Lines get moved and boundary markers are explained away. Wrong is called right and the impure becomes normal. There is pressure to conform; to step back into the crowd and blend in. But that means losing our set-apart identity and being reflectors of the world rather than Christ’s agent of change in it. And a spiritual dial-down does more than rob us of promised fullness; it hides the great Glory intended for our page of history!
The assault on the church’s backbone isn’t new, but there is an acceleration – a ramping up of arguments and alternatives aimed at weakening the will to put Christ’s Glory first. We know that prayer is the game changer. But if we’re to honour his Glory it will mean going beyond the ‘saying prayers’ routine, and being people who pray with a different spirit.
The story of the failed advance into Canaan* is well known. Backward steps began in minds and then led to really bad choices. When Israel’s twelve spies returned from their Canaan reconnaissance, ten allowed what they saw to breed fear. Only two, Joshua and Caleb allowed exactly the same exposure to whet their appetite for an adventure with God.
So while the ten were (in their minds) already heading back to Egypt, the two were (in their minds) taking the land.
It was an impossible mission, but the two refused to step backward – although it meant losing their social platform. In fact, if God hadn’t shown up in time, the mob would been executed them on the spot. But they were ready to die rather than step back from the thing on God’s heart.
A name went onto God’s hero list. He announced of Caleb (representing the two) Caleb has a different spirit. God praised him because he wholeheartedly (at any cost) put God’s Glory first and refused to step backward into a crowd that wanted something else.
The top issue was not about taking the land; it was always about God’s Glory, and about the future Christ-Glory that the land would serve.
Pray-ers with a different spirit aren’t spiritual recluses. They are everyday people who don’t get to skip the tough choices of life. They face the sliding norms and corroding values, and they feel the pressure to conform. But their hearts belong to Another, and his Glory is too big to step back from.
They want to see his promises happen, so they ask in agreement with him. But what they pray is not divorced from the way they live. They shape their lives of difference around Christ’s Glory as the center point. Lifestyle impacts prayer authority.
There is a larger display of Christ’s Glory marked for our time, promises waiting to break through in response to prayer. Stepping backward into the crowd goes against the nature of our journey. Our next step is always forward and is seldom without pressure to step back. But for people of a different spirit the energizing passion behind the next step is: the Glory of Christ!
Here is a short exercise (a prayer campaign) that connects stillness (read the previous post) with prayer for Christ’s Glory.
Psalm 46:10. “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
The Lord first calls us to stillness in himself, and then into zeal for his Glory among the nations. From that inner stillness, and as a person with a different spirit….
- focus on a nation or community in chaos, one that has had recent news coverage
- set a time frame for your special focus (one month, a week, or throughout a chosen day)
- in that time frame, agree with the Lord’s promise in Psalm 46:10 by praying (a mix of admiration, asking and declaration) for Christ’s Glory to be known in this generation of your focus people, so that he WILL be exalted.
- What particular beauty aspect of his Glory are you asking for among that people? Collect ‘anchor’ scriptures that include that emphasis, reflect on their truth, and then (from stillness) pray them into your focus people.
Note: Whatever obstacles, distractions or interruptions come (they will) choose to keep stepping forward in your prayer campaign for Christ’s Glory.
*Numbers chap 13 &14