after those days, says the Lord:
I will put my laws upon their heart,
and on their mind I will write them,’ (Jeremiah 31:33)
I will remember no more.’ (Jer. 31:34)
I am a talker. I actually have a small level of what I would go so far as to call anxiety when I fear not getting out of my mouth the finished product of what is in my head in conversation. But it hit me today that there are crucial moments, such as when a surgeon yells out a life-saving instruction, when a military leader says “go” or “fire,” or when a parent yells “STOP!” to a child walking obliviously into the trajectory of an oncoming vehicle. In fact, there are crucial hours, a whole series of moments such as an entire surgery or the hours Houston spends communicating to astronauts during a crisis oriented shuttle mission. During these crucial moments brave people give up sleep, emotional impulses, and instinctive preferences in order to keep going in a life-saving or even world-changing way.
But this is not my normal daily experience. Many times throughout my day I desire to operate beyond limitations – some natural and some that should be self-imposed – in order to waste energy on what is not a crucial moment.
I read a quote on Twitter the other night by E. Stanley Jones (1884–1973), the great 20th century Methodist missionary to India. It read as follows:
@E_StanleyJones “Prayer is commission. Out of the quietness with God, power is generated that turns the spiritual machinery of the world.”
As a missionary of the gospel of Jesus, Jones had a clear understanding that the activity of God in the world flowed out the nature of God being in mission to save the world. Thus, the life of the child of God and disciple of Jesus is to flow out of union with this missionary God. So, as Jones states, prayer becomes commission. Communing with God leads to being commissioned by God. As we dwell in the presence of God seeking His heart, His mind, and His will, we end up encountering the One who is redeeming us and those around us and relentlessly pursuing the lost sheep (Matthew 18:12-14). And out of this quiet dwelling in God and with God, we yield ourselves to the power of His Spirit to move through and among us in such a way that “the spiritual machinery of the world” is turned. Hallelujah! Prayer leads to action – both by God and ourselves.
I am challenged by the words of this missionary saint that we have but one thing to do in order to shake the spiritual realm with the power of the divine Creator and Savior of the world – pray. And out of this seemingly passive action, all other actions of eternal consequence find their purpose and motivation.
Let us pray.