Okay. I haven’t blogged in over a month. There must be something wrong with me. But don’t worry friends. I’m here now. There are two things that have been dominating my thoughts today: prayer and food. I don’t have a lot to say about the latter, I just like to eat it. So I think I will blog about prayer.
I started reading through the book of Acts today. I always learn a lot about prayer – its power and importance – from this book. It’s definitely an underlying current that moves throughout it. As I thought about that today, I was reminded that prayer is not just an underlying current that runs through the book of Acts; it is an underlying current that runs through the entire history of the church. When people pray, God acts.
Acts 1:16 says, “All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer…” The word devoted stands out to me. So… I went to dictionary.com and looked it up. :) Devoted: zealous or ardent in attachment, loyalty, or affection. Devote: to give up or appropriate to or concentrate on a particular pursuit, occupation, purpose, cause, etc. Then I asked myself… does that characterize me and my prayer life? my bible fellowship class? my church? the global church? My answer was: sometimes, but not all the time. And that is not enough. So, why not all the time? And what made the church in Acts come together in one accord and devote themselves to prayer?
I think the key was they were waiting in expectation for something God had promised. They wanted it. They longed for it. They needed it. –> The Holy Spirit. Jesus last words to them had been “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” He’d also instructed them that until the Holy Spirit arrived, they were to wait in Jerusalem. So they gathered together to wait and they devoted themselves to prayer.
Maybe that’s what I/we lack sometimes… a focused waiting in anticipation for God to do what He has promised He will do. Sometimes our vision gets so focused on the present that we forget that this is what we’re to be waiting for: “For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of a trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18) and “After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!'” (Revelation 7:9-10)
What would be different if rather than waiting, hoping, and longing for our next paycheck, next relationship, next social event, next vacation, next reward… we were waiting, hoping, and longing for the return of Christ and the day when every nation, tribe, and people stands before His throne? I think it would be amazing!
Warren Wiersbe wrote “Prayer is both the thermometer and the thermostat of the local church, for the ‘spiritual temperature’ either goes up or down, depending on how God’s people pray.” I think I’m ready to see the spiritual temperature go up… in my own life… in my community… and in the world.
I think step one is: pray for a perspective that reflects God’s perspective… an eternal perspective… a kingdom perspective… and then keep praying with that perspective shaping our prayers.