We have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain – Hebrews 10:19-20 (NIV)
At the beginning of this year I set a goal in that I would go into a deeper level of knowing the Lord. I was encouraged at same time by the word impressed upon my heart from the Lord, “you need to understand ME at a deeper level and capture MY heart at what I am already doing but go even deeper and broader and see where you fit into the plan.”
I began reading “100 Days in the Secret Place” by Gene Edwards at the same time. These were classic writings from Madame Guyen, Francios Fenelon and Michael Molinos, writers who came into prominence in the late 1600’s and who wrote on the deeper Christian life.
As I was reading their writings I was introduced to the thought of ‘the inward way.’ It is only when a longing for something more is sensed in the heart that the pilgrimage into the inward way should be considered. I became aware that this was going to be an eternal journey like I had not experienced before.
“So you see, this inward activity has become far greater than it was when your soul first began to turn inward. Under the powerful attraction of God drawing you into Himself, the inward activity has increased. The inward attraction – the magnetic pull – becomes more and more powerful. Your soul, dwelling in love, is drawn by this powerful attraction and sinks continually deeper into that love.” – 100 Days in the Secret Place p74-75
I have continued exploring the inward way and discovered that there is an inward ministry of Jesus as well, called his priestly ministry. The priestly or inward ministry is the ministry we have as a believer before the Lord, offering sacrifices of prayer and praise, ministering to the Lord in our quiet time with Him. I have learnt the importance of the inward ministry been recognised daily.
The inward way did however, create a stumbling block. Having previously been in full time ministry I always treasured my time alone in His sanctuary – either a church building, at the altar, in a prayer room, etc. Yet since leaving the ministry I had struggled to connect the physical sanctuary and the sanctuary in my heart. I have certainly missed access to His house on a regular basis.
The Lord recently gently led me back to sanctuary via the desert Tabernacle. I was reminded that when the priest went into the Holy of Holies, he went in alone. He was unaccompanied as he stood in the presence of God, with the ark of the covenant and the shekinah glory of the Lord.
Throughout God’s redemptive plan, we see an emphasis on the priestly ministry and because of this it is important to recognise that the priesthood is an identity. From the very beginning God established man and women with a priestly calling. You and I as the people of God are priests before Him forever.
We live under the New Testament covenant of the priesthood of all believers and by the sacrifice of Christ, we exercise our priesthood. Jesus is in heaven today, as our high priest, interceding to the Father for us. He represents us before the Father, ministering in the sanctuary.
Individually we are each a holy, royal priest unto the Lord. This truth now frames and fuels my private ministry.
Matthew 6 makes it clear that our praying should be done privately. Jesus gave us the key to a very special place of intimacy with God. ‘When you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.’ (Matthew 6:6 NKJV)
What had never dawned upon me is that as a priest under the new covenant I have the same the privilege of going directly to God when I shut the door and pray to the Father. My door has now become the curtain of the original covenant and when I come to prayer each morning, I enter the Holy of Holies and meet with God.
I have never thought of this before (he went in alone)
The next day, I was chastising myself for never seeing the connection of the Priest being alone with God and my own prayer time, of being alone with God. I kept saying that I had never connected this privilege before. Yet, at the same time His overwhelming presence comforted my soul and I knew I was in His sanctuary.