Tuesday, April 4, 2017
Words from the Past
When the church decides it wants to do something, committees are organized and set to work. A goal is set, Strategies and methods are put in place. In Martha like fashion the church hurriedly increases its pace and puts itself on a course of accomplishing its planned mission. And in most instances, the plans are spoken of as anointed with the will of God. Even though no one has prayed to determine exactly what the mission is to be, once it is determined, it is cloaked with such holy language that no one dares to speak against it. Many a mission has been launched without the kind of divine guidance that can only come through the struggle of prayer.
So often I find myself remembering a quote from E. M. Bounds, a 19th century preacher who is most remembered for what he wrote about prayer. “What the Church needs to-day is not more machinery or better, not new organizations or more and novel methods, but men whom the Holy Ghost can use -- men of prayer, men mighty in prayer. The Holy Ghost does not flow through methods, but through men. He does not come on machinery, but on men. He does not anoint plans, but men -- men of prayer.” Understand he was writing in a different gender environment and understand, too, his words still ring with power for the church of our day.
Prayer is what keeps the ship of the church on course. And, surely, one of the reasons it flounders so in these days is that it depends too much upon those who stand in its pulpits and sit in its pews. We simply do not have time to pray. There is such an urgency to get the church's mission accomplished and those who advocate too much time at the feet of Jesus seeking direction are banned from the room where decisions are being made. Before we pray about what the church should be doing, perhaps, we should be praying that God would raise up men and women who want nothing more than to prayerfully discern and know His will and purpose.