Sunday, 25 November 2012

Attitudes of Prayer: Perseverance

Alan's Message notes 
Sunday 25th November 2012
Luke 18:1-8

Jesus told this parable to show that we should always pray and not give up. Prayer is worship, seeking to know God and developing our relationship with him but prayer is also petition.

The Lord’s Prayer asks God for a lot of things; for the kingdom to come on earth as it is in heaven, for daily bread, for forgiveness, for protection and deliverance.
The widow in the story asks someone with power to bring about justice for her. When Jesus says we should always pray it seems he is also saying that we should continue to ask God to provide for our needs, to overturn injustice, to provide protection, to guide our lives and help us and others make the right decisions. Jesus says “and do not give up” to his explanation as he also wanted his followers to know that it would often feel very tempting to give up asking God to answer our petitions.

Reasons why we might give up praying.
1. We become complacent
In Bible times, widowhood for a woman often meant destitution and women had few legal rights. In this story the widow was also being unfairly exploited or persecuted by another person. She is desperate that this harassment should stop so goes to court. This was a desperate act as courts in those days were unruly and often a bribe was expected just to get your case heard.
When we or someone we love goes through a crisis we pray desperately but at other times our fervency is often weak. We are less likely to pray fervently if we still think we can manage a situation or if we refuse to recognise that something as serious. If we truly believed our last doctrine about the eternal destination of those who don’t accept Jesus as Saviour, would not our praying for the lost be just a little more passionate? If we really had the compassionate heart of the Saviour would we not our praying for the poor, the victims of abuse and those caught up in war be a bit more frequent?
Oswald Chambers speaking about prayer said that “We pray pious blether, our will is not in it and then we say God does not answer; we never really asked him for anything. Asking means that our wills are in what we ask.”
Mary Elizabeth Isleib wrote this, “When you put the iron down and the heat comes from the iron, the wrinkles come out. It’s a good example of effective fervent prayer. So what is fervency? It is turning the iron on. It’s getting some heat in your prayers
Many prayers we pray shouldn’t be answered because they are so shallow. God often looks for our persistence to help us deepen and develop our convictions and to help us to discover what we really want.

2. We are not sure what is the right thing to ask for
Is it really Ok to ask things for myself? Sometimes we question or own motives, “Am I really praying for people to get saved and join my church because I care about them or is that that I want my church to do better than the one down the road? Should we pray to get for instance, a particular job? How do we know it is the right job?
-It is always right to pray for justice.
The widow and asked ”Grant me justice.” God is a God of justice. It is always right to pray for justice. We cannot always pray that a person escapes the consequences of their actions but we can always pray that someone is treated fairly and honestly.
-It is always right to pray for mercy
The widow had done nothing wrong and because the judge was hard hearted she did not expect kindness. Jesus contrasts God with the mean judge. If someone as corrupt as him will respond to pressure how much more will God respond to those he loves. The next parable is the story of the Pharisee and the tax collector where Jesus highlights God’s willingness to respond to a prayer for mercy.
-It is always right to pray for healing
We might not always see physical healing but that should not stop us because prayer for healing is wider than the physical. God is often healing what we can’t see and complete healing is assured in heaven. One of God’s names is the God who heals.
- It is always right to pray for the lost to get saved.
I Timothy 2:4 tells us that God wants “all men are saved and come to a knowledge of the truth.”

3. We are disappointed with God
The widow is determined to get justice and didn’t back off at the first refusal. She did not let her disappointment with the judge’s inaction put her off, even though he was known for his hardness.
How much more then should we who have evidence that God is good should keep on praying. “And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off?”
We often jump to the conclusion that if God does not do as we have asked immediately then he is not good or prayer is a waste of time. Before we do that we should ask if there is a problem on our side. It may be the wrong request, or we may have un-confessed sin in our life.
Yet at times after we have done that and we know the prayer is right and we are in a right place with God still heaven seems unmoved. Jesus says, “I tell you he (that is God) will see that they get justice and quickly.” Yet God often seems very slow in answering our prayers.
In the Greek the word Jesus uses which is sometimes translated quickly could also be translated “suddenly.” And perhaps you have known that experience when your prayers may seem to be unanswered for months, and then BOOM suddenly God gives the answer.
But there will be times when we don’t know why God’s answers seem so delayed or denied.

