Today, I invite you to pray for the Vertical Church Tour, as we finish loading and set out for the first of 40 events throughout North America. Pray that God would be glorified in every city as His Word is proclaimed and His Son is exalted (Ephesians 3:21).
In the book, The Power of Crying Out, Bill Gothard draws our attention to how many times in the Scripture we’re told to call to the Lord, to cry out to the Lord, to lift up our voices. It’s one of those threads woven through the Bible that, once it’s pointed out, we think, How did I miss this? And yet how often do we pray loudly, out loud? Is it true in your life that most of your prayers would be inaudible to a person standing beside you? How did we come to this musing and whispering, which are far from what the Bible portrays as prayer that God delights to answer? God is not moved by our meditative whispering and frequently invites us to cry out, to call out, lift up our voices, to pour out our hearts. In chapter 3, I told the story of making myself hoarse calling out to God in prayer, something I would not have done had circumstances not sent me in search of greater fervency. We know that “the fervent prayer of a righteous man results in much” (James 5:16), but for some reason we seem resistant to embrace the most obvious path to fervency, which is volume. Can you give a single example of fervent communication that is whispered given normal circumstances? We may quietly ask our family to exit quickly through a second-story window as the ax murderer climbs the stairs, but apart from an explanation of some kind, fervency and volume go together. In 1 Samuel 1, Hannah’s whispered prayer was an attempt to avoid the notice of Eli, the fat guy who couldn’t restrain his worthless sons and ran a place of worship so delinquent that his first assumption about a woman praying quietly was that she was drunk. Apart from a similar circumstance, mind-only praying and whispered praying are to be the exceptions and not as they have become: the rule or norm.
I realize that the way God wired you may not easily lend itself to volume or intensity in prayer. You may not be called to lead multitudes to boldly “draw near to the throne of grace” (Hebrews 4:16), but that doesn’t mean you can’t max out your own capacity for fervency. What we see of praying and prayer teaching in the Bible can’t be God’s way of saying, “Whisper something to Me in passing; I know you’re busy. Just throw a couple of thoughts My direction, a couple of quick requests over your shoulder while you’re on your way to the grocery store. That’s all I desire.” Instead, I wonder if God’s word on prayer isn’t summarized “How much does this matter to you? If you would turn your intensity dial to full, I would like to meet you at the place where you express your heart fully.”
• Isaiah 40:9 says, “Lift up your voice with strength…lift it up, fear not.”
• Psalm 116:1 reports, “I love the LORD, because he has heard my voice.”
• Romans 8:15 teaches, “You have received the Spirit…by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’”
Something wonderful happens in the heart of God when His children get themselves out on a limb and say from the depth of their souls, “God, if it’s not You, it’s nothing. We don’t have another plan. We don’t have another hope. All our eggs are in Your basket; there is no plan B. We believe this is Your will as revealed in Your Word, and we are staying right here until You act on our behalf.” Weak praying has no place in Vertical Church.
Excerpted from Vertical Church.
FG_AUTHORS: James MacDonald