1 Jul 2013
In our current day we live in a culture that is very independent minded. It seems to me that this attitude of independence is largely a mirage. We are completely dependent on commercial stores for bread and milk and clothing. We can survive only a few days without the provisions of the utilities who supply our needs for energy. While our vehicles seem to make us independent we can only pretend this independence as long as the local fuel supplies are available. In the midst of this mirage we tend to think of ourselves as independent, self directed, and essentially autonomous.
Yes, most of us attend churches, but are our perspectives and practices within our churches more indicative of our illusion of independence and autonomy or do they express an authentic sense of unity, interdependence and oneness?
For example can you remember being concerned that you’re church as a whole will suffer from your lack of personal prayer and communion with God? Have you considered that your church is dependent on the spiritual gifts that have been placed in you as God’s means of building up His body? Did you worry this past Sunday that your lack of preparation for worship would impact the entire worship experience of the body of Christ gathered in your local church? Do we believe that we are independent and our choices related to our obedience to God and our involvement in and for our local church will exclusively impact us?
While we can do nothing on our own, God in His infinite wisdom has chosen to use us as His instruments to build His Church in submission and humble cooperation with the powerful work of His Spirit. Should we be able to see God’s perfect plan to build His church for each local body, perhaps we would be aghast by the contrast of our methods against the superlative plan of God. As we study the plan God has revealed in His word, it seems to be a great deal more interactive and interdependent than our present perspectives would project.
Romans 12:4-5 (NASB77)
4 For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function,
5 so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.
Ephesians 4:15-16 (NASB77)
15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ,
16 from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by that which every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.
Paul communicates a rather foreign idea; the body of Christ is to build up itself in love! An even perhaps more foreign thought: the building up is the result of the proper working of each individual. This seems to be in considerable conflict with our fuzzy idea that the responsibility to strengthen and build up the body is practically exclusively the responsibility of our pastor and what we do makes little difference to the body as a whole.
The late Pastor Ron Dunn in his book Don’t Just Stand There, Pray Something makes what seems to be an accurate observation: “The church must learn to live in a kneeling position, for in order to pray for revival, there must first be a revival in praying.”
By most any reasonable standard we might apply and by most every evaluator’s assessment, the church in America is in serious decline. There are some bright spots but on the whole the collective positive impact of the church in America is losing ground at an accelerating rate. Righteousness and justice are declining at breakneck speeds. The basic building blocks of our society, the family, the local church, and our local communities are under siege and falling apart in many places while the onslaught of the enemy continues to systematically slaughter the stragglers. We are being encouraged to rely on our government to solve our every problem and in so doing deny the power and presence of God. Meanwhile our government is being seduced by the secular and sinister policies of sin promoted by the enemies of God.
Where shall we turn? What can we do to turn defeat into victory? Pray!
John 14:12-14 (AMP)
12 I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, if anyone steadfastly believes in Me, he will himself be able to do the things that I do; and he will do even greater things than these, because I go to the Father.
13 And I will do [I Myself will grant] whatever you ask in My Name [as presenting all that I AM], so that the Father may be glorified and extolled in (through) the Son.
14 [Yes] I will grant [I Myself will do for you] whatever you shall ask in My Name [as presenting all that I AM]. (emphasis added)
Because the passage above is pure truth from God’s word it is without question completely trustworthy. Furthermore it is clear that there is at least one problem in our application of this promise. I submit that either we are not praying or we are not praying in steadfast belief in Jesus, or we are not asking in Jesus name, as presenting all that He is to His Father. Jesus has been given all authority. We are able and encouraged to appropriate Jesus’ authority by believing prayer as it relates to His name presenting all that He stands for.
Here are a few simple thoughts for your consideration: First we should pray for our praying, asking God to teach us to pray in such a way as to realize the fullness of the promises from John 14:12-14. Secondly we should begin to pray for more pray-ers. Every one of us should pray and to the extent that any of us fail to pray the body of Christ suffers. Thirdly we must pursue an intimate loving relationship with our Father such that we will be consistently developing a steadfast faith in the words and works of Jesus Christ, the Victor!
Prayer in the Spirit, which is prayer directed and inspired by God’s Spirit, is impossible to defeat. There is no power in this universe that can withstand the power of believing Spirit directed prayer. Therefore we must ask God to dedicate us to prayer, consecrate us to prayer, commit us to prayer, and empower us to pray and pray and pray in the Spirit until God’s name is lifted up in our families, in our churches and in our communities. This will be the beginning of a revival of prayer. Will you pray to these ends?