“Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are sending to inquire of Baal-Zebub, the God of Ekron!” 2 Kings 1:3
Depending on God VS. Self dependence
King Aahziah of Israel was sick and desperately seeking a solution for his problem. He believed in the philosophy that “the end justifies the means” in which what matters is getting the needs met, and how one does it is not important. So in his desperation he sent for the gods of Ekron and wrote his own death sentence.
In ministry, we too are tempted to take short-cuts or find alternatives which can bring immediate relief, but can eventually take us away from God’s will and purpose.
Christian life and Ministry is a life of dependence on God. It is very easy to move away to a culture of self-dependence.
Israel’s history was a nation who depended on God, from daily food to conquering nations, from crops to battles, from health to wealth, and every other detail of life; they were dependent on God. Jesus too was tempted by the devil to take short-cuts by surrendering His purpose to satisfy immediate needs by turning stones in to bread. He defended his dependence and said, “Man shall not live by bread alone”.
Are you tempted to follow human methods and systems to get quick results? Have you found material sources of support which taken away your dependence on God? Dependence of the word of God is the very culture of faith and trust in God.
Prayer is not merely getting our needs met. It is a culture of dependence. It is a lifestyle of trust and total obedience to God’s will and purpose.
Contrary to this the world’s ultimate goal is self-dependence. Words such as: independence, self sufficiency, self-determination, sovereignty, self governance, self-supporting are frequently heard in our culture. They are the modern day God of Baal-zebub which Ahaz was tempted to seek. Pride and arrogance are the results of worshipping such gods.
Humility and submission are the key virtues of those who serve the Lord. The only lesson Jesus asked his followers to learn from him was his humility and meekness.
…Learn of me: for I am meek and lowly in my heart… Matthew 11:29
God is attracted to prayers of people of such humility to prove His power and strength.
For thus says the High and Lofty one who inhabits eternity, whose name is holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, with him who has a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones”. Isaiah 57:15
Priority of prayer
Paul writing to Timothy states that prayer should be “First of all” in the ministry of the church.
I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men” 1 Timothy 2:1
Prayer must be first. Not the last or in between; it must be seen as the priority of every Pastor. To sacrifice prayer in order to depend on human methods will eventually cause us to fail.
Prayer protects us from the curse of falling into self dependence. Many don’t heed the warning that trusting in man will eventually bring a curse on us.
Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD. Jeremiah 17:5
If we trust men of influence, wealth and power, and depend on them to help us, it will eventually take our heart away from God. This is why we must keep prayer as a priority in our lives.
A higher level of authority
There is a level of authority in prayer which a church exercises over a nation and its leaders which is still to be discovered. Paul says that this authority in prayer gives them power to pray for kings and not just to beg from kings. What a great privilege? Men of prayer are men of authority who can exercise such power over nations.
John Knox was a great protestant reformer known for his fervent prayer life who once cried out to God: “Give me Scotland or I die”. Such prayer and intercession turned the events of a nation that the Mary Queen of Scots is reputed have said: “I fear the prayers of John Knox than all the assembled armies of Europe.” His prayer literally changed the course of history. God has called us to pray as a church to shape the history of our nation.
The prayer movement
Every church must develop a culture of dependence in God through prayer where we release authority over the rulers of the nation. We must know that prayer is not one of the ways of living but it is the only way for us. We can easily let our guard down by living a life of self-dependence which can lead to prayerlessness.
The Pastor’s prayer life and example is vital for mobilizing prayer in the church. The corporate prayer power of the church is released only by the secret place of prayer of the Pastor. Even greater, the corporate prayer of all the intercessors in a nation can bring national revival and renewal.Original article by Rev. Michael Dissanayake – General Superintendent, Assemblies of God of Ceylon. Image: stock.xchng