It is the one simple act that I have yet to see performed in any church in America which I have visited or attended. However, the practice is one that could change the shape and destiny of the western church.
I wonder what would happen if we were to gather for a full day, simply pray, listen to God’s Spirit, and then act on the instructions the Spirit tells us at that moment?
I am sure there are gatherings of people who do such things. But not as a wide-scale practice. But,
the early gathering of disciples seemed to have a much cleared understanding of the impact of the Holy Spirit in their lives. To them, life without communion with the Spirit was in really death. Barnabas, Paul and the gathering at Antioch knew decisions were to be made with the guidance of God’s Spirit. That’s precisely why they spent quite a bit of time listening for guidance before hitting the road to Cyprus and other wonderful parts of the Mediterranean.
And we are not talking about a 5-minute prayer at the church altar. These men, women and children spent a considerable time listening for the voice of the Spirit.
God has blessed me to be able to travel to many parts of Asia to conduct church leadership seminars and conferences. It is there where I have seen a great commitment to listening to the Spirit’s guidance in fantastic ways. Part of it may be cultural: people in Asia seem to be much more patient than we are in the West. But God is rewarding that patience with an outpouring of his Spirit that rivals anything I have seen in my own country. And these revelations are genuine words from God and not some questionable statement we might hear from some televangelist.
Imagine what could happen to our churches if we were to spend long periods of time in prayer, simply listening for God to speak to us. I wonder how many lives would be changed, how many marriages would be reconciled, and how many churches would grow. In a nation of church gimmicks and fads, perhaps the real ingredient lacking is a willing ear to hear and follow what the Master is saying.
I plan to write much more about this topic. However, in the meantime, I challenge you to take some time and just sit and listen to the Spirit speak to you. Write the words down. Time will tell if it is from God. A disciple with the right heart and attitude, however, will not have to worry if it is from our Master.
After all, “God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”