Dear pastors, missionaries, chaplains and friends,
Steve Jones here… I was 22 years old and visiting my friend at Moody Bible Institute during Moody’s “Founder’s Week”, a week of great preaching and challenge.
I was only three years old in the faith, and 20 months into my Seminary education.
We sat together in Moody’s auditorium listening to Alan Redpath preaching from Acts chapter two, verse 12: “They stood there AMAZED and perplexed, ‘what can this mean?’, they asked each other.”
“Amazed”… by what?
By Spirit-controlled, Spirit-empowered, passionate disciples of Christ. Dr. Redpath declared “you get a person amazed, and you’re only a short step away from worship!”
I remember that prophetic message like it was yesterday, and that was 30 years ago. Where did followers of Christ get that kind of power to impact and transform their community? Redpath claimed the secret was found in the “secret place”. Time alone with God.
Redpath was a British ex-pat, part of the Keswick tradition along with Stephen Olford, pastoring the Historic Moody Bible Church when a Moody professor named A.W. Tozer contacted him. He invited him to meet him daily at a park in the very wee hours of the morning for prayer.
Redpath said, “It was a bit early for me, but when I went, I found Tozer lying face down on holy ground in concerted prayer”.
Tozer’s been dead for five decades (died May 12, 1963), but they’re still re-publishing the man’s books – maybe because he lived the secret and most of us are trying to vicariously discover it through his books. For too many of us, prayer is supplemental rather than fundamental to our lives and ministry. If we want to see the Mission accomplished we must recommit ourselves to becoming desperate for communion with the Spirit of God. Without it, we’re only playing games.
Isaiah 62:6 says, “You who call on the Lord, give yourselves no rest”. If we want to see God’s power raining down on our churches, then let us give God no rest from our intercession.
In his book, “The Knowledge of the Holy”, Tozer writes this in his chapter on the self-sufficiency of God:
“Almighty God, just because He is almighty, needs no support. The picture of a nervous, ingratiating God, fawning over men to win their favour is not a pleasant one; yet if we look at the popular conception of God, that is precisely what we see… so lofty is our opinion of ourselves that we find it quite easy, not to say, enjoyable, to believe that we are necessary to God. Probably the hardest thought of all for our natural egotism is to entertain that God does not need our help. We commonly represent Him as a busy, eager, somewhat frustrated Father, hurrying about seeking help to carry out His benevolent plan to bring peace and salvation to the world.”
Although very humbling… we must come to the brutal realization that we worship a self-existent, self-sustaining, self-sufficient God who:
All that we have created (and let’s even argue that we’ve done it all for God’s gory) could burn up and turn to dust… and God would still make a great, grand and glorious Name for Himself among the nations.
God doesn’t involve us in His grand global plan to win the nations because He actually NEEDS us. God involves us because He LOVES us. And until we really come to terms with this – recognizing it’s in the “secret place of prayer” that we gain any power to accomplish the mission – then we will continue to be frustrated in our attempts to fulfill God’s purposes. We’ll miss the mark.
Have a blessed week,