself out. If allowed, and if fed with Godly one-on-one time, that fire can cleanse us from all impurities, rid us of any sin-laden disease that we have on us, and purify us more than gold. Our God is a consuming fire.
Nick Harrison writes; “Our prayer closets should be like kilns, where we, the clay, allow the heat of God’s presence to make us clean, purified pots, ready for His use.”
So… how is your prayer life- “Great”, “Terrible”, “What is a prayer life?”
Regardless of where you are, if you are a follower of Christ, you have an open invitation to come boldly before and talk to Him just as you would a perfect Father- because that’s what He is. We all struggle with prayer; mostly because it’s rare that we find a burning bush or a pillar of fire in our everyday lives… but faith is called faith for a reason. Much like our salvation, if we have to feel or see it constantly in order to know it’s there, then it probably isn’t. It takes strong faith to believe in what isn’t seen- but that’s exactly what God wants us to do and that’s exactly what matures us as disciples and sets the holy fire ablaze in our lives.
What is a prayer life? Well, many say it’s the part of your life that you devote to prayer. I say, it’s supposed to be our entire existence. We are to pray continuously and constantly be in conversation with the Spirit in order to live BY His Spirit and not satisfy the desires of the flesh. That doesn’t mean we’re supposed to live on our knees and never get anything done… that means that all day long we are to be stoking the fire within us by “checking in” with the Great I Am. A prayer life is a LIFE of prayer.