If God were standing up front beside a white board right now
If God were standing up front beside a white board right now, and we asked him to please write on that board what his top agenda is, what do you suppose he would put up as #1? For Andrews University? For Pioneer Memorial Church? For our world? What if you asked him to write up his top priorities for your own life? What would he write up for my life? Ever wonder what God thinks is most important around here?
John Franklin in his stirring book, And the Place Was Shaken, makes a point that I’ve continued to ruminate over these past few weeks. He writes that the secret to transformational prayer—praying that turns the world upside down, or at least right side up—is moving from our own agendas to God’s own agenda. I.e., moving from a prayer-paradigm that focuses on me-me-me, to one that focuses on God-God-God. As evidence Franklin directs our attention to the greatest prayers of the Bible—from Nehemiah 9 to Daniel 9 to II Chronicles 6 to Acts 4 to our Lord’s prayer the night of his betrayal in John 17—in all of them, note how the prayers are radically God-focused from the very outset, and how the personal agenda of the pray-er is saved until the end of the prayer. Whereas in my prayers, how often do I plunge immediately into my list of wants and needs, i.e., my personal agenda?
What would happen if when we gathered to pray together corporately, or even when you and I prayed privately, we were proactive in seeking to keep God and his revealed agenda for us front and center during our prayer time? What if the psalmist was right, that in prayer to God, we are to “enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise” (Psalm 100:4)?
I’ll be honest with you. John Franklin’s counsel regarding corporate prayer in particular is challenging me and the way we’ve always “done” prayer meeting in the past. But as I wrestle with what God must be longing for for Andrews and for Pioneer, I’m burdened to bring our corporate prayer life into harmony with the way God’s people prayed long ago. If you’d like to join me this fall in seeking to know God’s mind and heart for this university in particular, I wish you would come and help me reshape our House of Prayer experience on Wednesday evenings. It may not “feel” comfortable at first, but with your help and prayer partnership, I firmly believe that together we can learn God’s agenda for this place and that our prayers can consequently be ignited as we embrace it (and Him) as our own.
Student, faculty, community—come, and let’s pray together. House of Prayer. Wednesday, 7 p.m.