“I Will You Shall”

“Thus saith the Lord God;
I will yet for this be enquired of by the house of Israel,
to do it for them…”
Ezekiel 36:37 (KJV)

It is interesting to read what church leaders are saying about the state of the church today and how to fix it. Needs include divisions that need healing, Holy Spirit power needs to infuse believers, and so on. While I laud the efforts of these very sincere believers, I see the need from a different angle.

In Ezekiel 36:24ff we read a series of statements by Jehovah that start with the words, “I will”. Then the statement contains the words, “you shall”. So, the Holy One of Israel (Isaiah’s favourite name for God) states He will pour out a particular blessing and the covenant community shall respond with a specific holy behaviour. It sounds like a wonderful combination of the Lord’s initiative and His people’s response. What could be more delightful?

However, the initiatives by the Lord will not arrive until His people pray for the blessings to come (see above Ezekiel 36:37). When a study of revival in the history of the church is made, prayer by the Lord’s people has always preceded great movements of the Holy Spirit.

It should be noted that these powerful times of prayer were not highly organized and advertised. Rather it is spontaneous and widespread. All too often Christians try to control the moving of the Holy Spirit by making plans and programs complete with special meetings, well known speakers, subjects for the speakers to address, testimonies given, and so on. Such efforts can too easily quench the Spirit.

If you believe that the Christian community is lame and ineffective, then I suggest that you talk to the great Head of the church. Pour out your heart. Take heaven by storm. Pray without ceasing. Do not let the Lord go until He blesses you. If such spontaneous prayer warriors got busy, then we would be on the road to revival of believers and the conversion of the lost.

Prayer is the soul's sincere desire,
uttered or unexpressed;
the motion of a hidden fire
that trembles in the breast.

Prayer is the simplest form of speech
that infant lips can try,
prayer the sublimest strains that reach
the Majesty on high.

Prayer is the Christian's vital breath,
the Christian's native air,
his watchword at the gates of death:
he enters heaven with prayer.

Prayer is the contrite sinner's voice,
returning from his ways;
while angels in their songs rejoice,
and cry, 'Behold, he prays!

The saints in prayer appear as one,
in word and deed and mind;
while with the Father and the Son
sweet fellowship they find.

Nor prayer is made on earth alone:
the Holy Spirit pleads,
and Jesus on the eternal throne
for sinners intercedes.

O Thou by whom we come to God,
the Life, the Truth, the Way,
the path of prayer thyself hast trod:
Lord, teach us how to pray!

James Montgomery

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