Rob Parsons of Care for the Family advises that we need to guard against feeding young people with the idea that God always answers prayer instantly or in the way that meets their expectations or they will walk away from church disappointed with God. He also says that when we carry on praying, crying out to God and turning to him in the times when we don’t understand what he is doing, it is then that we show how much faith and love we really have for him. Jesus ends his parable by asking a question, When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”
There will be times when we lack passion, when we are confused with what to pray for and when we don’t understand what God is doing. Persistence is always a valuable thing.
The most effective prayers in the Bible are those that were prayed persistently.
In Psalm 55:16-17, David wrote: “I call to God, and the Lord saves me. Evening, morning, and noon I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice.”
Hannah desperately wanted a child. For many years she prayed and prayed to have a child. After her prayer was unanswered for years she didn’t say, “Well, it must not be God’s will for me to have a child.” She kept on praying for years, and eventually God gave her a son–Samuel, the mighty prophet.
In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus prayed, “Father, take this cup from me–but not my will but yours be done!” again and again until His Father heard Him and gave Him the strength to face the cross.

God bless


Sunday, 18 November 2012

Praying with attitude

It has been requested that sermon notes from Sunday mornings at Exeter Temple be put on line so I thought the best was to return to posting them on my blog. So after a couple of months away, here I am back in blogland.

Praying with attitude:  Boldness
Luke 11:5-8

1. Bold because God has chosen to work through prayerful people

The story has three people; a person in need, his friend and the friend’s neighbour that has the power to help. Jesus intends us to see the friend’s neighbour as representing God. The resources are only made available through the friend making a deliberate request for them to be released.

If God is sovereign won’t he do what he wants anyway? Is there any point in bothering God with requests or seeking his help?
God has chosen to operate, to act in the world through human beings. Psalm 8:6 “You made him (man) ruler over the works of your hands you put everything under his feet.”

God has not given away ownership of the earth. (Ps24:1) but he did assign the responsibility of governing the world to humans. This was an awesome responsibility which mankind gave away to Satan. In Garden of Eden, human beings submitted to his lies and ended up giving their rightful position to God’s enemy. When Jesus was tempted, Satan could point at the world and say, “I will give you this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me and I give it to whom I wish.” (Luke 4:6)

Rather than abandon this way of working, God put in place a redemption plan that included human beings.

Pastor Dutch Sheets says, “So complete and final was God’s decision to do things on earth through human beings that it cost God the incarnation. I can’t think of a more staggering truth. Certainly nothing could give weightier proof of the finality of this “through humans “decision God made. Without question, humans were forever to be God’s link to authority and activity on the earth. Here we have the reason for the necessity of prayer. God chose from the time of creation to work on the earth through humans, not independently of them. Though God is sovereign and all powerful, Scripture clearly tells us that he has limited himself concerning the affairs of earth to working though human beings.”  (Intercessory Prayer How God can use your prayers to move heaven and earth)

God used human prophets to speak through; judges and kings to rule through and God saved the world through becoming a human Messiah.
In Jesus story, action resulted through the friend of the needy person asking his neighbour to move and respond.

St Augustine "Without God, we cannot; but without us, God will not."

John Wesley “God does nothing on earth save in answer to believing prayer,”

James 4:2 “You do not have because you do not ask.”

In His sovereignty God has voluntarily linked Himself to human cooperation. He has bound Himself to the prayers of His children. He merges His working with man’s praying.

2. We come with boldness because we know he can help

Approaching God for help is an act of faith in his ability to meet need.
In the story the friend was unprepared for his late arriving guest who is hungry after a long and exhausting journey. He has no bread himself but he knows where there is some.

