“‘My food,’ said Jesus, ‘is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work’” (John 4:34).
In a defining season of my life God taught me how to hear Him and He immediately put me to work organizing prayer on my seminary campus. Before twelve months were finished I had come to know God as my provider, my deliverer, my healer, my Father, and He assigned me to be a pastor. For the first time I experienced the joy and intimacy with God that I had longed for as I began to do the will of God. In subsequent years I would discover the waning or deepening of intimacy with God was connected to the rising and falling of my passion and obedience to “do His will . . . and finish His work.” (Jn. 4:34). I discovered two great threats to intimacy exist:
- A heart that cools in its passion to serve God and see His kingdom come. Too often our heart turns the leaves of its affections toward the sunshine of lesser things. Comfort and ease may beckon us; perhaps the siren call of financial security entices us, or status and prestige set up stumbling blocks in our paths. When this happens, we increasingly begin making decisions in our own favor instead of His. We reduce the amount of time and energy in seeking His kingdom. This begins to create a wall of separation. His voice will become faint, His presence elusive, His guidance muddy.
- Busyness in doing many good things, but not the non-negotiable things required to fulfill our work. Our heart may not cool, in fact, it may be precisely because we are so desirous to serve that we add on one responsibility after another. We may see good causes and try to respond; however, God did not call us to do everything, only what He assigned us. Jesus never let the needs of the people dictate His direction. He was not called to meet needs, but to do the will of His Father. We can lose a close connection with God when we become so busy doing good things that fulfilling our assignment suffers.
Beware of a prayer life that does not seek first the kingdom but merely asks good things for others. Seek instead a heart whose entire existence burns with passion to do His will. Then roll up your sleeves, get to work, and enjoy an intimate relationship with God!
Righteous Father, You created me for a purpose, and my heart’s desire is to fulfill what You have called me to do. I struggle with being pulled in many directions because of all the needs around me, and can easily be caught up in busyness or distractions! Don’t let me be deluded by the comfortable, or satisfied with less than Your best! Draw my heart into the depths of the kingdom of now for the sake of the kingdom to come. May I bring You honor and glory in the midst of what You have entrusted to me!
–Adapted from Giving Ourselves to Prayer: An Acts 6:4 Primer for Ministry (Chapter 36, Intimacy with God through Prayer by John Franklin). This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.
Give heartfelt praise to God as Jehovah-raah, “the Lord my shepherd.” Thank God for leading you into quiet places and restoring your soul as you meet him daily in prayer. Confess those times when you have resisted the discipline and guidance of his shepherd’s crook. Commit yourself to becoming so familiar with the Lord’s voice that you will follow him without hesitation or fear (Jn. 10:3-5). Ask God to give you a shepherd’s heart toward others.
Pray that the unsaved people you know will come to meet and love their Savior, who wants them to “have life, and have it to the full” (Jn. 10:10).
–Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend.