If you have attended Bloom Church for any length of time, you have heard me repeatedly say that one of if not the most important thing we do is 21 Days of Prayer. Under normal circumstances, this is true, yet with the hindsight of these last four months, this may be more true than ever. As a Church Body come together in unity, in discipline, and sacrifice, seeking God in prayer is of vital importance. I have been pressing into prayer so deeply these last several months, and I keep hearing the promise of God delivered in II Chronicles ring in my heart…
‘if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. ‘ II Chronicles 7:14 NKJV
Now let’s be honest if you were raised up in Church for an extended period of time you have heard this scripture, and if you are like me, you can probably recite it by memory. However, the question is not whether we know it, but whether we live it. I want you to entertain me for a few minutes, and let’s dive a little deeper into what God is saying.
God starts the entire promise with an “if.” Why? Because He understands most followers of God won’t. Let’s be honest with ourselves; prayer is more of a last resort than a first response. When we have nowhere else to turn, and it is finally impossible for us to be the hero of the story of our life, then we may cry out to God. However, when life seems to be coasting pretty decently, then God is on the back burner. It is easy for ourselves to drift into “savior” mode and believe that we are who is in control of our lives and that we are the only one who has the strength to get us through. However, “if” we pray, then we see the powerful promise of God that is is for us!
“HUMBLE THEMSELVES, AND PRAY AND SEEK MY FACE”
Humility is the key to Godly clarity. Only when we step aside, surrender, and seek His face will we discover the wisdom and direction we need to navigate this life. Humility settles in our hearts that words of God are true when He says, “‘My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts, says the Lord . And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.”(Isaiah 55:8 NLT).
His thoughts are NOT my thoughts, and His ways are far beyond what I could imagine. This means I prayerfully desire His will for my life, and this world NOT my opinions will for my life and this world. If God is my Lord, I must submit myself to Him and His direction, but how can if I never pray and seek His face with a humble heart! We serve the Kingdom of God, not the Kingdom of this world as we are citizens of Heaven and aliens on this earth. With that mindset, we need our King and Lord to be who we solely follow!
“TURN FROM THEIR WICKED WAYS”
I can tell you that I believe that God’s Church is in a deep pruning season right now, and if we lean into the pruning, we will come out of this with more significant fruit than ever before. However, we as the Church have to allow God to cut away the things that are hindering our spiritual growth, and that is not easy, convenient, or the least bit comfortable! I want to speak to the Western Church specifically because it is what I know and experience, and we have a lot of sinful similarities as the children of Israel. More specifically, we like to bring “idols” into our lives, and yet we always justify their existence in our lives. I want you to catch what Isaiah says to God in chapter 26,
O Lord our God, other lords besides you have ruled over us… Isaiah 26:13 ESV
Did you catch this? He doesn’t say other lords ruled them instead of God but besides God. That the people of Israel tended to bring other gods/idols in with their worship to Jehovah, they didn’t entirely reject God, but they also were not solely loyal to God. We may not bring in physical religious idols into our lives, but we do bring in a divided loyalty. We have introduced into our lives other “idols/lords” that take priority over God, such as hobbies, work, sports, money, ambition, power, relationships, and simply put our conveniences. We have as the Western Church allowed ourselves to believe we can serve God without full surrender while discarding all of Jesus’ conditions be a follower of His. That is why Jesus says in Luke,
“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? ‘ (Luke 6:46)
Why do we call ourselves Christians and not obey the words of Jesus? We have to understand as Peter urges us. “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord.” (1 Peter 3:15 NIV) In our hearts, which then is translated by our actions that Jesus is our Lord. This means He comes first in our life, in our priorities, in our activities, and our words!
“THEN” “I WILL HEAR FROM HEAVEN, AND WILL FORGIVE THEIR SIN AND HEAL THEIR LAND.”
God, we need your healing like never before, and we ask with a humble heart that your Will be done on earth as it is in heaven. That you show us our transgressions, show us our false idols, and forgive us. We turn from this idea that we are the all-knowing saviors of this world and our lives, and we surrender to the understanding that we desire less of us and more of Jesus. We submit to you, our Lord!
Bloom Church let us join with Churches worldwide and make this 21 Days of Prayer 2020 the most unified prayer that we have ever experienced. 21 Days of Prayer starts on Sunday, August 2nd through August 22nd, and we will have prayer services Monday – Friday from 6-7 am, and Saturdays from 9-10 am at the Branson campus!