Our problem is often that we are not always that convinced God has what we need or that Jesus who reveals him has anything to say to practical problems.
Dallas Willard in his book the Great Omission says, “The idea that Jesus is master of fields such as algebra, economics, business administration or French literature imply does not cross our minds …. In our culture and among Christians as well Jesus Christ is automatically disassociated from brilliance or intellectual capacity. Once you stop to think about it, how could Jesus be what Christians take him to be in other respects and not be the best informed and most intelligent person of all, the smartest person that ever lived. In contrast the early Christians who took the power of God’s life in Christ to all quarters of the earth thought of Jesus as one in “whom are hidden all treasures of wisdom and knowledge. They thought of him as master of every domain of life.”

3. We can be bold because God is more willing to give than a reluctant neighbour

In the story the friend had to overcome the neighbour’s unwillingness. In the Middle East at that time doors remained wide in the day and anyone and everyone came in and out but if the door was shut it was a definite sign that the householder did not want to be disturbed.

But the friend pushes past politeness and custom, asks anyway and got what he needed.
We must not just assume that Jesus is comparing God to a sleepy, selfish and angry neighbour. Rather he is contrasts the two. If a reluctant neighbour can on the basis of boldness and friendship be persuaded to meet the needs of a friend, how much more will God in heaven want to meet the needs of his children?

3. Being bold in prayer fulfills our calling to serve suffering humanity

Prayer could end up being all about me but this parable shows that it is also about others. The man makes a request on behalf of another who was not in a position to ask for himself. The traveller could not make his own request of the neighbour who had bread because he did not possess the relationship with the neighbour that his friend did.

Intercessory prayer is partly approaching God on behalf of another who is not in the position to approach God that I am in.

The man in the parable says, “I have nothing to set before him." Likewise, in and of ourselves, we have no resources, no answers, no solutions, no power to bring about meaningful change in peoples’ lives. But in the story the resources are released from the neighbour because the travellers friend had the courage and persistence to ask.

In the culture of Jesus’ day the rules of hospitality did not just mean giving the odd meal to a visitor. To come under someone’s roof for a meal was also to come in under their protection. If an enemy sought fight with his guests, the host was obliged stand between them.

When Jesus deliberately got between Satan and humanity the result was a cross. The result of that meeting was not triumph for Satan, but for Christ

In intercessory prayer the Christian enters the battleground between two opposing forces, stands in between, to protect the weak, stand against the evil one and to help our brothers and sisters to fight.

“Intercession is by nature, where an individual positions themselves between two parties – one with a need and one with the answer – and seeks to bring the two parties together.” (Tom Elliff)

There are the elements of provision and protection involved in praying for other and they both fit perfectly with the focus of the Salvation Army. As soldiers we are called to fight, to defend, to stand in the gap. But it is also said of us, “Where there is a need there is the Salvation Army”

This often means coming out of the prayer room to go and cook a meal for the hungry, put an arm around someone who has been bereaved and giving shelter to the homeless but we are also meeting need and taking part in the fight when we pray for others. We are never more Salvation Army than when we are praying for others.

"The greatest thing anyone can do for God and man is pray. It is not the only thing, but it is the chief thing. The great people of earth are the people who pray. I do not mean those who talk about prayer; nor those who say they believe in prayer; nor yet those who can explain about prayer; but I mean those people who take time to pray." - S. D. Gordon

To think about:

1. Whilst prayer is more than petition, it does include it. How comfortable are you asking God for things for yourself?

2. What happens when we don’t pray?

3. Why is it important to pray for others?

4. What stops you praying?

God bless

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Big Blessings

Message notes: Sunday 16th September 2012 Exeter Temple  
Ephesians 3:19 “And I pray that you being rooted and established in love may have power together with all the saints to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love that surpasses knowledge that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”

