The Priority Of Prayer & Worship
Prayer and worship times (both private and corporate) are foundational to our calling as individuals and as a church.
Scripture Reading: Mark 11:11-17 (Also Luke 10:38-42; Acts 1:14; 2:42-47)
We are in a “roll up your sleeves” culture where a person’s worth is often measured by one’s accomplishments and one’s identity is established by their occupation– what we DO! There is a vast market in do-it-yourself projects and self-help resources. This culture has influenced the church to the point that we measure Christians or churches by the same criterion– by what they do or don’t do. Every time Jesus was faced with such situations he responded in a way that cuts across the grain of our value system– even in our churches. We seem to value ministries, activities and projects that make us look good to the outside world more than we value uninhibited worship and devotion to prayer. Too often, churches who would dare stop all activities and devote themselves to prayer and worship until further notice from the Father would no doubt be considered suspect by other churches or Christians!
We seem to be like the religious system of Jesus’ day. They had not heard from God in a long time, however, they had streamlined the religious activity in such a way that they “got the job done.” They were able to process the ritual sacrifice of thousands of seekers within a short amount of time (“God should be pleased with that”). They managed to make a profit from it (“surely an indication of God’s blessing”). However, when Jesus saw it, to him it was akin to a fig tree with leaves, but no fruit. Tables turned over! Their “packaged system” for coming to God was soundly rejected! Jesus scolded them that they had perverted the temple’s purpose of being a place where the nations could come and encounter God through worship and prayer and had turned it to a place where their own interests were fulfilled– proving themselves to be thieves of God’s glory!
Commitment to prayer (Acts 1:14) was the fertile soil through which the Holy Spirit birthed the New Testament Church in power. The primary activity that sustained the mass of brand new believers was devotion to worship and prayer (Acts 2:42-47). How can we hope to see our churches flourish if we are more devoted to the interests of the people than we are to the desire of God– our worship and our fellowship with Him. This explains why Jesus’ response to Martha startled her– when all she was doing was trying to get the ministry of feeding Jesus done, desiring Mary’s help (Luke 10:38-42). Jesus confirmed Mary’s desire to sit at his feet, listen to him, enjoy his company was preferable to her own goal of “getting it done.” Why? “Because getting it done is not important?” No! Because God-centered focus (the essence of worship and prayer) enabled Mary to be attuned to do the most important things going on at that time: anointing Jesus for burial; being “on scene” at his resurrection; and then later at Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came upon the church. Her sitting at Jesus’ feet didn’t reduce her to inactivity; it released her to effective activity that was in alignment with what God was doing!
- Looking at your present activity and participation, could you say that worship and prayer are a foundation to your life and calling? How so?
- Are you busy with a lot of good activities, but neglecting the most important thing of sitting at Jesus’ feet? Do you get the sense that you are missing really important things around you?
- What choices will you make today to assure that you become more established in worship and prayer?
Declaration: As you pray today, make the following declaration…
I choose, like David, to become one who is after my Father’s heart. I choose to become accomplished in every form of worship taught in the word. I will “put on” my garment of praise. I will make it my priority to sit at the feet of Jesus daily. I will not allow myself to be pulled away by the many things of life to the neglect of my need for worship and prayer. My heart will be “in synch” with God so that what I do will be successfully aligned with what He is doing around me. He will thus make me more effective in my realms of influence