It was unsatisfactory, my prayer life. It had been that way too long. No amount of sincere desire had yet caused me to set aside the time I needed to in order to do what every Christian should be doing. (Shouldn’t they?) Times intended for prayer got interrupted with phone calls I suddenly remembered to return, or errands that were urgent. Prayer was neglected.
It was Stephen Covey’s book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, that gave me the impetus to renew my effort. I scheduled the “big rock” of prayer into my calendar so that it didn’t get lost on the edges of life. Mondays, 8:00AM, for one hour, I made the appointment to pray.
When my first Monday came–true to my new commitment–I went to the office and prayed. When I was done I said to myself, “And what shall I do with the remaining 55 minutes?” I really wanted to pray.
Then, staring at my computer screen, thinking I would type out my prayer/thoughts, God and I had a conversation for the rest of that time. That first Monday He taught me this:
God chooses us because He wants us, not because He needs us.
Here I thought He wanted me to do all this stuff for Him during our sixty minutes! This was good news! God just wants to be with me.
This revelation brought me to what Mark recorded when Jesus called the twelve disciples:
“Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted (bold added), and they came to him. He appointed twelve that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons.” (Mark 3:13-15 NIV)
Take note. Jesus chooses twelve, describing them as wanted. He didn’t say he needed them, he wanted them!
Then, look closely at how the passage continues: “He appointed twelve that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons.”
It seems to me that Jesus wanted them first to be with him, and then, to do the work.
Could it be that these verses can actually help us order our priorities when it comes to both prayer and evangelism? To first be with God, then do his work? Can we even do his work without being with him?
My times in prayer have revealed to me that our worth to God is less about how much He can use us, but rather learning to understand how much He wants to be with us.
The word that makes God get loud with excitement and repeat himself is “with!” It’s what makes heaven, heaven for Him!
“ And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.’” (Revelation 21:3 NIV)
Once we begin to grasp this, we have something to truly share with the world.
Pastor, Christ Community Church, Ottawa, IL
Friend of Q Place