—continued from yesterday’s QTMs . . .
What bugs you about email spam?
“Oh, man, do NOT get me started.
- It’s never about me; it’s to draw attention and money to the sender.
- It’s automatically generated, and most of the time ‘no-reply’.
- It never stops. It’s impersonal, insincere, no matter how it sounds.
I consider myself fortunate to have sat under the ministry of Wesley Duewel while in seminary. Dr. Duewel spent most of his life with the Oriental Missionary Society, proving the value of specific, personalized, focused praying. Ever wonder about the real value of praying, “And, God? Bless all the missionaries around the world”? It might leave the pray-er with a momentary sense of self-pride in praying such a caring prayer, but how on Earth can you know when that prayer’s been answered?
I’d read Dr. Duewel’s book, TOUCH THE WORLD THROUGH PRAYER. It drew my heart like a magnet to his next two, MIGHTY PREVAILING PRAYER and ABLAZE FOR GOD. Want a taste?
God does not deliberately hide His deepest truth from you. He does not reserve power in prayer for certain special occasions or prayer victories for some specially chosen favorites of His. Prayer is so vital to all of Christian life and to the advancement of Christ’s kingdom that He desires all of us to be mighty in prayer, experienced in getting prayer answers, and undismayed by the most complex or longstanding needs.
We live in the glorious “now” of God. The whole of time is God’s arena to work on behalf of and through His faithful ones. Anything God has ever done in the past, He is able to duplicate or exceed. He is forever the same in wisdom, power and love.
His overarching eternal plans are unchangeable, but in working out the details, He has ordained to work in cooperation with His praying, obeying children. He adapts His working to your prayer and obedience. While He reserves the sovereign right to work independently, His normal plan is to work in cooperation with and through the prayer and obedience of His children.
–from MIGHTY PREVAILING PRAYER, 1990
When I heard this giant veteran of the Spirit Wars was coming to the seminary to teach on prayer and praying, I made sure to sign up. Couldn’t wait. The John Wayne of intercession and faith was coming to Jackson, Mississippi!
Couldn’t wait. Don’t know for sure what I expected. God taught me another valuable lesson.
We were all in class, seated and waiting. It was past 8 o’clock. Rule: prof over 15 minutes late, class postponed. Mixed emotions. Worn out from working all night and going to classes most of the day, driving 60 miles home and back, catching sleep and food in the cracks–so study (nap) time would be welcome. Elated by the possibilities to sit under this man’s teaching. What to do?
We faced the front of the room. Door in the back opened. Expecting to hear strong, measured, heel-setting cadence of a true warrior, I figured what I actually heard was one of the office nerds coming to tell us the great, the mighty Dr. Duewel would be late. After all, what I heard was light, slightly shuffling steps. Not gauche enough to turn my head, I was smug in my ID of the office nerd.
Yup. Probably a part-time janitor, too. From the back, the guy shambling up to the front was slightly built, ears could’ve been mug handles, and hair? Let’s just say some product would be useful. Already bored, I awaited the announcement. Underwhelmed I was. Mmph. When this person opened his mouth, he spoke with a kind of lisp. I figured to myself, “The good help must’ve all been busy so they had to send hi….”
“Let’s pray . . .” Then it got quiet for about 10 long seconds. The next thing I heard was hushed weeping. When he’d gathered himself, in a broken voice he said, “O God, who am I to stand before these young men who will spend their lives delivering Your limitlessly-powerful Word to never-dying souls and teach them how to pray?”
There was much more. But even now I’m crying, remembering my shame. I never again took appearance or sound for granted when dealing with this amazingly-potent means of partnering with God.
A couple more bites of Wesley Duewel’s rich food: “Never say “impossible” when you are praying for something in the will of God. God is sovereign over nature and over people. God can act in wisdom, grace, and power until one aspect of a situation after another yields with a divine domino effect until God’s complete answer is given and His full will done. Never rule out an intervening act of God. Never doubt the possibility of a miracle.”
I remember, late in the semester, Dr. Duewel looked up and said, “I believe God does nothing except in answer to prayer.”
Think about the implications. No. I mean THINK about it. Connect the dots. Consider all those times you’ve been awakened in the middle of the night with a sense you need to pray for somebody, somewhere. You did, sleepy, confused, but obedient.
Now consider other times you’ve been driving to the mall. Headed home from work. Taking a walk. Sitting and reading or watching a Packers game. The Holy Spirit whispers a name in your ear and says, “Pray now.” Hunh? Now? Him? Why would he ever need my intercession? Her? She’s such a spiritual energy machine. Okay, Lord, just as soon as there’s a break. I’ll get right on that . . .
Since spam gets under your hide in a hurry, think how it affects God. Realize what it’s doing to your relationship with Him. He WANTS to answer your praying. He’s EAGER to speed real, personalized answers to your real needs.
Open question I asked my mirror:
I wonder how much you’ve kept God from doing for and through you because of careless, hurried, distracted, generic praying?
You can do with it what you want, and you will.
I don’t think God likes spam any better than we do.
© D. Dean Boone, October 2014