Fresh Wind Graphic
Summer Reading Challenge. Chapter 7 Commentary.

We live in a world that wants what is new, exciting and novel, and the church is not immune. Cymbala writes, “the truths of the gospel don’t seem spectacular enough. We’re restless for the latest, greatest, newest teaching or technique. We….search for a shortcut or some dynamic new strategy that will fire up our churches.” As churches have seen fads come and go, there are basic scriptural teachings that have stood for centuries, concerning corporate and personal spiritual growth. It is not instantaneous or flashy, but old fashioned spiritual endurance, which takes time and personal responsibility, produces spiritual growth.

The two tenets for growth in our relationship with God are spending time reading and meditating on His teachings (Prov. 3:1), and communicating with God in prayer (Jer. 29:12-13). We hear this truth time and time again, but in our fast-paced world it is easy to ignore and forget it. If we wish to be used for God’s kingdom, we have to make this a personal daily priority. And as a corporate body we need to meet in prayer. Corporate prayer carries great benefits in hearing one another lift our voices in prayer to God, uniting the body in worship, humbling ourselves, showing our need for Him, and seeking God’s way for our life and ministry.

All great revivals were preceded by groups of people praying. Cymbala gives the example of one young leader of the 1904 Welsh revival, who led most of his meetings in prayer, rather than preaching. It makes me wonder how many of us would attend those services today. A second example of revival takes place during Ezra and Nehemiah’s leadership of God’s people. In Nehemiah, chapter 8, it states the people stood from early morning to mid-day to hear Ezra read God’s Word. The people upon hearing the scriptures read, humbled themselves before God, recognizing their sin. Are we willing to gather to hear only the scriptures read to us? Would this capture our attention today? Would it bring conviction to our hearts?

Nothing moves God more than to see His children’s desperate need for Him, and their cry for His help. But we struggle with humbling ourselves. We try to do too much using our own gifts or talents, staying within our comfort zones, accomplishing little for God. But when we humble our hearts before Him, step out of our comfort zone, He is ready to do much more than we could ask or think!

Cymbala writes, “Let’s forget the novelties. If we prevail in prayer, God will do what only He can do. How He does things, when He does them, and in what manner are up to Him. The name of Jesus, the power of His blood, and the prayer of faith  have not lost their power over the centuries.” God has given us what we need and it has stood the test of time. It is simple, it is basic. We need to make ourselves available to Him, humbly acknowledging His sovereignty over us, and watch Him accomplish His work through us. Let’s give God our time, by coming together in prayer and reading His Word. He has given us everything we need, so we can confidently move forward, claiming victory in His name!

Sue Buch