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Monday, February 22, 2016

Prayer and More Prayer



God weeps for His people to love Him and to serve Him. All He asks is for us to come to Him and seek His heart. He calls us to pray, but we are so busy. Our lives are on the fast-track of a world demanding more and more. He offers a love that holds nothing back. He offers a love that takes our struggles, sins, and heartaches to the cross. But so many of us go our own way and ignore the redeeming, renewing, and reviving love of the Savior.

“My people are fools; they do not know me,” God spoke to Jeremiah. “They are senseless children; they have no understanding. They are skilled in doing evil; they know not how to do good” (Jeremiah 4:22, NIV). Jeremiah weeps for God’s people, and the disaster he knows is coming because of their sin. He cries out to the Lord asking how long this must continue. How long must he see death and the coming destruction? And this is God's answer. His children don't really know Him. They have never grown up to be responsible spiritual adults. They are senseless, and have no understanding of what it means to live a righteous life. They selfishly live for themselves, and in doing so they epitomize what is evil. Life is all about what they want. His children have become fools because they have refused to live in integrity and honesty.

What about you and what about me? Do we live foolish lives as if nothing matters? Do we sometimes shake our fists in God's face demanding our own way? Are honesty and integrity two virtues that have become foreign to us? Do we live as if there will be no accountability for our actions?  God calls each of us daily to repent and turn from selfish and sinful ways. He longs for each of us to be revived by His Spirit again and again until we become the people He has designed and destined.

If we don’t repent and seek His face, we will be spiritually ruined. “The whole land will be ruined,” the Lord says, “though I will not destroy it completely. Therefore the earth will mourn and the heavens above grow dark, because I have spoken and will not relent, I have decided and will not turn back” (Jeremiah 4:27-28, NIV). Jeremiah speaks of the marching armies that will come against God's children, and how pretending they have pure hearts will not save them from the approaching destruction. They can't make themselves look good for God; He looks for repentant hearts that have been made clean and changed by His grace. Our church can’t make itself “pure” either. Hearts in the body of Christ must be changed and renewed by His Spirit. If we don’t repent and seek His face, our church will also be spiritually ruined and ineffective; it shall lose its passion and His power for ministry.

There is hope!  “Go up and down the streets of Jerusalem,” God declares to Jeremiah, “look around and consider, search through her squares. If you can find but one person who deals honestly and seeks the truth, I will forgive this city” (Jeremiah 5:1, NIV). Just as God looked for that one person in Jerusalem, He looks today for people who are faithful to Him—who seek Him and pray for revival—who are obedient and love Him above all else. “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 I will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14, NIV). God looks on the heart, and that is where He makes His assessment. That is where change occurs. Prayer is what changes us, and moves God to heal and forgive.

The answer for revival in our hearts is prayer and more prayer.  Pray to have a repentant heart and pray for a consuming need to know Him more. “Call to me”, the Lord says, “and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know” (Jeremiah 33:3, NIV). He is the answer. When we seek Him, we shall find Him. His power and His love will erase all that has kept us from knowing His heart.  At His feet in true repentance we shall discover a new heart. His heart will continually reach to mold ours, and we will respond with a hunger that can’t be contained. “I will give them singleness of heart,” says the Lord, “and put a new spirit within them. I will take away their stony, stubborn heart and give them a tender, responsive heart. Then they will truly be my people, and I will be their God” (Ezekiel 11:19, 20b, NLT). 

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