Awe and Trembling in Prayer


Prophets in Scripture trembled in the presence of God. Do we fear God like we should? Do you ever experience awe and trembling in prayer? In Scripture, when the greatest men and women are in the presence of God, they are physically trembling. Here are a few Scriptures to show how fear and trembling display proper honor to the Lord:

  • Jeremiah 5:22a NASB “Do you not fear Me?” declares the Lord. “Do you not tremble in My presence?”
  • Psalm 114:7 NASB “Tremble, O earth, before the Lord, before the God of Jacob.”
  • Daniel 10:7-9 ESV  “And I, Daniel, alone saw the vision, for the men who were with me did not see the vision, but a great trembling fell upon them, and they fled to hide themselves. So I was left alone and saw this great vision, and no strength was left in me. My radiant appearance was fearfully changed, and I retained no strength. Then I heard the sound of his words, and as I heard the sound of his words, I fell on my face in deep sleep with my face to the ground.”
  • Isaiah 6:5 NASB “Then I said, ‘Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.’”
  • Ezekiel 38:20 ESV “The fish of the sea and the birds of the heavens and the beasts of the field and all creeping things that creep on the ground, and all the people who are on the face of the earth, shall quake at my presence. And the mountains shall be thrown down, and the cliffs shall fall, and every wall shall tumble to the ground.”
  • Psalm 2:11 ESV “Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling.”
  • Philippians 2:12 ESV “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”

The wisdom books of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes boil down to “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” So do you have wisdom? Do you fear God?

As you can see in the above Scriptures, fear of God often involves trembling. People fall on their faces when approaching God. If we truly understood the magnitude of the enormous power of God, we would find ourselves shaking in His presence, even though He is our Abba Father.

Some people might object by saying perfect love casts out fear (I John 4:18). In some ways, because we are on God’s side, we need not fear death or condemnation. However, we should be afraid to sin because it grieves a holy God. Are we scared to sin? Do we understand the full ramifications of the sins that we commit against a holy God, or do we sin flippantly? God promises to discipline His people when they sin (Hebrews 12:11).

We ought to tremble because we realize that we sin and that we are unclean before a holy God. In Isaiah 6, even the sinless angels block their eyes before a holy God. Justice would demand that we who are sinful be struck dead, and yet God allows us to enter into a personal relationship with Him. How exquisite and beautiful is His love for us, that He condescends to interact with His creatures!

Awe and Trembling in Prayer (Prayer Video # 13)

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8 Responses to “Awe and Trembling in Prayer”

  1. Aileen says:

    I agree. I’ve been reading through the Old Testament narratives, and I’m struck by the holiness of God. How His people reacted in reverence and even when they failed to do so, how God displays His discipline and sometimes wrath. Yes, we can approach Him boldly and call Him our Father, but we also need to know He is a consuming fire and we are worms.

    • Susan says:

      Yes, our God is a consuming fire, and God’s justice and wrath are part of who God is, not just compassion and mercy. If we fail to fear Him, we will end up being ashamed when we stand before Him on Judgment Day!

  2. Andrea says:

    Amen! We shouldn’t be fearing God but to have an awesome fear of Him!

  3. Tara says:

    This is a good reality check. Too many people are flippant about sin. I guess we are all from time to time if we are honest.

  4. I’m actually watching this video right now and I am loving all the biblical references! I don’t think I’ve ever sat and actually meditated on that fact, that people tremble in God’s presence because of the truth of who He is.

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