I tell you, God has initiated a gracious gift to the church by calling us to pray. He has begun to draw this body unto Himself in a very intimate way, and I believe we are on the horizon of something wonderful in the life of First Baptist Church.Before every great move of God’s hand, He has consistently called on His people to pray. We find Jesus fasting (feeding on His Father in intimate fellowship) and communing with Him in prayer for 40 days prior to the inauguration of His earthly ministry. We find Jesus praying all night long before He chose His disciples. We find the church praying and waiting on the Lord when the Holy Spirit came upon them in Acts 1 & 2. In Acts 4, we find a church desperate for God to give them boldness to preach the gospel in the face of persecution. The place where they prayed was shaken and they went out in the power of the Spirit of God. Many of the great moves of God even in recent history can be traced back to a small band of believers burdened to seek God’s face and to know the works of His hand in might.I tell you this because I believe God has something in store for us, but I do not know what, and I do not know when. But I do know that He has called this church to pray.
Faith is essential to the life that seeks to please God. Prayer, you see, is the language of faith. Prayer puts legs (if you will) to our faith. Seeking the Lord in fervent and consistent prayer does 3 things in which God absolutely delights.
- Prayer acknowledges that God is indeed God and that we are His people. It exalts Him to the place He must be – Lord of all.
- Prayer acknowledges our weakness and our need of God. Prayer demonstrates our absolute dependence upon God. It humbles us to the place we must be – hungry beggars (Blessed are the poor in spirit…Blessed are the hungry and thirsty).
- Finally, prayer demonstrates God’s worth and the value that we place on Him as the source of every good gift. Prayer exalts the goodness of God as the Rewarder of those that diligently seek Him.
God said to wayward Israel, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you declares the LORD…” (Jeremiah 29:11-14)
He promises in the Psalms, “The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.” (Psalms 145:18)
2 Chronicles 7:14 says, “If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
It is clear; the Lord is calling us to pray. But what do we pray for? Read the verses again. Notice what God’s desire is. He invites us to seek Him – to seek His face. What God most delights in is the people called by His name seeking God Himself. When He is the object of the request, God is greatly glorified. When our souls cry out for God, the object of our desire is being demonstrated and God’s worth is displayed.
Listen to the Psalmist’s heart as He prays. This is the heart we need as we pray.
- Psalms 27:4 One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple.
- Psalms 27:8 You have said, "Seek my face." My heart says to you, "Your face, LORD, do I seek."
- Psalms 42:1 As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God.
- Psalms 63:1-2 O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. 2 So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory.
- Psalms 84:2-4 My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the LORD; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God…4 Blessed are those who dwell in your house, ever singing your praise! Selah
O Church Arise! 6am and 6pm Tuesdays and Thursdays. Come and seek the Lord’s face with us. He waits to be gracious to us.
I love you all!