There is incredible power in a child of God who simply sits at the Lord's feet in a love relationship with Him. When this man or woman sits at God's feet to pray, gain wisdom and insight, and pour out their pleas before God, the powers of Hell are raised in opposition. This is because there is NOTHING more powerful than just being with the Father. This posture of simply sitting at the Lord's feet is the key to the Kingdom.
Almost everyone is probably familiar with the story of Martha and Mary in Luke 10. Jesus visits Martha's house on his journeys. Martha gets busy in the kitchen prepping everything to feed Jesus and His disciples. Mary, meanwhile, simply sits at the feet of Jesus, listening to his teaching. One interpretation says, "she hung on every word." In the meantime, Martha gets more and more huffy and anxious as she tries to do the work of meal preparation all alone. Eventually she asks Jesus why he doesn't care that Mary has left her to do all the work on her own. Jesus simply replies: "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her." (v.41/42).
As someone who loves to teach and lead, I always hated this story! "That's nice," I would think. "But at the end of the day, someone does have to do the work of ministry, or nothing will happen! We can't just sit around all day and push our responsibilities and deadlines aside--things have to get done!" If you've ever identified as "the responsible one," or the one who handles a lot of demands, you probably relate!
The demands of work, even "spiritual" work, are real. Moreover, this work is often worthwhile and valuable. This passage doesn't demean hard work or underestimate that demands are real. But this passage does remind us that "the work we do for God" must be tangential, while "the work God does for us and in us" must be central. In other words, sitting at God's feet must be the place from which all our work flows. Oftentimes, we are so ready and willing to jump into what must get done while forsaking "the one thing that is necessary"--simply sitting.
Why is simply sitting before and with God so important?
Sitting implies three things: submission, rest, and revelation.
When we take any amount of time to sit before God and listen--through the scripture and through prayer--this is actually an act of spiritual submission. When you're sitting, you can't be running, pacing, or charging forward at the same time. What is true of the natural is true in the Spirit. When we sit before God, we are acknowledging that God is ultimately the one in control of our lives, NOT ourselves. We are giving our time as a sacrifice. We are reminding ourselves that God is the authority over our ministry, our family, our work, and our lives. We are reminding ourselves that our ability to tackle problems head on and power through life is ultimately limited, and that we have a God who has already orchestrated the solution we need. Submission gets us in the posture of surrender so we don't hold on so tightly to our lives, which deflates anxiety, fear, possessiveness, and control. Psalm 61 demonstrates the heart of this submission well: "Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to you when my heart is faint.Lead me to the rock that is higher than I, for you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy." (v. 1-3).
From that posture of submission comes rest. When we go to the Creator for help, we can trust that either He will stop the storm or provide us shelter as the storm rages around us. We receive "the peace that surpasses all understanding," beyond striving, beyond desperation, and beyond worry. We can go back to our work with our burden lightened, because we asked God to carry it for us.How many of us are walking around with burdens we are not meant to bear alone? How many of us stubbornly power through when we have the provision of our all-powerful God waiting? Our knees should be crumbling below us with anticipation at getting before God faster.
Lastly, from that posture of submission comes revelation. When we go to the rock that is higher than ourselves, we gain the perspective of that higher position. We see our lives differently and gain a "birds eye view" of the issues that appear so pressing in our lives. Our spiritual eyes are taken up above the trees to survey a land of spiritual provision that God has already gifted to us. We learn and are reminded about Jesus and the things that are important to Him. And with this perspective comes knowledge, wisdom, and critical understanding we need to face our day to day lives afresh.
Daniel Sat Before God
I want to end with a real example of the power of sitting before God. No one models this better than Daniel, the Old Testament prophet. Daniel made it a constant habit to sit before God in prayer, three times a day. Daniel Chapter 9 is an extended recording of just one of Daniel's prayers. He was laying down a huge burden on his heart, the captivity of the Israelite people, before God, while asking God for mercy, compassion, and answers.
Eventually God sends angels to answer Daniel in Chapters 9 and 10. The angel responds: "Then he said to me, 'Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand and humbled yourself before God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words." (v. 12).
When Daniel sat before God, he submitted ("humbled yourself before God"), and as a result received revelation ("set your heart to understand"), and rest ("Fear not."). In a subsequent vision, Daniel received revelation about the Israelite people. The answer humbled him because the enormity of the vision he received showed him that the answer to his question was bigger than he had even anticipated. It changed his perspective.
Daniel made it a habit to sit before God. His prayers were spoken in faith because of the relationship He had with God. He knew he could come before the Father and plead his case and the case of his people because of his relationship with the Lord. Daniel is referred to as "greatly loved" by multiple angels. He knew that God loved him because of His faithfulness, and He loved to sit before God in response.
From Daniel's story, we also know that there is spiritual opposition which wants us to believe our prayers are not heard or answered. In other words, the powers of Hell want to stop us from receiving rest and revelation as we sit at the seat of Jesus. In Daniel, the angel informs Daniel that he would have come sooner but he had been delayed by an evil spiritual power. Just think: the power of your prayers today, as someone loved by God, is so powerful that Hell wants to stop them. Do we value our time sitting at the Lord's feet that much? Do we see it as that key, that important, that essential, as the one thing that is necessary?
After all--how much more will God hear and answer us now that we are justified by His beloved son? How much more "greatly loved," how much more "highly esteemed," do we have the privilege to be this side of the cross? If God heard Daniel the moment he started praying, how much more will He hear you?
I pray today that we will all be people known in Heaven for simply sitting at the feet of Jesus!