The Bible uses the word “full, fully or fullness many times including this verse. It is a very appropriate word for harvest time as it is a time when we recognise how “fully” reliant upon God we are for our survival. Also it is a festival when we express our “full” appreciation to him for all his provision.
Fullness has several different meanings.
1. Extravagance
There is that part of us that looks at the world and, instead of seeing the abundance of creation, sees a scarcity of resources. But we worship a God of abundance                                                                                                 This is sometimes it’s hard to believe when we witness or experience poverty. However this does not need to lead us to the conclusion that the Lord God is a god of scarcity. The infinite variety of creation, the way Jesus demonstrated generosity shows us God’s extravagance. Rather it is man’s wastefulness, greed and mismanagement that causes an imbalance in the distribution of resources.
A human being also cries out to be loved extravagantly. God acts abundantly here also.
God has displayed for all the fullness of his love for us.
Colossians 2:9
His love is demonstrated in Christ’s person and also by Christ’s actions.
Romans 5:8
The cross is a demonstration of love that holds nothing back, that goes to the most extreme act of self-sacrifice, and offers through that sacrifice access to the fullness of heaven.
“Everything of God gets expressed in Christ so you can see and hear him clearly. You don’t need a telescope, a microscope or a horoscope to realize the fullness of Christ, and the emptiness of the universe without him. When you come to him that fullness comes together for you too. His power extends to everything.” (The Message)

2. Totality
Full also refers to something being totally crammed to capacity.
We are not just to sample the fullness of God’s love we are to be filled with it ourselves. “that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
This fullness is brought into our lives through the Holy Spirit.
John 3:5
A.W Tozer “The Spirit filled life is not a special deluxe version of the Christianity. It is part and parcel to the total plan of God for his people.”
Christians can be petty, competitive, materialistic, mean and angry.
Could it be that some Christians have never allowed the Holy Spirit to take total control of their lives? Could it be that some Christians were once filled with the fullness of God but they have let the devil take back ground in their lives?
Ephesians 4:17
Something is either full or it is not. It may not be completely empty but God has not promised half measures he has promised fullness!!

3. Readiness
Fullness can also mean readiness or ripeness? At harvest time we see fruit that is ready to be picked and corn that is waiting to be threshed.
The Old Testament looked forward to a time when God would come in full measure to his people but in the New Testament this is fulfilled.
Galatians 4:4
There is therefore immediacy in the message of the New Testament. The time is now. God has poured out his Spirit in order for there to be a harvest of his love in our hearts now. There is nothing, except our unwillingness to prevent us from benefiting from his fullness.

Harvest time will pass. The time is now because we don’t know when we will run out of time or time will run out on us.
Jesus also calls us to harvest now. He says that there are people who are ready right now to hear and accept his gift of love

God bless


Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Big Deal

Big Deal 

Ephesians 1:1-10
Alan's sermon notes  9th September 2012
I am really not bothered whether Dr Who gets exterminated forever by a Dalek. That also goes for any of the characters in the soap operas I never watch. I am not that interested that Miley Cyrus has a new hairdo that makes her look like Jedward because I have no idea who she is and even if I did she can do what she likes with her own hair!

On the other hand what really makes steam come out of my ears is people using mobile phones whilst they are driving and people who hog the middle lane on a motorway.
There are always going to be some things that are a big deal to us and things that pass us by because in our minds they are not that important.

There are many things that can be regarded as unimportant trivia, sin is not one of them
Sin is refusing to let God be the author of the story of our lives which is foolish because God as our creator knows best how our lives should be lived and we are turning our backs on the person who loves us most in the world. Our rebellion not only breaks God’s laws but breaks His heart.

1. Grave consequences

2:1 “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins in which you used to live”
How can someone who is dead in transgressions and sins at the same live in them? How can someone be dead and also alive?
The Bible describes humans as a combination of body, mind and spirit. When all of these three are working properly then there is harmony and wholeness. Paul takes the view that in every human being the spirit part is dead. This is part that should connect with our creator God who is Spirit.
In the Bible (e.g. John 17:3) life is defined as knowing God and to be in a relationship with Him. Life is used to express a state of union with God and death a state of separation from God.

