One of my friends posted a sermon by David Wilkerson on his Facebook. The sermon was titled, “A Call to Anguish.” In it, he expresses a great disappointment in the church’s failure to truly identify with God’s heart for mankind.
Do we weep over those lost friends who do not know Him, and the strangers we do not know and will never see again in the hereafter? Do we outfit ourselves in our armor of God and fight the battle valiantly every morning in our prayer closets, pettitiong for the salvation of the neighbor next door, or the quiet young man who makes our cappuccino at the coffee shop?
In times of great calamity, we pray. We pray for the devastation in Haiti. We pray for the devastation in Chile. The magnitude of human suffering is unthinkable. But do we pray for the friendly strangers who are all smiles, drive nice cars, have nice jobs? Do we pray for the people in our immediate sphere of influence? We know that if they do not know Christ, they are lost. But how many times do we fail them by thinking, foolishly, that somehow they’ll be okay in the end because they don’t seem to need Christ?
In this way, we fail them. We fail them because we turn away from the very thing that brought us to the feet of the King in the first place: repentance. No one can make it to heaven on their own. Everyone needs Jesus. And yet, we judge people by their clothes, their jobs, their intellect, their winning personalities, and we fail to weep for them. We fail to love them as Christ loved them. We want to be their friends, we idolize them. We wish we were more like them and less like the divine being who resides in us.
Christ in us. We can’t possibly know every detail of their lives, how they are hurting. But one thing we can know is that they are hurting if they do not know the King. It’s a great mystery. I don’t pretend to fully understand it. But I know the power of the Spirit’s intercession for others. The heart of God for humankind is a vastly underrated and largely downplayed concept in our society.
Many times when I read the word of God, I feel His heart pouring out through me. I feel intensely burdened to pray for certain individuals in my personal sphere of influence, even though I don’t know the details of their circumstances or personal struggles.
I know that God knows the inner heart of every man, and His desire is that all men would come to Him. If I don’t know exactly what to pray for, I simply pray what I know God desires for them: that they would draw closer to Him, to revel in God’s amazing love for them, and come to love the King as I do. It’s not about what I can do for God, but to what extent I relinquish myself to the Spirit inside me and allow that Spirit to intercede for the people God has put in my path (See Rom. 8:26-27).
Does God sometimes impress upon me specific topics to pray for, when I am truly in Him, swept up by the power of His love for His people? I believe He does. He reveals enough for me to know He is near, and that He cares for me. Most of what God shows me every day is not a directive of what I should do for Him, but an affirmation of how much He loves me.
I know that “He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning. He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him” (Dan. 2:21-22). He brings light to my path, clarity to my understanding, and even though I may not know in the so-called “clairvoyant” sense of the word what is happening in the lives of those around me, I know with certainty that the Spirit within me knows exactly what they are going through and exactly what they need.
Relinquishing oneself to the Spirit can be scary. Our God is an awesome God, much bigger and more intense that our pretty little God-boxes can accommodate. Will we allow ourselves to be moved to anguish by the Holy Spirit, or will we stifle that great mystery and blessing of God because we’re afraid of showing too much emotion? Are we afraid of being labeled and judged by our peers? If we succumb to our sense of cultural/religious propriety, aren’t really stuffing ourselves and our God-given spiritual passion into a cage of our own devising?
“Think of the number of souls God has brought about our path and we have dropped them! When we pray on the ground of redemption, God creates something He can create in no other way than through intercessory prayer.” (Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest)
God doesn’t put limits on what He can do through us; He gives us the full abundance of His kingdom. We’re the ones who choose to live off the breadcrumbs of His glory.Read More...