Tuesday, May 15, 2018

WAITING FOR THE WAITING





I confess I am spiritually spoiled. I grew up surrounded by people (my parents, my grandmother) who knew and loved God and His people with every ounce of their being.  When life threw itself at them with all it could, they prayed.  When they were confused, they prayed.  They changed inside in to people who were confident in their faith, and people who LOVED PEOPLE.  People who prayed. I saw it, I felt it, I lived it. 

And then I met a teenaged boy who was growing up under the leadership of a man and his wife (Pastor and Vangie Mercaldo) who knew and loved God.The teenaged boy became my husband and his pastor became my pastor. I am forever grateful to God for Pastor Daniel Mercaldo's loving leadership, and straight forward preaching and teaching. He CARED ABOUT US more than HE CARED ABOUT HIMSELF. He did. His sermons were spoken to help us live every day, to remind us that God is real, and present in our lives - and not just words to fill forty-five minutes on Sunday morning - or talking to show us how much he knew, or how much he had accomplished.  You could feel the LOVE in his words. You could sense the passion of Jesus to give us LIFE when he spoke.  He spoke with US in mind.   I was never bored when he preached.  I always felt like he was giving us spiritual FOOD... He sermons always ended too early. He is STILL like a pastor to us.  I assumed that EVERY pastor was dedicated to preaching with "feeding the sheep" as his primary preaching purpose.  This has not always been true. 

And then in 1978 we met a pastor and his wife (Pastor Jim and Carol Cymbala, The Brooklyn Tabernacle)  whose lives touched us and influenced us as few people are ever blessed to be touched and influenced. I cannot put in to words the way they blessed our lives. Because of them and their Godly influence in my life and my husband’s life we understood that God is looking for one thing above all other things.  

God is looking for People Who Pray.

That’s it.  People who pray. 

Not people who preach.
Not people who sing.
Not people who teach.
Not people who write books.
Not people who talk about prayer.
Not books that teach about prayer.
God is looking for:

People Who Pray.  
Not people who ONLY pray, but people who PRAY FIRST. 

God's system is very simple. He isn't expecting us to do nothing. Oh no, He expects us to devote ourselves to working in His kingdom.. but.. not before we PRAY.  The Church prayed first.  And THEN THEY CHANGED THE WORLD.

It would seem simple and obvious that people who say they live their lives based on The New Testament would learn the simple lesson. 

First we pray. Then we do.
First we seek Him. Then we do.

I don't see anywhere in the Bible where we are are instructed to be 
"People Who Do" rather than "People Who Pray"

I don't see anywhere in the Bible where we are told, "Listen, if you don't feel like praying, or if you're too busy to stop and spend time with the Lord, don't worry about it.  Just do something at church. Volunteer  for something... or give extra in the offering plate.  Or.. if you are unwilling to see the importance of sitting at the feet of Jesus, then start  some kind of ministry.  Be a singer. Be a speaker. Volunteer at the food bank. You can substitute being busy FOR God with being WITH God...  And even though the Gospels repeatedly tell us that JESUS HIMSELF had to get alone and pray and hear from His Father, don't worry about following His example.  Surely you are strong enough to NOT PRAY.. even though Jesus seemed to need it like oxygen... Because God didn't really MEAN it when He said, very strongly, "MY HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER!" And the fact that you can find lots of stuff going on in churches all over America, but rarely find a church that has a prayer meeting.. a prayer meeting where people actually pray and wait on the Lord......doesn't really matter to God. Right? 

I mean, seriously, that is, sadly, the situation many times. But when we serve the sheep, when we love the sheep, when we are in any kind of ministry, it is Living Water and The Bread of Life that people require.  God forbid we should call ourselves His voice and speak worthless words without LIFE.  

And people who pray understand that prayer requires waiting.  Waiting in prayer. And waiting for God to answer prayers. Waiting for God's Spirit to reveal God's Word, God's Will and God's Ways.   
So tragically widespread is the unwillingness to wait, that most believers I meet think living without power is the way life is supposed to be lived.

It isn't a doctrine that is being ignored that is the tragedy of this lack of focus on prayer.. it's the sheep that are being eaten by wolves.  They don't understand the power of prayer because all they've ever heard are powerless prayers.  They are being called on to volunteer at church before they are taught to call on the Lord at church.   The reason you and I have heard The Gospel, the reason we have churches to attend is because The Church was started by people who were willing to wait. Willing to wait for what? They didn't know what they were waiting for, but devoted themselves to prayer. When what they were waiting for arrived - rather when WHO they were waiting for arrived - THEY KNEW IT. No one needed to ask them, "Do you think God is here?" People know when God is present... People know when they are being fed.  Thankfully, Jesus, The Great Shepherd, loves them and cares for them... but still...  
I will keep waiting for the waiting ones.
I will keep waiting on and for the Lord.
I pray you will also.

Talk to God today.  Seek the Lord.  Take time away from other "stuff" and devote that time to simply having a conversation using honest words from a humble heart.  God cannot resist that.  God responds to that.

Wait on the Lord.
And He will strengthen your heart. Psalm 27:14





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