I have been a christian for the majority of my life. Lots of ups and downs, but I am still here. The "requirements" of the Christian walk have always been a challenge for me. Prayer, reading the word, etc. As a stay-at-home mom many of these things can be really difficult. Then comes the feeling that you just really aren't doing much of anything for God because you're a mom.
Years ago my family became involved with the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, MO. It is a 24/7 house of worship and prayer. I remember when I first started learning about it and I am like, seriously, PRAYING 24/7. That has to be really tough. I have made many trips there over the years and the MAIN thing I always come away with is a desire to KNOW God more.
I've been to many conferences and visited amazing ministries throughout my life, all very feel-good events, encouraging you to go change the world! Save the lost! Bring the masses to Jesus! All excellent messages but we often come home, the hype is gone and we are left with real life. Sharing the message of Jesus seems so intimidating when face to face with reality, and then we feel bad because we haven't converted our entire neighborhood.
But do we have it completely backwards? Is it possible that we put all our energy into "doing" all these cool things for Jesus and forget that the first commandment is simply to love God. Are we afraid to share Jesus because we aren't spending time with Him, praying his Word, getting into His heart, which is in His Word? Have we even tried to listen to the heart of the Bridegroom Jesus to learn what He desires?
It is hard to do the works of Jesus when we are not spending intimate time with Jesus. This is why he FIRST commands us to love Him. Not save the masses, building huge churches or ministries. But here is the cool part. As we spend time in His Word and in prayer and fasting, our capacity to love Him and others is increased. We begin to understand His heart and how He loves us and the lost. From this amazing love that we begin to cultivate and the power of His Spirit we become unafraid to share His message, because we cannot help but love the way He loves.
They say at IHOP that out of 24/7 worship and prayer will come 24/7 acts of justice. And it has happened! The lost are coming to Jesus, people are being healed, the orphans are being adopted, those trapped in the sex trade are being made free. These are just a few of the things that have come out of a lifestyle of prayer and fasting and a focus on intimacy with Jesus.
So this week let our prayer be that God would increase our capacity to love Him. Increase our passion for Him and His Word. Let it be said of us that we walked leaning on our Beloved.
Song of Sol 8:6,7
Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm; for love is as strong as death, jealousy as cruel as the grave; its flames are flames of fire, a most vehement flame.
Many waters cannot quench love, nor can the floods drown it. If a man would give for love all the wealth of his house, it would be utterly despised.