“Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honour and power” Revelation 4:11 (NASB)
A couple of questions have challenged me recently. “If God promised me two things: (1) I would go to heaven when I die, and (2) He will never use me in ministry again – would I still pray?”
I’ll answer the second question first. The second question pierced my heart because I had always believed God had called me to a life of full-time ministry and yet for the last three and half- years I have not been in public ministry. As I have written in earlier blogs my public ministry was taken away from me.
Let me share a little of what happened. The ministry that was taken away was a call to go into an overseas mission field. We had passed all the medicals. Accommodation, schooling, etc had all be arranged for our family, and there was high expectation within the leaders of the country of where we were going to. We had looked forward to the announcement being made public and then the day before it was to be announced it was all taken away and the door to the mission field was shut. At the same time ministry opportunities within our denomination, which had been part of our entire lives, also shut to all ministry. Within a month there was nothing left and so we walked away from full-time ministry. The denomination leaders refused to meet or provide an explanation. The doors have remained shut and is till shut to this day.
Yet returning to the question above, I find my answer to the question today being the same as I how responded immediately after our public ministry was taken away.
Graciously, God had taught me all along in my prayer journey that the only enduring motive is that God is worthy to be sought. This has been my passion and pursuit from the moment He touched my life many years ago and gave me the invitation to know Him and become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him.
There was never a time in this current season when I have not felt like praying every day. In fact, for the first year when we were out of ministry we were also unable to get work and so the pursuit of God became my focus. During that whole year I never was anxious, and people close to us were surprised at how at peace we were, despite not being able to find work. We lived by faith for over 12 months. Was it hard, absolutely! Yet I never found myself asking the “what if” question. We were able to walk away and through God’s providential leading never once have needed to look back.
My prayers times were energised. There were very few answers to prayer, still, God was worthy to be sought. I chased Him hard. I just wanted to be in His presence and enjoy the fellowship with Him.
I point this out because I learned a new lesson on the eternal nature of prayer. I prayed because God is worthy, and the reciprocal side of the coin is that I am needy. At the heart of my prayer was the realisation that I was so unworthy to be in His presence and yet He was inviting me to seek His face. Here I am knowing that I can’t do it on my own and I need Him more than ever before. These two motivational elements are so beautifully portrayed in Psalm 40, ‘Let all those who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; Let such as love Your salvation say continually, “The Lord be magnified!” But I am poor and needy; Yet the Lord thinks upon me. You are my help and my deliverer; Do not delay, O my God’ Psalm 40:16-17 (NKJV).
It was with these and other promises from His Word that I continued to pray with passion and purpose.
In answer to the first question above, I find it easier to respond. I know that I am going to heaven through the promises in God’s Word that all who call upon the Lord will be saved. While for many salvation may be a time and place experience, for me my responsibility as His follower does not end there. It is a daily connection with my best friend and shepherd (Psalm 23:1 TPT). I do not take my salvation for granted and so like Paul’s word to the Philippians, ‘work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.’ (Philippians 2:12-13 NKJV).
Our God is worthy of all praise!