Larry’s Lines. . .
By Larry Murphy, Executive Director
Standing in the Need of Prayer
There is an old song that goes, “It’s me, It’s me, It’s me, Oh, Lord, standing in the need of prayer.” Truly we are in the great need of prayer, asking for His help and not all the “experts” – professional experts or “shade tree experts.” The shade tree is West Tennessee vernacular.
I would like to ask you to consider calling your church privately to a Sacred Assembly. This may be a new term for you but it is very biblical. Sacred assemblies were times where God’s people gathered to worship Him, repent of personal and corporate sin, to truly reflect on past blessings, and anticipate their future blessings.
I know we have regular weekly worship times and fellowship with God. I am afraid that we do just as God’s people did then when they tended to depart from Him and to disobey His commands. They knew that these sacred assemblies were times to repent and renew their commitment to God.
In the book of Joel there was a great devastation on the nation. They wept, mourned, and fell into great despair. Joel asked, “Has anything like this ever happened in your days or the days of your ancestors.” (Joel 1:2) Then Joel says in chapters 1:3, 2:12, 15-16 (RSV) – “Tell your children of it, and let your children tell their children, and their children another generation. (1:3); “Yet even now,” says the Lord, return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; (2:12); Blow the trumpet in Zion; sanctify a fast; call a solemn assembly; gather the people. Sanctify the congregation; assemble the elders; gather the children, even nursing infants. Let the bridegroom leave his room, and the bride her chamber (2:15-16).”
Would you say we are in desperate times? Desperate times call for desperate measures. I believe we are in a great need for a Sacred Assembly. How many disasters, racial unrest, COVID-19, and other terrible events do we have to describe as Joel said in 1:3 – to our children and then to their children, and their children another generation.
I strongly believe the healing of our land is not dependent on “When do we get back in the building”, or “When does Sunday School start.” I do believe it is when the repentance of God’s people, His church, takes place. Our marriages, our families, our churches, our cities need healing.
We need to prepare ourselves personally first. Before we can come before a holy God, we need to right broken relationships, humble ourselves, return to Jesus, recommit ourselves to God.
God commanded Joel to consecrate the people. We do not need to rush to a prayer time thinking that thirty minutes will take care of it. We must personally prepare before we pray.
I close with this story I heard recently. When chopping a tree down it is not the first blow of the axe that falls the tree. It takes many precise blows. Your first prayer may not automatically change our world but the fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. Fervent effective prayer translated from the Greek means work, effort. Does not come easily. We must be committed to seeing God do only what He can do. So, we may have to pray and pray and pray, but God will hear our prayers.
Will you pray about praying and seeking God’s healing of our personal lives, homes, churches, nation?