Agreeing With What God Desires to do Through Us
Another part of extending our worship to God is agreeing with what he desires to do in us and through us. God uses our worship to draw others to himself. Psalm 2:8 says: “Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession.” Our lives of worship to God are beacons of light through which his gospel is revealed to others. Part of asking God for the nations involves allowing him to shine through us so that his works of righteousness in us are visible to those who observe us.
And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. . . . For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:3-6)
We need to recognize that God will use our lives of worship to draw others to himself. In our church, The Dwelling Place, about 40% of the people in attendance are refugees. People, who have escaped from countries of violence and abuse to seek refuge in Canada, have found themselves within our small church. Not everyone has a personal relationship with Jesus. Some faith commitments have been to other religions or have been completely non-existent. But as the people, called to serve in this little church, embrace the cross of Jesus Christ in their daily living, and as they give of themselves in unconditional love for others, the Holy Spirit is bringing faith, hope, love and life to people from many nations.
Asking God for his provision, his wisdom and his gifts is foundational to the beginnings and the growth of this little church. One of the things we constantly bring before God is asking him to open the hearts of the internationals living in our city. God is transforming lives, in the Victoria Hills region of Kitchener and beyond, as believers begin to ask God for the nations and live lives of worship to him. Some have demonstrated their devotion to God and the vision for reaching people in Victoria Hills by selling their homes and moving into this area so that they can live in the neighbourhood, allowing their love of Jesus to shine through their relationships. And God is bringing people to himself as they respond to the friendship, love and acceptance they are experiencing.
When our worship includes asking in accordance with God’s will and purpose, we connect with his power. The power of God then infuses our worship and prayers. And God acts. This is also where asking and corporate worship come together. As Jesus says in Matthew 18:19-20: “Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.” Sometimes he acts to motivate us with creative energies to accomplish the answer (or part of the answer). Sometimes he acts by moving through others’ lives in a way that opens them up to his work in them. Sometimes he acts miraculously. When we ask, we will receive. And the Son gives glory to the Father.
Here are some principles I’ve learned in regard to asking:
1. Ask God to prepare you to listen to his voice as you get yourself ready for worship. Asking heightens your awareness of what you are getting set to do. It helps you focus on worshipping God.
2. Ask the Holy Spirit to speak. Invite him to speak to you about those things that God wants to work in you. Invite him to reveal his visions and dreams for your life. Ask God to reveal his love for the nations and how you can be a part of showing the glory of God through your life.
3. Ask him to help you to listen. Sometimes we need help to listen as we often become distracted in our worship walk. Be willing to respond to what the Spirit is saying. Write down those visions and dreams he brings to mind, regarding your service to him, in your relationships and your areas of work. Reflect on what he is showing you and what you might do to help implement those things.
4. Regularly ask God to fulfill those visions and dreams for his honour and glory. Jesus taught the disciples a parable in Luke 18:1 (NLT) “ . . . to illustrate their need for constant prayer and to show them that they must never give up.” Be persistent. Be focused. Be tenacious! Don’t let a vision die just because it takes a long time to be fulfilled.
I remember a communion service a number of years ago when Peter Fehderau, an elderly friend of mine who has since gone to be with the Lord, stood up during a testimony time to give praise to God because a friend of his, for whom he had been praying for 25 years, had given his heart to the Lord that week. I jumped up in enthusiasm yelling, “Yes!” Talk about perseverance! That’s the tenacity and diligence Jesus was talking about. Don’t give up! Keep asking!
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