Friday, June 11, 2004

My New Prayer

“Lord, make yourself known…”  That is my new prayer, both for myself and everyone else.  I pray this for myself:  “Lord, make yourself known to me.”  I pray this for others:  “Lord, make yourself known to my wife.”  “Lord, make yourself known to my son.”  You get the point.  When I think of someone who needs prayer, this is my new prayer for them, “Lord, make yourself known to them.”

Lord, Make Yourself Known

My new prayer stems from a thought I had while reading in Isaiah chapter 19.  A prophecy is spoken concerning Egypt, that the time would come when “the Lord will make himself known to the Egyptians…”  I thought, “Man, I don’t want to wait for some prophetic or even apocalyptic point in time.  I want the Lord to make himself known to me now.”  

Wouldn’t we all be better off if the Lord revealed himself to us in greater and clearer ways?  Perhaps all that’s lacking is our desire.  Perhaps if we simply asked him to, he would, indeed, make himself increasingly more known to us.

I have been applying this prayer to everyone lately.  “Lord, make yourself known to our President.”  “Lord, make yourself known to the husbands and fathers around the world.”  Again, you get the point.

Worship the Lord

“They will worship…”  Isaiah writes that as the Lord would make himself known to the Egyptians, they would be drawn to worship him.  What other response might there be, anyway?  When God reveals himself - when we see him more for who he really is – our core being wants to bow before him and worship him.  This is one powerful result of praying this simple prayer, “Lord, make yourself known to me.”

Make Vows to the Lord, and Keep Them

The prophet saw this in the Egyptians’ future, that they would make vows to the Lord, and keep them.  It doesn’t say what those specific vows would be, just that they would make them, and keep them.  

As I ponder this, I think that we are not prone to make vows unless we must.  When was the last time you voluntarily promised something without being pressed or even asked?  When was the last time you made a vow to the Lord?  

To be honest, I’m a bit scared to make vows to the Lord.  It’s not something I want to mess around with, for fear of not fulfilling my commitment.  And yet I loathe making room for my weakness.  What I want to do is make a giant vow to the Lord, then do whatever it takes to fulfill it.  

But for now, my vow is simple.  I commit to keep praying, “Lord, make yourself known to us.”

Thursday, June 03, 2004

What Does God Want?

“What does God want?”

The Bible reveals the heart of God, and I found some key points in the opening chapter of the book of Isaiah.

“Stop bringing meaningless offerings.”

The people were bringing their appropriate offerings to God, but they were fooling themselves into thinking this pleased God.  It did not.  Why not?  Doesn’t He desire, and even command us to bring offerings?  Yes.  But our offerings must flow out of our righteousness, out of our growing walk with the Lord.  Their offerings did not.  So this is the heart of God:  Offerings are meaningless to Him if we give them alone, without giving Him our own heart first.

What does God want?  Our hearts.  Our lives.  The complete surrender of our being to His Lordship.

“Stop doing wrong.”

This sounds simple enough, but what is “wrong”?  Right and wrong are defined by God and God alone.  If He says something is wrong, we must not do it.  We sometimes think of wrong as illegal, which means that if it’s legal, it’s O.K.  Not necessarily.  We need to define wrong exactly the way God does.

What does God want?  He wants us to stop doing what He says is wrong to do.

“Learn to do right.”

I like the point that we must “learn” to do right.  How do we learn something like golf?  We practice it.  We read about it.  We talk about it with others.  We even go to a teacher for help.  Likewise, how do we “learn to do right”?  We practice it.  We read about it.  We talk about it with others.  We even go to a teacher for help.  A lot of times, doing right just doesn’t seem to come naturally for us.  So we must work at learning to do right.

What does God want?  He wants us to go out of our way to educate ourselves in the art of doing what is right.

“Encourage the Oppressed”

How much do we go out of our way to encourage people?  I hear too much about people in depression and people on medication.  I think a better cure would be for us to encourage one another more.  One preacher said, “This is not a bump in the road, this is a bumpy road.”  With all the blows life has a way of dealing, we need to be there for each other.  We all know that trials are much simpler if someone is going through it with you.  

What does God want?  He wants us to find someone that’s in a rough spot and bring them some encouragement.

I’ll stop here, but I recommend you continue this study on your own by reading Isaiah chapters one through five and look for the heart of God.