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Foundation Truth, Number 17 (Spring 2007) | Timeless Truths Publications

From Odors from Golden Vials, by Charles E. Orr

The Veil of Sense Made Transparent by Prayer

It is prayer that brings us face to face with God. It is by the prayer of faith that we close our eyes on things that are seen and look away to things unseen. The veil of sense, like a veil, hangs over us, dimming our vision to eternal things; but prayer causes the mist to become transparent, so that the eyes of faith can pierce through and see many beauties in the perfections of God.

The Apostle John, being in the Spirit, saw many things that the veil of sense hides from the eyes of those who are not in the Spirit. If we ever understand fully the mysteries of the book of Revelation, we must, I suppose, get into the spirit their author was in and to the same degree. The book of Revelation can never be fully understood by reading what others have said, but by prayer in the Spirit.

The Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus when He prayed. His praying at the time of His baptism is mentioned by only one of the Gospel writers, Luke, who says, “It came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him.”* (Luke 3:21-22) If you would have the heavens open, you must pray. If you would have the Holy Spirit rest upon you, live much in prayer. Again, Luke is the only New Testament writer that speaks of Jesus praying at the time of His transfiguration. Perhaps Luke saw more clearly the virtue and power of prayer. He says, “He took Peter and John and James, and went up into a mountain to pray.”* (Luke 9:28) Matthew and Mark, who tell of Jesus’ going up with these three disciples into the mountain, say nothing of His going there to pray. But it was to pray: “And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered.”* (Luke 9:29) There is a changing, transforming power in prayer.

O Christ, so lovely, pure, and fair,
So beautiful in holiness,
If we but live with Thee in prayer,
Thy beauty will be seen on us,

Thy beauty like the rosy morn,
Purity like the crystal sea.
O God, if we but live in prayer,
We come to be as pure as Thee.

When Moses went up into the mountain, a cloud covered it, hiding the glory of the Lord for six days; but on the seventh the cloud became transparent, and then Moses talked to God for thirty-three days (Exodus 24:15-18). It is in prayer that we get visions of God.

Trials are good in that they drive us to the Lord in earnest prayer. In Isaiah 28:29 the last clause reads thus in the German: “For trials and temptations alone teach to give heed to the word.” It is trials that cause us to cling to the promises. Trials serve a very important part in keeping the sanctified nature clearly refined. The veil of sense is inclined to thicken, and were it not for the trials God in His tender love permits to come upon us, we should soon not be able to see beyond our own selves. Ofttimes God would have us see more of His love, tenderness, and beauty, and come nearer Him. The only way whereby He can get us to do these things is to let some trial come upon us.

When Absalom was conspiring to dethrone his father, David, the ambitious son asked Joab, captain of the king’s army, to come and confer. At first Joab refused, but Absalom devised a plan whereby he could get the old warrior to meet him. Joab’s barley field being near Absalom’s, the conspirator sent his servants to set fire to Joab’s barley and thus drew Joab out to him (2 Samuel 14:29-31). In like manner, the Lord must sometimes do something in order to get us to come nearer Him. He must set our barley field on fire, so to speak. Our affections may be taking hold on some earthly thing, so that for our safety God must set this on fire. We may be growing a little ambitious along some line and building hopes on a foundation other than God Himself. He must in some way rid us of those hopes and ambitions, and oftentimes there is no better way than a conflagration. The eye may become attracted by something of the world. That object grows as a thick mist between us and God, so that we can no longer see Him. Seeing our danger, the Lord in His faithfulness to us sets fire to that object, and by the light of that fire we can see our way back to God.

Strive to avoid the thickening of the veil of sense around you. When the mist has cleared away, climb up aloft and you can see the smiling face of Jesus. Today this veil of sense may be very thin to you, almost as thin as it was to Stephen when he was being stoned to death; but this transparency of our individual self has been brought about through much suffering and prayer. It has cost you something, but it is all the dearer because it has. Many a night, your heart has wept before the Lord. Sometimes you have wrestled till the dawning of the day. There may be a vacant chair at your fireside. She who so long shared your joys and sorrows, who by her gentle words and cheering smile helped you over many a rough and trying place in life, has gone away never to return. Maybe with bleeding heart you sit beside an empty crib. These things help to part the veil of the temple of human self, and you, looking through, see that little cherub of yours and your loving, faithful wife walking the gold-paved streets of the celestial city, strolling amid the blooming flowers of an eternal Eden, or sitting peacefully in the shadow of the Tree of Life. God designs every earthly loss to prove a heavenly gain to you. If you will draw near to Him in prayer, He will tell you why those things are or bid you wait a little longer with the promise that you shall know someday and understand why. Not a single spot in our life is so barren but that if it be watered by prayer, it will produce some tender blade or blooming flower. Pray on and let thy vision pass beyond the things which are seen and temporal to those which are unseen and eternal.

Thank God, bless God, all ye who suffer not
More grief than ye can weep for. That is well—
That is light grieving! lighter none befell
Since Adam forfeited the primal lot.
Tears! What are tears? The babe weeps in its cot,
The mother singing; at her marriage-bell
The bride weeps; and before the oracle
Of high-fanned hills the poet has forgot
Such moisture on his cheeks. Thank God for grace,
Ye who weep only! If, as some have done,
Ye grope tear-blinded in a desert place
And touch but tombs, look up; those tears will run
Soon in long rivers down the lifted face
And leave the vision clear for stars and sun.