Characteristics of a spiritually dead person.
V2 They arepowerless In a similar way because we are spiritually dead we have no choice but to “follow the ways of the world.”
V3 They are bereaved
When human beings experience spiritual death we are in state of bereavement for that lost relationship with God. Craving speaks of a longing, a desire, of incompleteness, of loneliness.
V 3b They are imbalanced
We were made to be balanced people, body, mind and spirit. It is the spiritual part of us, which is united to God that should be in control of our life and not the appetites or our bodies and minds. Our natural instincts are not wrong but they are meant to be controlled by our spirit. With the spiritual part of us dead then the needs of our bodies and minds rule our lives and because they are not meant to we end up with a dysfunctional world.
V3c They are doomed
Wrath is a strong word; it means God’s holy anger against sin and the resulting judgement.
We tend to see the wrath of God in opposition to the love of God but the two are not opposites, they need each other.
God would not be completely loving if he did not hate the things that rob us of living full lives; similarly He would not wrathful if He didn’t care about us because if He didn’t care he would be ambivalent.

2. Great Contrast
You were dead but now you are alive! What has brought about the contrast?

God was motivated
God knows our state and why we are in the state we are in.
v 3 “It’s a wonder God didn’t lose His temper and do away with the whole lot of us.” (The Message)
We deserve rejection and destruction but instead we are given life.

God acted It is foolish for someone who is spiritually dead to try to be live as a Christian. Something has to happen to change our state. Paul says; “that God who is rich in mercy made us alive with Christ.” It was His action. He gives new life.

God offered us the gift
“He took our sin dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did this all on His own with no help from us! Saving is all His idea and all His work. All we do is trust Him enough to let Him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish!” (The Message)

Salvation is salvation from death. We are not grateful to God because He sent Jesus to cheer up our lack lustre lives or just to untangle the mess we’ve made of the world. What the cross offers in not just forgiveness. It offers salvation. Forgiveness is part of the package but not the whole story. We are grateful to God because without His salvation plan we are dead.

God bless Alan

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Big money

The outcome of a dispute between the two Russian oligarch’sRoman Abramovich and Boris Berezovsky. The amount of money involved in the case is staggering. It is thought that Mr Abramovich has a net worth of £12.1 billion!
Sometimes Christians on have a “getting by” kind of attitude but actually in spiritual terms we are in the “big money” league. We are spiritual oligarchs!

Paul praises God in verse 3 because we every spiritual blessing is found in Christ. They are outlined from v 4 onwards.

1. Being Chosen  v 4
2. Holiness and blamelessness v  4
3. Adoption v 5
4. Grace v 6
5. Redemption through his blood v 7
6. Forgiveness of sins v 7b
7. Revelation of his will v 9
8. Our identity  v11-12
9. Salvation v13
10. The seal of the Spirit v13b
11. Heaven v14
12. Growing knowledge of God v17
13. Hope v18
1. Entitlement v 11-13a
Everyone on earth is a benefactor of God’s generosity because we owe our continued existence to the providence and the mercy of God, however these spiritual blessings can only be claimed by a person who is found to be “in Christ” This is the important clause. You have to be “in Christ” to claim all these blessings. If you are not a Christian they are not yours they do not belong to you. It is being “in Christ” that qualifies us to receive this inheritance of spiritual blessing. Our place “in Christ” is not gained through personal merit but won for us through the work of Jesus Christ himself on the cross. It is a condition that is on offer to all people everywhere and is accessed through faith.

John 1:12 “To all who received him, to those who believed in his name he gave them the right to become children of God.” Ephesians 1:13 “You were also included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed you were marked in him with a seal.”

2. Endorsement v 13b-14
Paul uses two illustrations of the Holy Spirit’s action in giving us assurance that all that is “In Christ” both now and in the future
“Having believed you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession – to the praise of his glory.”

Seals were used in the ancient world on invoices to authenticate them. A seal ratified a covenant or contract and endorsed it. The Holy Spirit has placed a SEAL on us, identifying us as a genuine member of God’s kingdom, marking us as his prized possessions and guaranteeing our inheritance of all God’s promises, wealth and goodness.

A deposit or down payment placed on an item declares an intention to complete the transaction. A portion is invested now to give assurance of future payments. The reality of the presence of the Holy Spirit at work in our lives today gives us the assurance that we will receive our inheritance in full.

