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Saturday, June 15, 2013

Why I Walked Out Of A Prayer Meeting

Woman's feetMaybe it's because I'm an introvert or perhaps I'm simply becoming a grumpy old woman, but I keep finding myself wondering if I'm on the same page as everyone else around me ... or even in the same book.

Today I walked out of a "prayer" event which will remain nameless.

It was partly because it was just too loud and was giving me a headache. Don't these people know that God is not deaf? Do we really need to whistle and whoop like a crowd at a pop concert? And someone really should tell the guy at the front that now he has a microphone in his hand everyone can hear him perfectly well without him shouting at the top of his voice. It physically made my ears hurt and I was half way back the auditorium.

And I really do have a problem with people singing words without thinking about what they're saying. Songs addressed to one another (worship his majesty), or to ourselves (bless the Lord o my soul), were sung with eyes closed and hands raised as though we were actually singing to God. It was a blessed relief to sing the old hymn, Crown Him with Many Crowns, which concludes:

All hail, Redeemer, hail!
For thou hast died for me;
Thy praise and glory shall not fail
Throughout eternity.
 
Please don't get me wrong, I love some of the modern hymns and choruses. My problem is with people who leave their brains at the church (or convention hall) door and lose themselves in the sickly morass which passes as worship in some of these places.

See what I mean about becoming a grumpy old woman?

But the thing which disturbed me the most was the expectation that in ten minutes we could confess our own sins and those of our nation and believe that would move Britain towards revival.

The place where we stood had seen revival in 1875 when Moody and Sankey visited Britain. Of all the revivals I have read about (in Scripture and elsewhere), none have happened without many hours, days, even years of saturating prayer. Revival only ever happens when Christians become powerfully convicted by the Holy Spirit of the awfulness of their sin. That doesn't happen in ten minutes, after a somewhat feeble time of worship.

The one glimmer of light from the day was a video message from a (sadly unnamed) pastor who reminded us of 2 Chronicles 7:14, a verse which has been on my heart recently and which, I believe, is the key to the revival for which I have been praying sporadically for the past 25 years:

"If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land."

I left the event with my spirit groaning. There was no humbling of self, there was no seeking of God's face, no appeal to God's people to turn away from their sin. We are no closer to having the Lord heal our broken land.

It seemed to me to be a wasted opportunity and I am grieved and frustrated.

May God have mercy on us and show His church our spiritual poverty.
You can read more about 2 Chron 7:14 here.

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