If you want to change the world, pick up your pen and write. – Martin Luther
In October, it will be 500 years since Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the Church doors. It will be 500 years since he and others sparked a revolution we call the Protestant Reformation.
I think this statement alone could be the thesis statement of the Reformation. They changed the world with pens rather than swords. (There were also swords, but that’s a post for another day) They may have changed the world with pens, but they also changed the world through prayer.
Luther wasn’t alone in his commitment to prayer. John Wesley said, “Prayer is the greater good” and “Prayer is action”.
I once heard someone ask, “But what will you do once you get up off your knees”?
The real problem is how few Christians ever pray. The Church today does much of its business (action) with very little consultation of God. I know this because I have been guilty. My church has been guilty.
Two months ago I hit a wall or a spiritual low or a total dry spell. Call it how you see it, but it had been a long time coming and I decided I should get serious about prayer. It would probably be more accurate to say God got serious with me about prayer.
I’ve had low points in ministry before, but this was different. At the time I couldn’t articulate the problem. God, however, was very articulate. I had become hard. Sometimes in ministry, we get weary. Sometimes we get defeated. Sometimes we get depressed. Sometimes we get overwhelmed by fear of men. And sometimes we get hard.
Hard is tricky to detect because, in the early stages, it looks a little pious. You’re critical but in a righteous way. You tell yourself that Jesus criticized certain people too. I mean he called out those religious folks and set them straight. But after awhile your pious criticism eventually becomes cynicism. And sarcasm. And eventually outright bitterness.
It leads you to question what you believe, what you preach, what you read, and who you are. You tell yourself you are deconstructing in order to reconstruct but in the end, it’s known by its original name…hardness of heart.
I’m here to tell you that this one only comes out with prayer and fasting.
I didn’t think I would write this post until my time with God this morning. I was saying how I didn’t want our two-month challenge to end, how I was willing to accept His one year challenge, and how I wish people knew that this was the true path to peace.
And God said, “You could pick up your pen and change the world”.
Well, I don’t know if this post will change the world. But it might change someone’s world. I hope it motivates one soul to recognize their need to dive deeper with God.
Two months ago I asked God for a word. I wanted a miracle; a resurrection of faith and hope. But he didn’t give me what I wanted. Instead, God gave me what I needed; a challenge. He asked me to give Him something.
God asked for the first two hours of my day for two months. Even more specifically, He asked me to give Him 6:00 – 8:00 AM for sixty days.
At the time of this post, I have five days to go. I hope I’m not premature. I did not complete the challenge perfectly. Although there were a couple days that I messed up the “first thing” part, I have faithfully given Him two (or more) hours of every day in prayer and scripture. There has been so much that has happened in two months. Too much to share in one post. So here are the highlights:
God dug up the hard ground of my soul and removed a lot of rocks and thorns.
God brought me to an honest look at my failings through confession and the giving and receiving of forgiveness.
God resurrected my faith and restored my hope.
God gave me peace.
God gave me so much peace that I heard these words come out of my mouth, “I don’t want our two hours a day to end”.
You can’t buy this kind of peace. You can’t manufacture it either. It is divine peace and it is only available one way…time. Time with Jesus.
We think quality prayer time is what we seek. But it’s quantity. The amount of time is just as important, if not more so. I remember a time I felt this much peace. And it was during a season in my life when I was spending two hours a day with God.
It shouldn’t surprise us. If we tithe our money, then we should tithe our time. Ironically, when we tithe our time there seem to be more hours in the day.
Someone will tell me that I don’t have small children so I don’t understand. But it was when my children were small that I was spending two hours a day in prayer and scripture. I had to spend that much time with Him in order to accomplish all I had to do. And along the way, I forgot this biblical principle.
So I leave you with this challenge and the words of Jesus:
Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you