Friday, January 6, 2012

Prayer and Power





Scripture

It was at this time that He went off to the mountain to pray, and He spent the whole night in prayer to God.
(Luke 6:12 NASB)
And when day came, He called His disciples to Him and chose twelve of them, whom He also named as apostles:
(Luke 6:13 NASB)
And all the people were trying to touch Him, for power was coming from Him and healing them all.
(Luke 6:19 NASB)

Observation

Jesus, himself, often took time to get away and pray. Here we see that he went alone and spent the whole night in prayer. It was after this time alone with God that he came down and began to call the twelve disciples. Was there a connection between the time he spent with God and the calling of the twelve? Of course there was. He had spent time with the Father and he led him to the ones that were to be his disciples. Not only did the Father lead him to those who were to be his disciples, but he also filled him with power. That power permeated from his being and as Jesus walked down the streets people simply wanted to touch him for they realized they could be healed.

Application

If Jesus had to spend time alone with God the Father for direction and power -- why don't we? Frequently Jesus would spend the night alone in prayer. It was his custom! Significantly, it was after this night in prayer that he "runs" into those who are to be his disciples. I believe there is a reason that we are told to pray for workers for the harvest fields. We have spent too much time trying to do the work of God on our own power and with our limited resources.

For years we were challenged by the Church Growth Movement. It was by adapting models of attraction and marketing that we were to be able to grow churches. The result is that we have grown churches on our own power, and on not on the power of God moving among us. Instead of focusing on a deeper walk for those within the church, we focused on more and more programs that might bring people in. The result was a shallow and wide church that is not sustainable, for the foundational pieces are missing. We taught those seeking churches to be just as consumeristic as the world. Look for the church that was the right "fit" for you. Look for the place that meets "your" needs and is "your" style.

What we forgot here was that our spiritual lives are supposed to be about God! Jesus said, "I will build my church." Our job as Christians is to know Christ. This is where the focus of our time should be -- getting to know him on a daily basis and spending time with him. It is only in this precious time with him that he can transform us and take us on that deeper walk. It was only after Jesus had spent time in prayer that he knew where to go to find the disciples and he had the power to heal. When we spend time with God he will lead us into divine appointments with the world. He will fill us with his power. Can you imagine a whole church full of people like that?

Our young people today are hungry to be within a community of believers whom they see as genuine.  They are hungry to spend time with us in prayer.  They want to see what is in the word lived out in the lives of those who have gone before.  For the future of Christianity, those who have been followers of Christ, must dedicate themselves to really getting to know Christ.  This is our hope and our future.

Spending time alone with God -- if it was good enough for Jesus, it ought to be good enough for us!

Prayer

Lord, thank you for the reminder today to commit to time alone with you. I want to know You! Amen.

4 comments:

  1. Carla, you are so right. Our pastor just told of a Chinese Christian who spoke to a group of American Christians. He told them he was impressed with how much the American church was able to accomplish without God. If we can plan it, buy it, market it, jazz it up, we can sell it, but where is God in it? I hope our Christian colleges, but especially seminaries, will make prayer and Bible study a priority, not just window dressing. We need more godly men and women. If they're good-looking, talented, and well-connected, that's secondary.

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  2. Carla you have hit the nail on the head about the church marketing model. Well said, to our shame as the people of God.

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  3. Carla, what you have spoken of is powerful. I see this church in action at the Rock of Panama City. We have no programs, not even Sunday school. What we have is service starts at 10am the children worship along side their fathers and mothers. The family is not divided with programs that send them in different directions. They witness the same anointing as it moves thru the service as the adults. These kids are amazing. It is common to see them minister to one another and even adults with the laying on of hands. You can't join our church there is no membership. Your joined by the spirit. It is said if this is where you belong you cant leave and if it isn't where you belong you can't stay. Spiritually speaking anyway. Our Apostle was speaking about this just Wednesday night he said we have had the programs and the people but eventually they wear you out. When you take away the programs you find out where the heart is. I know it is bold and a lot of congregations would not survive the change. Our church probably averages 300 or so and may never grow to a large church because of that but that doesn't matter. Just thought you would appreciate this testimony.

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  4. So very true, Carla! Thank you for sharing your heart and encouraging us in our journey with our Lord!

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