There I sat on the train this morning, biting my thumb as tears glazed over my eyes. It was all I could do not to break down into a giant pool of uncontrollable sobbing.
I blame the book I was reading. No, actually, I point the reason to God. He had placed this book in my hands a little over a year ago, and it had just sat on my shelf, collecting dust, barely touched or loved. (It even smelt like a new book!). I finally took it off my shelf as appointed selective train reading for the day. It was on prayer. Fervent prayer. The kind of prayer that would not let go until something or someone somehow changed for the advancement of the Lord’s Kingdom, and the King of Kings name to be glorified. The sort of prayer that today’s church seriously lacks.
I will confess. Prayer is something that I have always struggled with. Bible reading? No problem. I’ll read for hours quite joyously. But prayer? I can barely keep my mind focused for longer than ten minutes.
That’s not to say that I do not pray, or haven’t prayed longer for ten minutes in the past. But for me, it is an extreme effort of will. On the occasions that I have prayed for hours, it’s been a definite “one off”. I’ll slump back into my complacent prayer life of selfishness quite happily for the next few months.
So there I found myself, on the train this morning, searching for the cure of my daze of a prayer life. I was utterly tired of my lack of zeal in prayer, or my intercession of routine. I was and still am hungry for something more. Something that brings me to my knees without fail, without question. I realised I want that.
By half way into the first chapter, I felt the waves of conviction flowing out of my heart and engulfing my bodily frame. You could compare it to a a soul on the front lines of a beach whilst a tsunami hit. I could not avoid it.
The beginning of prayer is humility. Humbling ourselves before the throne of God. Acknowledging who He is – Creator, Author, Redeemer, Saviour, Jehovah. Fearing Him, and what He is capable of. Having complete awe for what He has done, and what He will do.
But more than that, it also begins with a soft, tender, sensitive heart. To be moved over the things that move the Lord. To break over the things that break His heart – injustice, unrighteousness, wickedness, sin. In Christianity today, we seem to be thick skinned over the things that we ought to be sensitive about. And we then wonder why the Lord does not move, and mark certain verses in the Word of God as “only relevant to a certain time”. God still will give if we ask. He will still bless if we yearn. But the catch? The requests that glorify Him He will grant. He is not an ATM or a money tree.
The next part was the final wave of conviction that assured full destruction, and surrender. I broke away from my book for a moment, and allowed my eyes to wander around the carriage. The thought that seeped into my mind next was heartbreaking.
Most, if not all of those people who were traveling with me? Our final eternal destination could not be more contrasting. Most, if not all of those people are on a straight train ride to hell. Eternal punishment.
How does this not move us?
And the tears began to fill my eyes.
My finishing thought to this was more of a challenge. What if I was to ask people who shared the same journey as I if they needed prayer? How I could prayer for them? Perhaps the curious commencement of a quest for God would start. Perhaps seeds would be planted. Perhaps I will be cussed at, accused, and even shoved. What an honour! What an absolute honour!
You see, I want to be the difference. I want to be that one fish swimming against the tide of complacent Christianity. Not for my glory, but for Christ’s alone. The makings of men and women of God do not start with sitting idly for hours on the computer or on the Internet. These servants of Christ are not found arguing over minuet theological differences or getting angry over the slightest rebuke. The start is with slaying the flesh, and getting out of that comfortable bubble that our flesh so cherishes. Perseverance. Clenching teeth, and saying, “I will kneel! I will bow! There are people dying, and there is a place on earth where God is not confessed to be Lord!”
This is not legalism. This is not to say that you have to do A, B, or C to be saved. This is not works based. Your salvation is secure. But, we should be ready to share our faith because that is what we are commanded to do, and because we love Christ, for He first loved us upon Calvary. We should find it such a holy blessing to be able to talk with Him. We should find it a divine gift that we can pray for others, and see change according to His will. We live in a free nation. You will not be imprisoned, tortured, killed for your faith by authority.
Very few people in the church today are actually praying. And how do I know this? Because if we had congregations of people dedicating their lives to relentless prayer to see His will come to pass… Well, the would be results are unimaginable.
Be that few. Be that one soul who says, “Not my will, but Yours, Lord!” Be the one person who is more concerned about His glory and name’s advancement than self-sanctification or passing that exam that you have not studied for (as so you pray). Be that desperate soul that hungers for more than a five minute prayer in passing.
I’m ready. I’m hungry. I’m yearning to be poured out at His feet. Are you?
Lord, use me. Use us.