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Revelation 4


After this I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, "Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this." At once I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne. And he who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian, and around the throne was a rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald. Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones were twenty-four elders, clothed in white garments, with golden crowns on their heads. From the throne came flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder, and before the throne were burning seven torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God, and before the throne there was as it were a sea of glass, like crystal. And around the throne, on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind: the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with the face of a man, and the fourth living creature like an eagle in flight. And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say, "Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!" (ESV)
Expect Great Things of God
Monday of Holy Week
21 March 2016
Prayer expects great things of God. Prayer is an act of faith that storms the very gates of heaven, but not merely in the forlorn hope that perhaps God might hear our prayer and answer. Prayer is the confidence to take God at His word expecting great gifts from Him, because He has promised to give us such things. We shall not be repulsed if we pray with loins girt up with the Word of God. All the treasures of God's kingdom are open to us because our Lord Jesus Christ has long ago rent open the very gates of heaven (Rev 4:1) and invited us to come to Him for every blessing (Mt 11:28).
 
Prayer expects great things of God not because prayer is anything great in and of itself. Prayer expects great things of God because our gracious God is great. God has promised to hear our prayer and grant us every blessing. Our problem is not that we ask for too much from God but in our timidity and unbelief we ask for far too little. We cannot "over ask" God's grace. Our requests can never outstrip his ability to give.
 
Let us therefore not act like a miserable beggar who asks only for a crust of bread from His Majesty. Let us ask of Him great and precious things as kings and priests in His kingdom redeemed by the precious blood of His Son our Savior. Expect great things of God.

 

Martin Luther

"When we pray 'Thy kingdom come,' you see that we do not pray for a crust of bread or a temporal, perishable good. Instead, we pray for an eternal inestimable treasure and everything that God Himself possesses. This is far too great for any human heart to think about desiring, if God had not Himself commanded us to pray for the same. But because He is God, He also claims the honor of giving much more and more abundantly than anyone can understand (Eph 3:20). He is like an eternal unfailing fountain. The more it pours forth and overflows, the more it continues to give. God desires nothing more seriously from us than that we ask Him for much and great things. In fact, He is angry if we do not ask and pray confidently (Heb 4:16).
 
"It's like an occasion when the richest and most mighty Emperor would tell a poor beggar to ask whatever he might desire. The Emperor was ready to give great royal presents. But the fool would only beg for a dish of gruel. That man would rightly be considered a rogue and a scoundrel, who treated the command of his Imperial Majesty like a joke and a game and was not worthy of coming into his presence. In the same way, it is a great shame and dishonor to God if we-to whom He offers and pledges so many inexpressible treasures-despise the treasures or do not have the confidence to receive them, but hardly dare to pray for a piece of bread.
 
"All this is the fault of shameful unbelief that does not even look to God for enough decent food to satisfy the stomach. How much less should such unbelief expect to receive eternal treasures from God without doubt? Therefore, we must strengthen ourselves against such doubt and that this be our first prayer. Then, indeed, we shall have everything else in abundance, as Christ teaches, 'Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you' (Mt 6:33). For how could He allow us to suffer lack and to be desperate for temporal things when He promises to give us what is eternal and never perishes(1Pt 1:4)?

Martin Luther, Large Catechism, 3.55-58
 
Prayer
O heavenly Father, give us Your Holy Spirit, so that by Your grace we believe Your holy Word and lead a godly life here in time and there in eternity, through your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
 
For John Hatteberg, that His Lord Jesus would be with him granting him strength and encouragement
 
For Bridgette Reese, that the Lord would be with her as she undergoes therapy for cancer
 
For President Daniel Gard and the faculty and staff of Concordia University Chicago, that they would fulfill their calling to unfold all the gifts of God's creation and the blessings of His holy bride, the church, to students

Art: GRÜNEWALD, Matthias Isenheim Altarpiece (1515)

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