Do you ever wonder if your prayers accomplish anything? This morning I was thanking the Lord for the way He has always protected me my whole life and for the way He has taken such good care of me. What a wonderful God He is! But even as I thanked Him, I heard Him tell me that what He has done for me He desires to do for all. What He is doing for me is not special. It is what He does. In Matthew 23:37 and Luke 13:34 the Lord approaches Jerusalem and tells the city “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!” His desire is to love and protect. But we have to be willing, as He told Jerusalem. So what does His desire to love and protect have to do with our prayers? Everything. If you look at Ezekiel 22:30, He tells Ezekiel the following: “So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall (of protection) and stand in the gap before me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it, but I found no one”. The Lord went on to tell me that I should never underestimate the value of my prayers. The enemy might scoff at me, and He might try to discourage me from continuing to stand in the gap. But the real reason the enemy scoffs at my prayers is because he fears my prayers of protection, for he knows that they touch the Father’s heart and are therefore filled with power. When we pray for the lost, whoever they might be, we stand in the gap and allow Him the privilege of gathering and protecting His children, His chicks if you will. It gives them time to repent and return to Him. This image of a hen is the heart of a mother. A mother protects her children. Psalm 91:4 tells us that “He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge. The very heart of God is protection. Your prayers and mine, when we intercede for those unwilling chicks who have scattered themselves and chosen their own ways, are powerful and they touch His heart. He is listening. He is working. He will restore. Will you stand in the gap? Will you make a wall of protection for the lost ones in your life?
I have a confession to make. I hate surprises. Maybe it’s because whenever I’ve gotten one, (I’m thinking of gifts, LOL) it’s never what I’d hoped for and expected. But in all honesty, I like to live my life that way as well. Which is why, on occasion, I ask the Lord some hard questions. For example, this morning I decided to put my big girl panties on and ask the Lord, “Do You feel loved by me?”. “Do I love you?” Just because I believe I love Him, doesn’t mean He feels loved by me. I mean, what makes Him feel loved? Once again, His answers never cease to amaze me. He responded with a question, “What makes you feel loved, Sibylle?”. Then He brought up a book I read many years ago, The Five Love Languages, by Gary Chapman. Again, He surprised me and told me that people usually do for Him, what makes them feel loved. If you’re not familiar with the book, the 5 love languages are as follows: quality time, gift giving, words of affirmation, acts of service, and physical touch. Babies and children need all of them, but as we grow older, usually one or two will become dominant in our lives. Those main ones will affect how we treat others and how we love to be treated. If you know me at all, you’ll know that I love quality time. If you take time to spend time with me, good conversation is the bomb for me. So how do these love languages relate to our relationship with the Lord? The Bible tells us that we are created in His image. We are like Him. Look at Jesus and you will know the Father. That means that He feels loved and He loves us the same way that we feel love and love others. He then broke it down for me in terms I could understand. He loves to spend quality time with us. The Bible calls it prayer, but He likes to hear your voice and know that you care enough to take time to have a conversation with Him. He gives us many gifts. Look at this beautiful world. The heavens declare the glory of God. If you look outside and see nature, you are seeing one of His amazing gifts to us. Words of affirmation. If we take the time to read His word, and listen to His voice, He will speak wonderful things to us. Sometimes He corrects, sometimes He rebukes, sometimes He encourages, sometimes He speaks pillow talk to us. But we have to listen. Do you have enough to eat? A nice house? Clothes on your back? Then you have received from Him. Those are acts of service from Him. He knows what we need and He promises that He will give us those things if we put Him first. Physical touch. This one is a little harder if you’re not a Pentecostal (lol) but God loves to let us feel His presence. I have felt His physical love and it felt like liquid waves of love. I have felt Him so powerfully at church, I felt like I was walking on clouds. When I raise my hands in worship, I am touching His heart. Writing is my act of service to Him. It is hard for me to share my heart with others. It is hard for me to be vulnerable with the world. But I am serving Him, by sharing with others what He shares with me. Do you have the courage to ask Him if He feels loved by you? Ask Him. I can guarantee you that His answer will surprise you.
I am an avid journalist. I fill at least 4 journals each year. I’ve learned to do this over the years because it’s been my experience that if I don’t write it down, I’ll forget it. One of the ways that the Lord speaks to me regularly is through my journaling. So the other day I was sitting at my desk, thanking Him for this great privilege of hearing His voice. I love hearing His voice. He never ceases to amaze me with who He is and how His thoughts are so different from mine! His response to my thanks however surprised me. He told me that hearing His voice is not a privilege, it is a necessity. He told me that if it were a privilege it would be a special right or advantage, and it is that to the world, but I am not of this world. Without His voice, I can do nothing except what I accomplish in my own strength and wisdom. He then warned me. He told me that many of His children have turned it into a privilege for a select few, but that the danger with this is that it leads to idolatry. If we believe that He only speaks to a few select people, then those few people become special and are given honor they do not deserve. He speaks to anyone who will listen. Why? Because we are all brothers and sisters and no one is above another. We are all priests before Him. There is no priestly ruling class. Israel fell into this trap when they desired a king, like the nations around them. God was their King, but they wanted to be like the world. The church has become like the world in this respect, because they have set up leaders, a few select people who are exalted, and the rest are just subjects. But we are all subjects in His kingdom. His example of leadership is very different from the world’s. Leaders are to lay down their lives for the sheep and to protect their sheep. Leaders are not to lord it over them and pretend they are special and different. That is pride at work. If He had set up leaders according to the world’s model, He would have called the priests and scribes to follow Him. But He did not. He called simple fishermen and tax collectors. He called men who had hearts for Him, not for themselves. It will be the same for this coming harvest. He will not call those who have been unfaithful and have collected men for their own kingdoms. He will call those, who like the fishermen, have been faithful to Him for no other reason than that they love Him. He will be calling those who love Him, because they are known by Him. (1 Cor 8:3)