Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Amos...Drives Me to Pray

Studying Amos has been great. If for no one else, for me. I am amazed at how much Israel in Amos’ day resembles America, and how much the religious scene then bears likeness to ours. Then to hear Amos pronounce God’s coming judgment to them gets really close to home. I know we live in another time after the coming of Christ and the cross, and live in the age of grace. And that’s the big difference: when one rejects God today, he is rejecting God's law AND his grace. As the writer of Hebrews said it, “How shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation” (2:3)? The answer is...we won’t.

This is not good news. My heart breaks when I think about the millions of people drinking the world’s Kool-Aid, blindly on their way to eternal judgment. Some of them live around me. Their kids go to school and play soccer with mine. Some are my friends. Some are related to me. And they seem as if they have no clue. Not only this, but the “great salvation” that they are neglecting actually brings them what they are really looking for in the world’s counterfeits: Contentment. Happiness. Fulfillment. Love. Peace. Joy. Things the world rarely delivers, and never on a permanent basis. But it is so hard to convince them of this truth. Especially when the world, aided by our fallen flesh and the Enemy, preaches so persuasively that gaining more stuff...having more sex...looking more hip...etc. are all more important than having...GOD!

Therefore, many of us just quit trying to share the Good News. We see the enormity of the task and are overwhelmed. Indeed some of us do well (or so we think) to fight off the allure of the world ourselves as we occasionally lose skirmishes with our own flesh. Then Satan takes advantage and “guilts” us into silence. What are we to do?

Like Amos, we are to cry out to God. He is the only one who can help. He helps by strengthening us, his children. God has the power to trump whatever influence he has allowed the world and demonic forces to employ, by drawing people to himself. HE IS ABLE TO CHANGE THE GAME.

That is the only logical conclusion: I must ask him to. I MUST PRAY. Especially when he tells me that he, Almighty, Sovereign God somehow utilizes the prayers of his people to make things happen. It is a stunning thought—the Omnipotent, Omniscient, Eternal, Infinite God is actually moved by the prayers of mere men to accomplish his perfect, predetermined plan.

Whoa! I gotta catch my breath.

Umm...why then do I not pray?

Well, I’m going to. I’m committing myself. I’ve always believed that you schedule what’s important to you. Right now, as I write, I can’t think of anything else more important. I laid it out there publicly Sunday...I can talk about praying, but actually doing it is a completely different thing. So I need a little structure for the sake of accountability, that is, if I’m serious.

I’m going to open up the church every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday until Thanksgiving from 6:00 til 8:00 AM to pray. You’re welcome to come join me if you want. I’ve already started, in fact. There have been a few others who have come, too, but I’m really not looking to see who comes (or if anyone else comes at all). This is simply what God wants me to do.

This isn't for show. Jesus said that when you pray, go in your room in secret, not like the hypocrites who want all to see. He said that then “your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (Matt. 6:6). I guess that’s the thing I’ve struggled with the most about coming out with this, or for that matter, even posting this blog. I don’t want any attention for me. I’m not trying to look spiritual. I do, however, want God to move. And maybe it is ok to be like Paul in this sense: he said, “Be imitators of me, as I follow Christ” (1 Cor. 11:1). I think pastors should lead the way. Interpreting Scripture with Scripture, we see that Jesus didn't always pray in secret. He prayed with his disciples and in public. He taught his disciples how to pray. So did Paul. Corporate prayer is commanded throughout the Bible and is frequently practiced by the church in the book of Acts. So I say, If it helps you to pray with me and others, I invite you to come. Whether you come to the church or not...I ask you to pray.

1 comment:

Angie said...

Amen Brother!! God seems to working a few people right now. Thanks for sharing so honestly. You have enouraged me to become a member of the blogging club. (angiesheart-angie)
Angie Chandler