Bob Mayo, Stonepoint Member
Today being Sunday, I went to church. It was great as usual as we went over Hebrews 11. I had a little time to relax between church and Journey Group so I watched a movie called Woodlawn. If you haven’t seen it, I would highly recommend it. It’s about a high school in Alabama that experienced a miraculous spiritual awakening back in 1973 and 74 during some turbulent racial times. I really didn’t expect to like this movie as much as I did, but i found it really encouraging. As I watched, I kept asking why can’t something like that happen today. What if Stonepoint, all of a sudden, broke out unexpectedly and spontaneously in a prayer meeting that started on Friday and didn’t end for several days! People just started showing up at the building and prayed. What if we at Gospel for Asia, where I spend most of my time, fell down on our knees in a period of personal confession and repentance and came together as a staff? What would it be like if everyone in the towns of Wills Point and Edgewood became Christian. I think, we would be shocked to the core and would be wondering what happened.
As I watched the movie, one thought I kept having with myself was, “that was then, but now things are different. But then I was sort of chastised. What difference do the times make? Is God bound by time and the changes in society? I think not! What would it take to bring about Spiritual awakening in our lives and our churches. I’m no expert but I think I have a couple of ideas.
First, I think a renewal to real prayer would be needed. I have been experiencing a little of that lately (no bragging here–I have a long way to go). But as I have mentioned in recently blog posts, I have been spending time in confession and repentance. What I have noticed, is that I have a renewed interest to pray in general. One writer I read recently said that a vital prayer life requires the practice of four types of prayer: 1) Praise, thanksgiving and worship, 2) confession and repentance, 3) petition and supplication (personal needs) and 4) intercession (prayer for the needs of others). If you are like me, most of your prayer time is spent in supplication–asking God to help you, your family or your circumstances. But prayer is not just asking for things. God wants our love and devotion. That means time in worship and praise. Please know that doing these four types of prayer is not some kind of a formula or legalism. Prayer should be looked as a relationship with God and not some kind of ritual. If we are in a relationship we don’t just spend time asking the other person for things. The relationship wouldn’t last very long.
Second, there is faith. We talked about faith this morning in church. After church I came home and did a little more study of Hebrews 11. In a commentary, I found a really good definition of faith: “True Bible faith is confident obedience to God’s Word in spite of circumstances and consequences. Faith becomes stronger as we read and obey the Word.” Romans 10:17 says ”so faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” Or to use Pastor Brandon’s words, “Feed your faith and your fears starve to death.” Today as we went over Hebrews 11, I became more aware that we do not always see the results of our faith right away. Some people saw results but others just suffered and died. But if they haven’t already, one day they will see the results of everything we did. We need to lose our attitude of “instant gratification” that has become so much a part of our society.
Spiritual awakening–can true prayer and exercising faith really bring spiritual awakening in our lives? Not to over simply things, but I think it can. May I leave you with a couple of challenges to try. First, make a commitment to spend more time in prayer than you do now. I hesitate to say this again because you will think I am getting legalistic. I’m not. That is why I didn’t give a minimum time to add to your prayer life like I have seen some writers do. But the bottom line, is that it takes spending time with God in order to grow in Him. So, commit to as much time in prayer as you can. It takes more than saying I’m going to spend more time, you need to plan it and make a commitment to it. Remember, prayer is a relationship, not a ritual. We need to realize that when we pray, God is here within us. Ask Him to guide you in prayer and to tell you the things you need to pray about.
Last thing. I read another question in a book I started last night. “What would happen in a church (or maybe your place of personal prayer) if Christ were bodily present as a part of the congregation?” How would that change the meeting or prayer time? I think if He showed up we would immediately worship Him, probably as never before. I think we would also have an intense sense of our sinfulness in the presence of a Holy God. We would probably take the commands to love our brothers and sisters more seriously than we do now. That is how we should approach prayer, as if Christ were bodily here with us. Increased real prayer will bring increased faith, and increased faith result in us taking some kind of action. Otherwise it is not really faith.
I pray God will put this on our hearts, starting with mine. I believe that if we just take a step of faith and commit to more prayer, real prayer, that God will do amazing things in our own lives and the life of our church. May God be with you today.