God Won’t Break In!
This past summer I attended a denomination’s convention. During one of the business sessions, there was an “open mic time” for people to offer their thoughts, suggestions, etc. to the leadership. An interesting thing started to happen. Everyone who spoke shared a common concern about the need for repentance and revival in the denomination.
People started sensing a divine moment. In fact, one gentleman went out to gather people who were milling around the ministry booths next door so they could be a part of what was stirring. An announcement came that a late-morning tellers’ meeting was cancelled so that participants could stay on the convention floor.
At one point, the denomination’s president approached the moderating secretary to ask if he could address the convention. He was given the microphone and the opportunity to encourage those gathered to “not miss the moment of what God was doing.” He said he had asked Fred (one of the denomination’s prayer leaders) to lead them in a time of prayer—which everyone assumed would happen immediately. There was silence, but no one emerged to lead them.
Next, the secretary pointed out there were still people at the microphones stationed throughout the convention floor, and they would start letting them speak again. The first man spoke up, saying that he hated to break the spirit of the moment—but then he did. He challenged the group not to drop a statement against drinking from a proposed document.
After that, the secretary cut off other opportunities for people to speak. The meeting moved ahead with the planned business that included an interview with presidential candidates up for election later in the afternoon.
The moment was gone. I was next to the wife of a leader in the denomination. She turned to me and said in a sad, concerned voice: “What just happened?” Indeed! What did just happen?
To the credit of the leadership, they offered a prayer time for revival an hour or so later, led by the prayer leader. Several hundred people (out of 2,000) gave up their lunches and stayed to pray. I certainly understand it would have been a logistical nightmare if the leaders had gone straight into a prayer time and cancelled the number of paid-for luncheons that were already scheduled.
But this is exactly what keeps us from revival in so many circles. We stop God from breaking in because we cannot give up our agendas. Churches schedule services down to the minute, knowing they need to “clear the parking lot for the next service.” It demonstrates how God is limited to moving according to our time.
I need to confess that I, too, forewent the prayer meeting (at least some of it) to go to a college alumni luncheon where my younger brother was being honored as “alumnus of the year.” I returned to the prayer meeting as soon as David received the award, but still—I made my choice. Somehow, we must surrender this Western flaw of controlling the schedule if we want to see God come in revival. It is a choice.
–Jonathan Graf is the publisher of Prayer Connect magazine. To subscribe, click here: