First the Spiritual then Natural
Jesus said, “My house shall be called a house of prayer,” not a house of good works. We are a people created for good works. But, good works and serving is just what we do to gather the harvest and take care of the harvest once we have reaped it.
When we think of building the church we often think in terms of witnessing and serving first…that is, we have a propensity to move out with the natural realm first.
We, as American Christians, create a social “program oriented” gospel lacking the power that comes from prayer. We run out and start a food bank or housing shelter, etc. Many of our American churches have programs of compassion and programs of outreach to meet the needs of people. Not that these things aren’t good and not that we aren’t to do them. We just miss the importance of prayer.
- Do we pray there before we go there?
- Did we pray before we started all these ministries?
- Are these ministries really producing supernatural fruit? Or is the fruit comparable to any social welfare outreach program of good will?
I think we often times think that pray is like brillcream? …a little dab will do ya!
So we pray a quick little prayer over our Social program just before we start off on the endeavor, and we figure that’s enough. Just a quick prayer should cover it.
“Lord bless our food bank today and help us to love these people, if you so choose lead them to Jesus, Amen.”
“Lord bless our nursing home visitation today, thank you for this opportunity, amen”
“Lord bless our recovery ministry today, in Jesus name, Amen”
Jesus said good works are important. And “if you offer a cup of cold water in my name then you’ve done it unto me.” (Matthew 25) But He did not say to minister and omit prayer.
We’ve chosen to offer up ministry without much prayer and just ask Him to bless it. We are too comfortable with the Martha life and not so much with the Mary life. We’ve got a few moments to hang with Jesus, then we’d better get on with the day. After all we’ve got a lot of things to do.
Successful service is just collecting the spoils, the results of prayer.
- Church services
- Christian School
- Full services
- Meeting with the Mayor
- Cleaning and preparing the building
- Ads in the newspaper
Prayer is where the real action is.
- Prayer is where the war is won.
- Prayer is where the victory is gained.
- Prayer is where things are accomplished.
- Prayer is where the winning takes place.
We are never to put our trust in our ministry service.
- Never put our trust in a nice building.
- Never put our trust in nice clothes.
- Never put our trust in trained ushers.
- Never put our trust in a secure parking lot.
- Never put our trust in a Christian school.
- Never to put our trust in the eloquence of the sermon or the lack of eloquence
Proverbs 21: 31 The horse is prepared for the day of battle, But victory belongs to the LORD.
Psalm 147:10 He does not delight in the strength of the horse; He does not take pleasure in the legs of a man. The LORD favors those who fear Him, Those who wait for His lovingkindness.
Here in these verses, as with many such illustrations in the Word, God declares He wants us to do our part, but not until we’ve trusted in Him. It’s trusting in Him that will cause the victory to come our way.