Prayer is one of the main agencies through which we are brought ot understand the mind of Christ toward our particular mission and the work of the kingdom of God in general. Undoubtedly the small quantity of intelligent intercessory prayer in most twentieth century congregations is part of the short-circuiting of missionary consiousness among the laity. The establishment of the kingdom of God is an elusive tak; we cannot even see what it involves in our vicinity without specific prayer, and we certainly will have little urgency to carry it out unless we are praying. ~ Richard Lovelace, Dynamics of Spiritual Life, 156-57
God is disposed to give himself to us, if we will only press into him. How can we receive of the bounty of God’s infinite goodness unless we pray? We have not because we ask not.
We become lifeless in ministry apart from him, as reminded by a friend this morning, the branch withers apart from the sap-flowing, life-sustaining vine. He is the Vine! And he ultimately calls us to come to him, not for the fruit of conversion or for the anointing in sermons or wisdom in counsel, but rather ,he is calling us to come to him for Him.
How do we come to him? We come to him in prayer, in the secret closet of communion with the holy Trinity.George Mueller has rightly been recognized as a man of prayer, a man who faithfully prayed and steadily restrained himself from asking others for money, financial support, to build five orphanages on Ashley Down and fill them with hundreds of abused, neglected, and abandoned children. He had the faith of ten thousand church planters, but beneath his great faith and prayer for God’s provision was a goal even more noble that housing and caring for orphans, a goal greater than ministry or church planting. Why did he not fundraise but “merely” pray for orphan provision? He writes:
I have refrained, because one of the primary objects of this Institution is, to bring before the world and the Church a tangible proof, how much even in this Nineteenth Century can be accomplished simply through the instrumentality of prayer and faith; and to give a clear demonstration, that God is now as much the Living God as He was Four Thousand years ago.
Brothers, we are in need of such a clear demonstration in the 21st century, not so much a demonstration of good works and godly provision, but a demonstration of the Living God. Mueller’s aim was ultimately the display of God’s living and abiding glory in a world that was prone to neglect and dismiss him. And should our aim as church planters, as pastors, as disciples of Jesus be any different? Should we not join Mueller on our knees, not supremely for his providential care or provision, but for Him, for a first-hand experience and demonstration of his sublime excellency and animated glory? To this end, may we pray, may we seek, and may we find him.