Today begins our 40 days of prayer and fasting at Good Hope!
“What a man is on his knees, that he is, and nothing more.”
“What the church needs today is not more or better machinery, not new organizations, or more novel methods; but men whom the Holy Spirit can use– men of prayer, men mighty in prayer.” E. M. Bounds
Quotes like these have been used by God to inspire and convict me. But they do not compare to the encouragement I receive when reading Scriptures like these:
“Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:14-16
Amazing. We who have tasted and seen that the Lord is good through salvation in Christ can come with confidence into the very presence of the Holy God of creation. I define prayer as intimacy with God that leads to the fulfillment of His mission.
Revival refers to those times when believers become renewed in their faith and their walk with Christ. We can have a growing, intimate fellowship with God. And, that fellowship not only encourages us in our personal life, it stirs us to be about His mission. I love the passage in Acts4:23-31 when the early church had just faced her first instance of persecution. Peter and John gathered the church and they prayed. This is the first specific example of believers preaching the gospel to themselves, and they did so in their praying.
Read the passage and note that although they faced real threats, the major part of their prayer asked God for nothing, but was a rehearsal of the gospel. They recognized God as the “sovereign Lord” in verse 24, and as the Creator. Then, they noted the effects of sin and the fall when they recount the nations’ rage and the specific plans of Pilate and the Jews. After that, they reference the work of Christ as central to God’s plan of redemption as they note everything done by others was part of the greater purpose of God through Christ.
Creation. Fall. Rescue. All in the first prayer of the early church in a time of persecution.
They finally got around to asking God for something, and after such a beautiful rehearsal of gospel truth it is not surprise that their request had nothing to do with their own safety or comfort but everything to do with the mission of God, praying for boldness to speak the gospel (v. 31). And thus should our praying be. Rehearsing the gospel. Rejoicing in the good news. Enjoying sweet fellowship at the table with the Most High God. Then asking him to send us out to a broken world to invite them to enjoy that same fellowship of worship.
If you know Christ you know the forgiveness and peace made possible by the God of Creation through a sheer act of His grace. You have not earned the right to fellowship with Him; He has made the way through Christ. You now have the opportunity – indeed the responsibility -- to grow in intimacy with the Creator of the universe and the Savior of your soul. I call this ebook “pursuing God” not because you have to pursue Him to have a relationship, as He has made that possible through faith in Christ’s work. But as the Psalmist said “As the deer pants for water, so my soul thirsts for you” (Psalm 42:1) our love for Christ leads us to a relentless pursuit of Him.
Paul, who knew well the power of gospel change and described the difference between his life as a Pharisee and his life as a Christ-follower in Philippians 3, then utters a summary of his passion, “I press toward to the mark of the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (v. 14).
The following seeks to help you in a similar pursuit, to grow in intimacy with God through a repentant life of prayer. As a child of God you need not worry about making yourself acceptable to God, for He has already accomplished that. But you now can enjoy the sweet intimacy of fellowship with God. All other relationships flow out of this one, and the greater intimacy you have with God the more clarity you will have in relationships with others.
Day 1 - Day 1: FOCUS ON GOD
Read Psalm 100; Hebrews 1:1-4
Answer the following:
1. Do I sometimes forget how mighty and awesome God is?
2. Do I tend to put myself at the center of the Bible instead of recognizing God’s supremacy?
3. Do I daily reflect on God as sovereign, provider, redeemer, and the lover of my soul?
4. Do I seek to glorify Him in all areas of my life?
Pray: praise God for Who He is, and thank Him for His goodness. Reflect on the amazing grace He has shown us in Christ. Trust Him to be faithful to His promises.