Prayer series

I don’t know about you but I don’t want to be surprised when I come face-to-face with God. You start rattling off all the stuff you did in the Name of God, including persuasive preaching, powerful signs, miracles, etc., etc., and God looks at you and says, “Who are you?”

If that happened to me, I would probably drop dead again from a heart attack, if that were possible, of course. As surreal as this may sound, this is pretty much the picture is painted for us in Matthew 7:21-23: “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’”

It’s a devastating thing, isn’t it, to experience “successful” ministry while at the same time excluding God entirely from the picture. But how do we know if our “success” is God-induced or man-made? What are the signs that we may be relying entirely on our own abilities to get things done for God? Is there a God-o-meter in our life and ministry?

I think there is and it is called prayer. Unfortunately in most churches today prayer is only another item on the menu of ministry opportunities, a “thing” a handful of people still do in an obscure corner of the church. This is not what God intended for His people. Prayer is supposed to be the foundation of everything we do in the church. It should not be an option but a mandatory discipline for the follower of Christ. If we ever hope to be involved in something truly divine, we must make sure that we not only invite but make room and allow The Divine to come in and take over, permeating every facet of every detail of everything we do.

Prayer is more important than preaching. It is more important than singing. It is more important than all the other programs (forgive me for using this word) put together in the church. Without it, our souls shrivel, we lose our true north, and start resorting to pathetic little gimmicks that do nothing to advance the mission of Christ to reach people without hope.

We are starting a new series at Grace Church called “Prayer: Moving God’s Heart” with a study in the life of Hannah. This woman teaches us that sometimes we have to reach the end of ourselves in order for us to see God show up in a big way. And maybe that is a major reason we shove prayer to a little corner in the church – we haven’t reached the end of ourselves. So should we ask God to get us there?

I don’t wish for that, but just like Hannah had a rival in her life – a second wife who put her through hell (forgive me the language), maybe we also need a Peninnah in our lives. Someone or something that will drive us to our knees!

I wish to God this were not necessary, but if this is what it takes, I am willing to receive it as long as God gives me the grace and strength to grow through it.

So is there is “Peninnah” in your life?

“Father, please don’t allow me to succeed if I am not doing it in the strength of your power. And if necessary, please bring a person or a situation in my life that will send me running to your throne because I have nowhere else to turn. And please let me stay there until you come through in a big way. Not to change my circumstances necessarily, but to change me. In Jesus Name, Amen.”

Pastor Ivanildo C. Trindade