I have always been fascinated by prayer. The whole idea that the Creator of the Universe would invite me to come into His presence is mind-boggling. The fact that He wants to have a conversation with me is overwhelming. The knowledge that He has things He wants to tell me in more than I can comprehend.
And yet, even with this grand invitation, I confess that too often I have neglected the opportunity so that I might attend to “more pressing and urgent matters.” As a Pastor, these pressing and urgent matters are most often always religious in nature—church work that needs to be done. Isn’t it odd that we find it easy to replace actual attention to the Lord with attention to religiosity?
The fact of the matter is that the most pressing and urgent activity for any of us is to spend time “resting in the shadow of the almighty” (Psalm 91:1).
What if making the Lord the singular focus of our lives and the life of our congregations is the “secret” too extraordinary things happening? (I place the word secret in quotes because it isn’t a secret at all. The scriptures are obvious concerning our utter dedication to the Lord, leading to the fulfillment of God’s promises for our lives).
The Barometer of Spiritual Life
I was recently discussing prayer and prayer meetings with my brother, Matt. He reminded me of a quote from Jim Cymbala in Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire. Cymbala writes:
I believe Jim Cymbala is correct not only for his church but for every church. We can busy ourselves with religious work all day long and look successful to the people in our pews and the surrounding world. But in actuality, religious work alone is a hollow shell. The heart of the matter is always Jesus. Therefore, we can’t be about His work if we haven’t spent time soaking in His presence, seeking His direction, wisdom, and power. He must be our only focus. Everything else will naturally flow from our continual encounter with him.