There’s been an air of discouragement around recently, with friends struggling and moving out, difficult situations and a slowdown of momentum in the wider church. Things have generally felt a bit stuck at home.
When God wants to speak to us as a whole group we often find he’ll say the same thing at once to several of us. Maybe it’s to make sure it filters through, but most importantly I think it gives us a unity of heart as we adjust our course.
It was this kind of corporate hearing that led us to set aside this week as a week of prayer. Personally, I’ve also recently been praying for opportunities to meet our neighbours.
Yesterday morning, the first day of this week of prayer, I left for work to find a couple right outside our house standing by their car, glass strewn over the path and a window smashed. Their satnav had been stolen. The lady asked me if I’d seen or heard anything. Sadly I hadn’t, but I promised I’d ask the other guys as they’d left the house earlier that morning. She left me their house number in case I heard any useful info.
That evening four of us prayed together after tea. Andy had been reading Why Revival Tarries (Leonard Ravenhill), and was struck by something it said: revival tarries because after praying and seeing fruit, we then replace obedience with more prayer. As we pondered it I thought “possibly true, but I’ll think about that when we’re in the middle of a revival”, but I sensed God speaking to me about micro-obediences.
One of our most rock-solid convictions has been that everything starts with prayer, with loving Jesus, and that’s the fountain of everything else God has for us.
However, from this place, God wants a two-way conversation. One part of walking with God is Him leading us, but the other part, surely, is us following Him. God wants to train our ears to hear Him clearly, and part of this is learning to obey. “By testing we discern and approve God’s good, pleasing and perfect will”. Just like we can train hand-to-eye coordination, learning to follow the Spirit takes practice, learning a good coordination between our spiritual ears and practical action.
Perhaps this first need on our doorstep was God teaching us to hear Him and rejoin Him in His adventure. We decided we wanted to give our neighbours a card with a little money to help them with the repair of their car window. It was a little micro-obedience to God’s opportunity, a neighbourly gesture to brighten their day. I bought a card, wrote a note and delivered it in person, and the lady was very warm and grateful but didn’t open it on her doorstep.
While walking back home I remembered our Christmas generosity project and the prayer movement around that time. I wondered if it was a bit of a spiritual principle that loving neighbours with acts of sacrificial generosity unlocks spiritual blessing.
A few minutes later our doorbell rang and Andy answered. She was overwhelmed and Andy had a hard time convincing her to not give us the money back. She said her husband’s a plumber so if we ever needed any work done… and we should go round theirs for a cup of tea sometime…
It’s so refreshing.
So our next step is to pray some more.