Many of us love this familiar passage:
“”And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. Even on the male and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit.”
Joel 2:28-29 ESV
However, we tend to overlook some verses that lead up to it:
“”Yet even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments.” Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster.
Blow the trumpet in Zion; consecrate a fast; call a solemn assembly; gather the people. Consecrate the congregation; assemble the elders; gather the children, even nursing infants. Let the bridegroom leave his room, and the bride her chamber.”
Joel 2:12-13, 15-16 ESV
Can you imagine pastors in a region issuing a call for prayer and fasting — and having all of God’s people respond, with parents bringing their children into the prayer gatherings, and newlyweds leaving their honeymoons to come and pray? How desperate would we have to get for something like that to happen? How much more violence, bloodshed, civil unrest, and terrorist attacks will it take for the Church in America to repent, fast, weep, and allow our hearts to be broken? What will it take for us to make joining together in prayer a priority?
I talk about this on my brand-spankin’ new podcast:
Too tired to pray podcast episode
Updated to add different link.
Maybe that’s you — you want to have a regular prayer life, but you don’t know quite how to get started, how to go from hardly praying at all to praying regularly.
This article gives some good suggestions: 5 Steps to Get your Prayer Life off the Ground.
I would like to write that the reason no new posts have appeared for awhile is because I’ve been far too busy having adventures in prayer to write about them. While that might sound quite pious and spiritual, it isn’t exactly true. The truth is that I’m finding it difficult to articulate those things that I have wanted to express on this blog.
But, I did want to share my latest adventure. Hopefully I’ll follow this with a longer post in a few days, describing my experience.
I’m writing this from the International House of Prayer in Kansas City.
I’ll have to save the story of how I got here…and why I’m here for the next few days…for a future post.
In the meantime, I’ve been spending the past hour and a half worshipping, praying, and meditating on Scripture. And writing this blog post.
As I’ve been getting acquainted with various aspects of today’s prayer movement, I’ve grown to appreciate a greater emphasis on Scripture. I was familiar with taking a Psalm and making it a personal prayer, but this goes beyond that.
This morning I stood in Resurrection Sanctuary and prayed through Jesus’ high priestly prayer in John 17 and through about half of Philippians. I prayed that the Holy Spirit would illuminate what I was reading, that He would apply those truths in my life. I was open with God about my own struggles. I shared my thoughts about what I was reading. I prayed that I would be obedient to what I was reading, and I prayed for my family and for the Church, getting very specific to what I was reading.
Years ago, during a time of discouragement and wanting to do my own thing, I told my parents, “I’m not cut out for Christianity!” Today, I was reminded of that. It’s still true. After all, I’m prone to wander. I fall so very, very short. I have a long ways to go before I can confidently and truthfully say, as in Philippians 1:21, “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”
Christianity without the constant, indwelling presence of Jesus will never work for me. I don’t have what it takes to be a good Christian, or to follow the teachings of Jesus on my own. The only way I could do that is to twist the Bible all around, and ignore the parts I don’t like. In other words, I might as well make up my own religion.
So I stood in this little old church this morning, and once again pleaded with God for mercy and grace. I want to know Him more…want to serve Him better, even as every selfish bone in my body balks…and I want to love Him more. I want more of Him. I’m lost otherwise.
But it’s not just that. I want to know Him more because He is so worth knowing. I want to know this amazing, all-powerful God of the universe who cares so deeply for little old me. I want to know the Father who loves me so much and has done so much for me. Why wouldn’t I want more of such a wonderful God?