Sunday, August 15, 2010
I got my first job when I was 12 years old. I became a paperboy. It was my job to deliver over 50 copies of The Hanford Sentinel newspaper every afternoon (except on Sundays-there was no paper on Sunday). If you are reading this and you have no idea what a paperboy is...well, go ask someone who is older because I don't have the time to explain it to you here.
I found myself pushing myself on this job. Nobody made me do it, but there was something in me that made me try to be the best paperboy I could. I tried to porch every paper. I tried to see how fast I could roll my papers and get them delivered. I set a record and continually tried to break that record. While a paper route is not what I would call a hard job, I will say that I worked hard at it.
Three years later, a the age of 15 I went to work for the same newspaper in the Circulation Department. I was one of many who inserted the ads into the paper, as well as the separate sections (section B, C, etc.), when there was one. I also eventually helped bundle the papers, fill newspaper racks and deliver the bundles of papers to the houses of the paper boys (and paper girls). As with my paper route, I also pushed myself at this job. I began to "race" with others who were inserters to see how fast we could insert 25, 50, 100 or more papers. I would try and finish my delivery of the bundles and the filling of the racks in record time. As with the paper route, I don't think the job I had was hard work, but I did work hard at it.
While I think that some of that desire to work hard at the job I was given is due to the instruction I received from my Dad while growing up, what I think continued to drive me on to work in that way was the satisfaction I got out of it. It always felt good when I was done...especially if I was a little "spent" once it was over, and even more so if I had broken a personal record.
All of that crossed my mind briefly while I was reading this passage in Acts. Acts 1:12-14 "Then they returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives, a Sabbath day's walk from the city. When they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying. Those present were Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew; James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. THEY ALL JOINED TOGETHER CONSTANTLY IN PRAYER, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers." (emphasis added)
The way I see this is that if they were "joined together constantly in prayer" they must have been praying HARD! Why is it that too often, the least attended meeting of the church is the prayer meeting? The prayer room was the delivery room for the birth of the church! The church was born during a prayer meeting!
I realize that some of the problem is the kind of prayer meetings we have had. I've been to some of "those" prayer meetings, so I get it.
But hasn't god promised to "show up" when we pray? Has the Spirit not moved in mighty ways in prayer meetings of the past? Is God dull and boring? Then if our prayer meetings are that way the reason is not God...the reason is US! We don't desire deep communication, deep communion, on a deep spiritual level.
But it shouldn't be that way. If God's people will join together, to seek the face of God, the face of the ALMIGHTY, the face of ADONIA, the face of ELOHIM, the face of EL SHADDAI, the face of JEHOVAH, the face of I AM, He says He will meet us...and He will hear us...and He will be with us!
Is anything better than that? Oh that the people of God would start to seek the face of God before we approach Him for His hand.
This is praying hard. There is much satisfaction in being "spent" for God in prayer. There is a strengthening of your relationship with the Lord, a boldness that will come in sharing your faith, and a love for the brothers and sisters like never before. How can you not be changed after you encounter the living God in prayer!
Charles Spurgeon wrote, "We shall never see much change for the better in our churches in general until the prayer meeting occupies a higer place in the esteem of Christians."
I'll write more about praying in the blog tomorrow, but for now I want to leave you with these passages.
Colossians 4:2 "Be earnest and unwearied and steadfast in your prayer [life], being [both] alert and intent in [your praying] with thanksgiving."
1 Thessalonians 5:17 "Be unceasing in prayer [praying perseveringly];"
Praying for you this morning,