Pristine Grace

A Prayer for God's Presence
by Jim Byrd
A Prayer for God's Presence

     The Lord had promised Moses, “My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest” (Exodus 33:14). What reassuring words, how comforting to the heart of His servant Moses.  The Lord was saying, “My face, that is, I myself in the Angel of my presence, will abide with you" (Isaiah 63:9). It is written in Exodus 13:21“And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night.” And yet, the servant of God, to show the high esteem he had for the Lord to be with him, followed the divine pledge with these words: “If Thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence” (verse 15). The Lord had spoken to the Israelites of the land of promise, a wonderful place that awaited them. He swore to lead them to “a good land and large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey” (Exodus 3:8). Notwithstanding the glories of Canaan however, Moses realized the emptiness of that land without the presence of Jehovah. How worthless and insignificant everything would be without the Lord. Moses would rather continue to face the hardships of the wilderness, living in tents, eating manna every morning and drinking water from a rock and have the Lord with him, than go to a land filled with the greatest treasures on earth and yet be without the divine presence.

     Is this not a good prayer to pray whenever we enter into a new and different circumstance or situation in life? When I felt the tremendous burden to pastor this church more than four years ago, these words formed the essence of my prayer. “If Thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence.” In fact, here is a wonderful prayer to pray at the beginning of each day. Who among us would not desire the presence of the Lord, day by day, as we make our pilgrimage through this world? “If Thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence.” And especially, aren’t these wonderful words to pray with the new year just a couple of days away? Without the presence of the Holy Spirit, without divine grace and strength, without the guidance and providence of the Lord, who would want to take even one step into another year? We have no idea what the year holds in store for us, but surely we will agree on this: we do not want to begin the new year without the pres- ence of the Lord our God. Hear His promise child of God: “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5).