And will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the Word.
Acts 6:4 (NIV)
What grabs your attention? A sale at your favorite store? An headline splashing across the screen? A juicy piece of gossip?
We are constantly at war with things swaying us to turn our eyes and our focus. Our focus away from the present, the important and necessary. Our enemy has a barrage of weapons he uses to distract us – bells and whistles, if you will.
Some days it’s just one thing that causes us to turn our eyes. Other days, we fight it, but then, eventually give in because we grow weary and tired. Or, what distracted us yesterday does not distract us today.
Our attention seems to be a battleground for time management. There is the tyranny of the urgent, the to-do list and the day dreaming moments. We can get so wrapped up in stuff that we lose focus on what is really important.
And what is really important?
Salvation. Pleasing God.
Yes, our salvation and the salvation of others. Are we working out our salvation with fear and trembling? Do we consistently put into our walk with Christ what it takes to keep us current with Him? Do I read Scripture, study it and even meditate on it? Do I pray? Do I seize opportunities to share the gospel or pray with others?
Living a life for Christ pleases God. When we give of ourselves to Him, daily dying to our own pleasures and time, we are open to God directing our lives. We please Him by submitting to His will and not our own. We please Him by giving of our time, talent and treasure. We please Him by saying “Yes” to Him and “No” to ourselves.
It is here we can devote ourselves to prayer and the ministry of the Word. Our attention is full-stop resting on our Commanding officer and we can go forward in His service.
Prayer is a privilege. Yes, it is an wonderful opportunity to spend time with the Father and not only pray for our needs, but for the needs of others. Something happens when we enter the throne room of God. We find grace and receive mercy we long for. We linger. We pause. We rest. We find comfort and solace. We experience the peace of God. And it is good.
Ministry of the Word is sublime. It is as if the book of Acts comes alive. Yes, we can be spent and poured out, but the rewards are incredible. Seeing people come to a saving knowledge of faith is wonderful. Watching God work in and around us moves us to tears. Seeing walls fall down before our eyes, like the walls of Jericho, compels us to want to do more.
Prayers are answered, lives are changed, the impossible suddenly becomes possible. True abundant life is happening, and it is happening with your own life. It is remarkable.
What once seemed so important, pales in comparison to the ministry of the Word. Lives are being transformed – your life. You are a new creation.
I could say I saw all this while on the mission field years ago, but that’s just it. It was years ago. God wants our lives to be current. He has so much in store for us now – we just need to ask Him. And obey when He begins to reveal it.
There was a time in my life when my children were very young, we were homeschooling and life was pretty much centered around our home - as is typical with young children. I felt the Lord prompt me to ask for ways to share the gospel with others – my role at home had not changed, but I knew there was more He was asking me to do. A stepping out of my comfort zone without having to leave my home.
I boldly stated to God that if He sent me people, I would share.
He did. And He hasn’t stopped.
More ministry happens from the confines of my home than I ever thought possible. People come to my home – and they are not necessarily invited. You know, delivery drivers, mailmen and mailwomen, neighbors dropping in to borrow or return wayward mail. Or how about phone calls? The doctor’s office with a reminder? Or the sales pitch?
Even when out and about town, there are opportunities to share. In line at a store, a restaurant or even the gas station.
God has given me incredible boldness to share when I NEVER thought I would share. Ever. How is it possible? It starts by listening.
My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry. James 1:19 (NIV)
Asking simple questions, then listening to the responses. Picking up clues of fears, illnesses, brokenness, heartaches. These are all points of entry with prayer. I like to ask if I can pray for people. Sometimes it’s easier than others, I will admit. But for the most part, it rolls off pretty easily.
And so far, one hundred percent (yes, 100%) of those I ask to pray for, say, “YES!” Even if they do not openly share the same faith, people need prayer. And are touched when I ask.
The key is the next step – coming back and asking how the situation changed, was answered, or resolved. This leads, usually to further conversations, especially if that person is in your life more than a passing moment. Even in a fleeting moment, an individual can detect your genuineness and feel the love of God by your concern and knowing you are praying for him/her.
Are you willing to give your attention to prayer and the ministry of the Word? Are you willing to ask God to send the parade of people needing prayer and His Truth?
Oh Father, You indeed are worthy of my attention. And the things of Your kingdom really do matter to me. I want to devote myself to prayer. I want to pray for others. I count it a privilege to enter Your throne room with praise on my lips and concerns on my heart. I want to be involved in the ministry of the Word and it starts with one simple step – the step of obedience. Thank You for making me willing. In the Name of Your Son, Jesus. AMEN