Hello, dear friends. Ian from Down Under, here. Another month passes, another month where the majority of us are still in some form of lockdown due to COVID-19. It’s fascinating that we are all in this experience together and that God created us for this season. This is our moment. God made each one of us and our particular gifts and callings for this moment in time. As challenging as this season is, I get excited when I reflect on this season through this fresh lens.
He has our Attention
I saw a fabulous Instagram post a few weeks from a famous retired wrestler, Hulk Hogan. It said something along the lines of: every idol we worship (athletes, music, actors, money, business, church) has been shut down and all we’re left with is the ONLY thing that matters: Jesus, so focus on Him.
A few surveys have indicated that more people are praying and attending church online. Hallelujah. What’s fabulous about church online is it is demonstrating that we actually don’t need all the bells and whistles of the modern church, we simply need to participate in community to experience the Holy Spirit so long as the Word is being faithfully preached, prayers are raised and some songs are played, often with simply an acoustic guitar (remember the old days of only the church organ or piano, anyone?)
Be assured God is moving and Jesus rules and reigns.
God loves to hear us pray because He simply wants us to want Him. He made us so we could have relationship with Him. I love knowing that. He gets excited when we pray and spend time with Him to also listen to Him. Remember, prayer is as much about listening as it is speaking, just like any conversation we have with a loved one.
Time to Pray and Pray some more
We’ve spent some time in these past months exploring Lynn’s wonderful testimony in her latest book, Marching Around Jericho. One of the explicit teachings in Lynn’s book based on the well-known story in the book of Joshua, is the importance of persistence even when obeying God may lead to doing some unusual things like walking, singing and praising, around a walled city seven times.
I was reading a parable over the weekend that features in Luke 18 about the persistent widow who simply refused to take ‘no’ for an answer from the judge. In this season (well every season really), persisting in our prayer is so important. Most of us who have been SUMites for a while understand this as regards our spouses – keep persisting in prayer. But we can also be doing it now for the God’s Kingdom to come and His will done in this unprecedented season.
My Pastor summed up it brilliantly when he made this comment regarding prayer for healing:
“God didn’t create microwave ovens, but He did create trees” and trees persist in pushing down their roots continuously.”
Jesus exhorts us in this parable to pray and to keep praying.
Call on the Word of God
I was reminded of a valuable lesson in prayer today that we should use the many promises and/or the prayers that feature in the Bible. Recently, I’ve started praying over a non-believing friend the prayer of Paul in Ephesians 3. I look up a photo of this friend and pray these verses over them:
“that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (v 17-19 NKJV)
God loves hearing us pray back His promises and/or prayers of the Bible. Remember, the Psalms are the great prayer book of the Bible and using these as prayers for yourselves and/or others is a great source of fresh Biblically sound material. Sometimes, we can be struggling to pray for whatever reason, and I find that using the Bible helps stir my spirit and the Holy Spirit soon takes over because He’s excited that we’re using words He's inspired.
If you’re discouraged because you wonder why God doesn’t appear to be answering your prayer, take heart that even Jesus didn’t get all His prayers answered the way He wanted, but continue to trust in God’s goodness and love for you.
Keep praying, keep believing, keep yielding to His ‘will be done.’
Grace and peace,