When you’re handed the shovel

Something that I love to do is to pray for people. If you read my last blog post, you’ll know I don’t spend as much time doing this as I’d like to or should, but nevertheless, I do love to pray. Like a lot of Christians, I have a prayer “hit list”in the back of my current notebook which I use as an aide memoire to guide my intercessory prayers.

OK, disclaimer alert: I am speaking specifically of my own situation here. However, I think that sometimes I use prayer as something of a spiritual drone pilot – as a way of entering the battle, but from a safe distance. A way of asking God to do things for my friends and colleagues, but without actually having to tell them about it. OK, maybe I might say a hurried “Hey, I’ll pray about *insert life issue here* for you.” but that’s about all.

I saw Robby Dawkins speak to a packed Impact venue at New Wine last night and, on the subject of how I pray, he challenged me greatly. You see, we long to see revivals in our communities, our homes, cities, towns and workplaces, and so lots of us spend time together praying that God would show up there and break out into people’s lives. Now this corporate prater is essential – it’s our spiritual engine room – but perhaps some of us are called to take more of a risk in our ministries to those around us?

Jesus taught by using stories and he showed God’s love to people by demonstrations of healing and other practical miracles. Why should it be any different for believers now? Those of us (and this means all of us) who have been commissioned to go and make disciples of all believers?

Jesus said that if we have faith the size of a mustard seed then we would be able to move a mountain. The thing is though, as someone wiser than me once wrote, when you ask God to move a mountain then sometimes he hands you a shovel! When we ask what he is going to do about a particular situation, God asks us the same question back!

So maybe for the saving love and power of Christ to become the cornerstone of more people’s lives, we actually have to show it to them up close and personal? Perhaps instead of only telling that friend who suffers with a bad back that you’re praying for them, we could actually offer to lay hands on them and heal them? We could tell them that we serve a God who knows them, loves them and by his power working through us, wants to heal them. There are no guarantees that it will work of course, we are called to rely on faith not certainty and even Jesus himself had to have more than one go sometimes. But in Robby Dawkins’ words, faith is spelled R.I.S.K. and God will honour our efforts when we step out in his name.

As a former martial artist, I loved that Robby described the works of healing taking place last night as the “hand to hand combat” of this spiritual war. Some things can’t be done from a distance, and I think it was God’s way of telling me that we won’t win this war by remote control and that I need to roll up my sleeves and to get closer to the action.

Daunted? I most certainly am! But at the end of my life, when I’m called to give account, I want to look back and know that I served God to the best of my ability in the ways he asked of me.

That, shovelful by shovelful, I did my bit to move the mountain.

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