I stopped singing and looked around me. Almost every voice were mouthing the words, “Break my heart for what breaks Yours.” How many of us meant it? Did I?
The pastor spoke about a desire to know Christ (Philippians 3:10). “Preceding the power comes the sufferings.” How many of us want to know Him enough to endure?
As I exited that day, I was sobered to think that suffering was probably in my future. Whether it is simply because of aging or because of pending persecution. How can I adequately prepare for an unknown future?
I need to know how to pray.
Unfortunately, the reality is that my prayers are currently weak because of lack of spiritual exercise. I tire easily in the gymnasium of prayer. Ascending the stairs of the heavenlies drains and exhausts because I am more accustomed to being entertained than of entertaining His Spirit. The weight of the world remains on the rack for I have not built up strength to lift them before the Father.
Christ offered His prayers with “loud crying and tears” (Hebrews 5:7). Christians offer ours with rote recitations before meals. Paul struggled greatly in intercession for the Colossians and the Laodiceans (Colossians 2:1). If we pause in prayer at all, it’s done quickly for family members only. David Brainerd was in “agony from sun half-an-hour high till near dark.” We struggle to stay focused for a five full minutes.
John Henry Jowett says, “All vital intercession make a draught upon a man’s vitality. Real supplication leaves us tired and spent…Is intercession with us a travail, or it is a playtime, a recreation, the least exacting of all things, an exercise in which there is neither labor or blood? ‘The blood is the life.’ Bloodless intercession is dead.”
Social media explodes with indignation and offense. Are we spending nearly that amount of energy in intercession and orison?
We profess that God is greater than all. But our practice exhibits little of such claim.
If indeed, we believe Him as much as we avow, we would be much in conference with Him. If there are “unsearchable riches in Christ”, why are we not standing expectantly to receive our opulent resources (Ephesians 3:8)? If His divine power has already granted to us everything we need for living, why are we not in constant receipt of such treasure (1 Peter 1:3)? And not only for ourselves, but also for our fellowman?
Pray, my dear child. Pray. Let all the stirrings of anxiety and unrest drive you into His perfect Love, which catapults fear far away (1 John 4:18). “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (James 4:8). And the tranquility of God Himself, which is far superior to what your mind and reasoning can come up with, will reveal His Heavenly Guard within your spiritual center — standing fully-armed and ready to all prevent future hostile invasions (Philippians 4:7). After all, the Guard fixed within you is older, stronger and imminently more powerful than the one roaming the world (1 John 4:4; 1 Peter 5:8). Hallelujah!