As our heavenly Father does quite often, God has been reminding me of things that I thought I had already learned some time ago. Surely, I am not the only one that He has to keep reminding of His truths found in His Word. “The steps of a good person are ordered by the Lord: and they delight in His way.” Psalm 37:23
A few months ago, I was confronted with an opportunity to re-learn this truth. As would happen, Jon and I came home from a ministry trip and the TV, the home phone, and internet were not working. Being very perturbed, I called the company that provides our service and told them that they needed to get that fixed ASAP. As the service man came to get the problem fixed, it was as though the Lord spoke to my heart and said, “now that you have a captive audience, tell him about My love.” So I shared with him God’s love, gave a gospel tract, and thanked him for listening. Suddenly it dawned on me that the scripture that says, “Give thanks in all things,” was finding its way in my heart in a very practical way. I look on break downs and broken stuff differently now.
Several weeks ago, I once again had the opportunity to experience this truth. In the middle of a seminar I was teaching at a women’s retreat, my cell phone rang. It was the airlines calling to let me know that my flight home was cancelled. At first, I was irritated; then was reminded by the Lord that my steps are all planned. So I really began to get excited to see what God had planned for me at the airport. While waiting to possibly get a later flight, I sat next to a lady who was heart sick over a major hurt that the family was having with their teenager. She needed a listening ear and an encouraging word. I was able to remind her of God’s love for the teen and her, also committed to pray for them both over the next weeks. I got an email from her the other day, saying there had been a definite change taking place in their family and thanked me for praying.
With our heavenly Father there are no “oops” just opportunities. Lord, help me to not be perturbed when things happen to disturb my day, but instead be excited for what You have in mind.
“Oh, that You would rend the heavens and come down…” Isaiah 64:1
Today’s churches seem to have everything: Theologically trained leaders; A committed core of lay people; Cutting edge technology, etc. Everything but the one thing we can least afford to be without…Passion! And nowhere is that more obvious than in prayer. I am reminded of the shut-in who asked her sister who just returned from a church prayer meeting, “Did anything unusual happen at church tonight?” The sister replied, “No! Just the same old people saying the same old prayers with the same old results!” We obviously are in need of both instruction and inspiration when it comes to passionate praying!
That brings us to the prophet Isaiah. Remember what the apostle Paul wrote to the church in I Corinthians 10:11 concerning the Old Testament writings, “Now these things…were written for our instruction…” So let us sit at the feet of Isaiah in chapter 64 of the book that bears his name with a teachable mind and heart, and allow the Holy Spirit to apply Isaiah’s words to both instruct and inspire us to passionate praying!
Passion in prayer in today’s churches should begin and end praying for the Lord’s manifest presence! Now I am certainly aware the Bible says where two or three gather in the Lord’s Name, He is there, but I am also aware there are unusual exceptions! Listen to the words of one of the great preachers of all time, George Whitfield, as he made notation in his journal concerning a service in which He was ministering in the English town of Cheltenham, “Suddenly, God the Lord came down upon us!” Did you hear that? There are exceptional examples of the Lord unusually making His presence known, and when He does, everything is different! All become aware of the One who is Holy, Holy, Holy, and the fear (reverence) of God is evident! This is exceptional! This is supernatural!
Listen to the terms Isaiah uses in his impassioned cry: Rend (tear open) the heavens; Cause the mountains to quake; Boil the waters (oceans); Cause the nations (saints and sinners) to tremble! If you agree this strikes at the heart of the need in today’s churches, the need in your church, I challenge you as I challenge myself to meditate on Isaiah 64 and ask the Lord to stir us up to passionate praying…