“…We do not live in a praying age. We live in an age of hustle and bustle, of man’s efforts and man’s determination, of man’s confidence in himself and in his own power to achieve things, an age of human organization, human machinery, human scheming, and human achievement. In the things of God, this means no real achievement at all. I think it would be perfectly safe to say that the church of Christ was never in all its history so fully and so skillfully, so thoroughly and so perfectly organized as it is today. Our machinery is wonderful; it is just perfect. Unfortunately, it is machinery without power; and when things do not go right, instead of going to the real source of our failure, which is our neglect to depend upon God and to look to God for power, we look around to see if there is not some new organization we can set up, some new wheel that we can add to our machinery. We have altogether too many wheels already. What we need is not so much some new organization, some new wheel, but “the spirit of the living creature…in the wheels” (Ezekiel 1:20), whom we already possess.”
— R.A. Torrey, Prayer and Faith
This was written in the 1920’s. The 1920’s! Can you imagine what Mr. Torrey would think of our lives in the new millenium? About the buys-ness we call spirituality? What would he say about our megachurches, our strategic plans, our expansion consultants?
I think of the Israelites in the desert, not led by commitee or vote, but by the Spirit of the living God–who came in the form of a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. They packed up their tents when He moved. He did not warn them. He did not give them the 30 day or 90 day or 5 year plan. He moved and they followed. Simple obedience. Simple trust.
In the desert, He moved in the presence of all His followers. He did not reveal Himself only to a select few. Nearly two million Jews camped around the Tabernacle, fully in His presence. And He led them all in the same way. Now, instead of revealing Himself in a cloud or pillar of fire, He makes His home inside our hearts. And He moves. He moves in mighty ways that bring us to our knees. He moves in mysterious ways we could not imagine or re-create. And He moves in ways that are more than just personal. He has Words He wants to deliver to us all. And we sit still, waiting for someone else to acknowledge Him. Waiting for someone else to name His presence, unsure of what people will think of us if we just pack up our tents and follow.
I have so often sought security in people and institutions. I have wanted to trust in leaders for direction because I am lazy. I am too lazy to prepare myself to come before the Lord–by forgiving others, immersing myself in His word, learning to recognize His voice. I have left it to others to determine what the Spirit is saying, fearing making a mistake in interpreting His movements. But He has revealed Himself to me in ways I cannot contain anymore. I want to be available to Him, to hear Him, to follow Him when He makes His will known. Will you join me? Will you pray with me?