|Intercessors for Canada|
Mid-Month Notes - January 2004
|Our biggest challenge is: 'To hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches'. In all the information and opinion that has crossed my desk and brain recently, the following article from Spokane stands out as the voice of God. The Spokane Marketplace Prayer Leadership has begun to set before the Church and Marketplace Leaders in Spokane a call to repentance for the first half of 2004. Let us take to heart what they have to say and apply it to our hearts in Canada. The team has outlined some very helpful practical steps on their website athttp://www.marketplaceprayer.org
SETTING OUR HOPE ON GOD
This scripture has certainly got my attention as it concerns continuous intercession - 1Timothy 5:3,5. But how do we relate to such a command?
Honour widows who are real widows ... She who is a real widow, and is left all alone, has set her hope on God and continues in supplications and prayers night and day; whereas she who is self-indulgent is dead even while she lives. Command this, so that they may be without reproach.
Does this seem extreme or unreasonable to our way of Christian life? Surely we can be allowed some self-indulgence! What about existing alone without all the stuff! Is the Lord enough to satisfy the longing of our hearts without some worldly distractions? A real widow, Paul says, seems to have the opportunity to set her hope on God and seek Him by day and by night. Imagine the power and the blessing that a poor disadvantaged widow would generate in this manner and the effect that her prayer life would have on her church and city! Is there a sense in which the church in Canada is spiritually like a widow? Our spouse, lover and husband - Jesus, seems so far away, and we have been left behind to live our life without Him. In His absence do we move into creative self indulgence or seek Him like never before. What would it feel like to pray day and night? The next article might be helpful.
REPENTANCE AND THE LOST HEART OF THE CHURCH The Spokane Market Place Prayer Initiative Repentance has become the "lost heart" of the Church today. One seldom hears messages on the need for personal or corporate repentance from sin. And yet, when we look at the New Testament there are some 58 references to the need to repent. "Repent" is the most frequent instruction given by the risen Christ to the 7 Churches of Asia in Revelation chapters 2 & 3 (occurring 6 times). Repentance is a matter close to God’s heart. I believe God is about to make repentance from sin as important to us as it is to Him. I believe that God is calling His Church, particularly in Spokane, into a season of prayer, fasting and repentance in preparation for revival.
When you and I stand before God on judgment day He will not ask you to give an account for anyone’s sin but your own. That sin or issue in your neighbor’s life that you thought was so terrible and which you believed cried out for repentance on their part will not even come up in the conversation. But God will ask you to explain the log in your own eye which you steadfastly denied was there and which you refused to repent over. Repentance isn’t about any one else. It is about you and me. It isn’t about anyone else’s sin. It’s about yours and mine. It isn’t about what you might think God wants to do in anyone else’s life. It’s about what God wants to do in your life and in my life. It isn’t about the Church calling the world to repent of it’s sin. It’s about the Church wanting to be holy before God and living out a life of humility and repentance before a watching world that has yet to see a genuine role model of repentance and forgiveness. Perhaps the world will consider the claims of Christ more seriously when it sees the professing Church living out a life of humility, forgiveness and holiness more fully.
I believe God wants to send Spiritual Revival and Transformation to our community, and at this current point in time, particularly in the first six months of 2004, He is calling His available church to seek Him in humility, in fasting, in prayer and in genuine personal and corporate repentance, asking God to have mercy upon us and to pour out His Spirit upon us, our churches and our community. This isn’t about a program, a crusade, or a festival. It isn’t even about particular pastors or churches or ministries. It’s about the heart and desire of God to visit our city, to pour out spiritual revival and transformation, and its about the role He wants each of us to play.
The Church in Spokane and Eastern Washington now stands at a spiritual crossroads. After many years of prayer for revival, and many prophetic words promising a season of revival, we now stand at a critical crossroads where we must choose. We can choose to continue on in more man-made structures, activities, programs and coalitions which will do nothing but mask spiritual poverty with activity while perpetuating the status quo, or we can choose to lay aside all other considerations and enter into a season of prayer, fasting and repentance which will lead to genuine revival. In this season, God is not looking for empty, ritualized and formalized repentance events. Rather, He is looking to raise up men (and women) like Ezra who are genuinely appalled at the condition of God's people and who are willing to weep the prayers of the broken hearted over the sin of God's people and the failure of the Church.
© Copyright 2004 Intercessors for Canada. All rights reserved.