If God hasn’t changed his mind about responding in surprising ways when his people seek him, then we have every reason to be joyfully expectant around Kossuth these days. As we walk through our 4-day season of fasting and prayer, we are encouraging and expecting each other to invest special and unusual effort in seeking the Lord.
Seeing the big picture can be a huge encouragement to press on and learn new ways of engaging with God and other believers. By “bigger picture” things I mean those results, actions, movements, and breakthroughs that God causes as a result of seeking him with seriousness. While at times these are not easily or quickly seen from our individual perspectives, they are what most of us would say we want or hunger for more than anything else. Here are five encouraging examples of what God does as a result of his people seeking hard after him in believing prayer. Let them spur you on in these days of intentional and committed prayer.
God gives comfort and clarity to his people. Acts 1:12-14 describes a group of people who were dealing with the shock of their Lord being crucified, coming back to life, and leaving them. In addition one member of their group had made a horrible mistake that ended with taking his own life. More than a bit confused and reeling from unexpected life-altering events, they prayed with devotion. The story of the gospel advancing in power throughout the world was one result of their devotion to prayer.
God restores broken relationships. Jesus taught us that one result of spending devoted time with God is that we may be reminded of unresolved tensions with other believers (Matt. 5:21-26). How cool it would be in the days ahead to hear stories of grace-filled and humble reconciliation that leads to restored expressions of love among us!
God gives specific and fruitful guidance. Acts 13:1-3 describes a healthy church perhaps asking the question, “Where do we go from here?” and making the statement, “We want to know and follow God more than anything.” This church was experiencing God’s favor in conversions and baptisms but was aggressively seeking whatever God had for them next. As a result of their corporate prayer and fasting, God made it clear to them to send some of their members out as missionaries that lead to incredible gospel fruitfulness.
God encourages weary leaders and followers. Acts 14:19-23 is the bone chilling account of a time when the ministry of the gospel faced severe opposition. The Apostle Paul was stoned, dragged outside the city, and left for dead. In terms of military strategy, the forces of evil went for decapitation. Kill the leader and the followers will run. Even though Paul survived and went on to further service, the cost of following Jesus was clearly higher than ever before. One way for God’s people to find new and renewed courage is doing what the bruised and beaten Apostle did. Join other believers in fasting and prayer.
God multiplies the number of disciples. There are a number of examples both in scripture and throughout history of God stirring the hearts of the unconverted to saving faith as a result of devoted prayer. Acts 6:1-7 is one example of how protecting and practicing the centrality of prayer results in the increase of new disciples to the church.
I am praying along with the elders and leadership team that these days of devoted prayer both individually and with others will yield joyful fruit of increased joy, faith and hope. So as Abraham (the one married to Kari, not Sarah and ... umm a few others) said ... have a blast.
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you.
[Click here to learn more about the season of fasting and prayer and access the daily prayer guide.]