Unlocking the Gateway...
If we stop to think of the many places we are denied access to, the countless personalities we will never get to meet, it just makes it all the more astonishing that the creator of the universe, the God of all might and power invites us to personally enter into His presence and spend time with Him. In James 4:8 He says, "come near to me and I will come near to you." What an invitation! It's not one that we should ever take for granted or treat lightly.
Such an audience is not ours by right. It's only there because of unfathomable grace and the finished work of Jesus on the cross. The Bible says He opened up a new and living way right into the inner courts of heaven on our behalf. How many times have we tried to contact or get a response from someone only to discover they were unavailable, otherwise engaged or unreachable? And yet the eternal God is accessible to us individually 24/7 from any geographical or emotional space we find ourselves in. That fact should always bring with it a sense of wonder...awe...amazement! and these in turn lead to worship and worship is the launch pad for prayer.
Hosea 10:12 says, "Break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek The Lord until He comes to rain righteousness on you". Fallow ground is ground that used to be productive but now lies waste and has become hard. It needs to be broken up in order to receive seed and moisture and become productive again. Our hearts are like fallow ground. How quickly they get captivated with other things and become unresponsive to God and His presence. We regularly need to go to work on them, ploughing them up, exposing them to God.
Like a sluggish computer we need to clean up, verify and reboot regularly! There are several keys to doing this:
- Honest examination and confession of sin.
- Repentance i.e. turning away from everything displeasing to God.
- Surrender to His rule, purposes and call in our lives.
- Putting things right with other Christians we have differences with.
- Fasting and prayer.
Now, all of these things sound difficult and painful but these disciplines are the gateway to unhindered fellowship with God and powerful prayer that is effective in connecting Heaven with Earth.
Remember fasting is not a substitute for obedience or a mechanism for twisting the arm of a stingy God who is reluctant to bless. Believe it or not the bible makes it clear He is more willing to give than we are to receive. Fasting is forgoing food or any regular activity for a period of time and dedicating that extra time to seeking God. It is a mark of our sincerity and determination to be real with God and coupled with the other ways of opening our hearts to God can have powerful results.
Prayer is the most untapped resource known to man. It links us to Gods power and can bring a shift in the spiritual atmosphere over individual lives, gatherings, villages, towns, cities, countries, nations and continents. God remains the same from generation to generation and His promises are true throughout all ages. He's waiting for His church in the west to once again believe Him and get serious. He's waiting for you as a believer to partner with Him in the amazing work of bringing His will to pass on earth.
Remember, God is ready, willing and able. The question is are we?