3. Enlightenment
Unless our eyes are opened what we actually have in Christ, the inheritance he offers us is wasted on us. Esau in the OT is an example of someone who couldn’t see what was valuable and what was not.

In v 17-18 Paul asks that the believers be given revelation. The Holy Spirit is needed to give knowledge of God.

This is the most important prayer any believer can pray for another believer. It is good to pray for healing, for provision, for protection, for obstacles to be overcome but above all pray that those you pray for know him.

In Christ, God does not give us a donation towards things we need spiritually but a permanent inheritance to live upon. We need to start living as heirs of a kingdom, as children of God.

2 Peter 1: 3 says, “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness.

God bless


Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Big Story

Hi everyone,
It is a long time since I did a blog and this is not technically a blog but Bible notes from Sunday's message at Exeter Temple preached by Alan.  Look out for these each week and I will also hopefully find the time to start proper blogging again soon.

Bible Reading:  Ephesians 1:1-10

There are 3 basic views about the way the world continues.

It is random
There is an ancient philosophy which said, “The comeliest order on earth is but a heap of random sweepings.” There is no purpose behind the universe.

It is circular
This is the sentiment behind the Disney film the Lion King, which theme is really all about what it calls the circle of life. Someone or something may have set the processes of nature going but they just now roll on.

It is linear
The Christian view is that the world has a definite beginning, that we are in the middle of an on-going story that will one day reach its destiny.

In the culture of Ephesus people constantly worried about their fate, thinking their future depended upon the movement of the planets or the will of angels and demons.

Eph 1:9-10 shows us that there is a BIG STORY that a loving God is writing for this planet,

1. It is a story which he has made known V9
In the Bible a mystery isn’t a puzzle to figure out, it is something that has been kept secret that has to be revealed. God is under no obligation to reveal his plans but we are told that it was his pleasure to do so. Hebrews 1:1 tells us how he has done this. As redeemed people, our testimony is an example in an individual of what God wants to achieve for the whole world.

2. It is a story that is centred on Christ V 9
In the story of the universe, past, present and future we cannot get away from Jesus Christ. The phrase “which he purposed in Christ” means that he is the organising focus. Christ’s nature is so written into creation that the universe only really works when it is working his way.

3. It is a plan that is carefully worked out V 10
The words put into effect in verse 10 represent the Greek word oikonomia which = economy which literally meant “household management. God has his house in order. As human beings there are many things that can come along and take things out of our control but this is not true of God.
Proverbs 19:21 Psalm 33:11
Some people are given to thinking that mankind rebelled again God and then God had to come up with a solution to get his creation out of the mess they made.
But that is not true. God knew that in giving man free will they would rebel. However because he wanted to have a genuine love relationship with human beings he went ahead anyway, writing the solution to the consequences of that before the world began.

4. It is a story that conclude with wholeness
The finale will be to “bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.” What sin fragmented by causing chaos God is bringing back into harmony under Jesus Christ. Ephesians starts off with outlining a big plot but the rest of the letter deals with how we work out God’s purpose of harmony in everyday life. It deals with barriers that existed between people in various areas of their lives (e.g race, gender, family roles) It is in our relationships that we tell God’s big story best.
Although we can resist God’s plan we can’t stop it. No human power, no demonic power no world power can stop God’s plan from reaching fulfilment. Time will one day reach its finish line; Because of this we have every reason to be hopeful about the future.

Isaiah 46:9b-10
I am God, and there is no other;
I am God there is none like me.
I have made known the end from the beginning,
From ancient times what is still to come.
I say: My purpose will stand and I will do what I please.

God bless

Saturday, 10 March 2012

City prayers

When I pray I like to listen as much as I speak and the way that God speaks to me is often through my imagination and in pictures.
As I prayed for the South Western Division and our corporate challenge of reaching Somerset, Devon, Cornwall and part of South Gloucester the image that came to mind was of Salvationists with their shoes off, kneeling on the street, each with an ear to the ground. I had a real sense of this happening first in the cities in our region with representative Salvationists from different corps, centres and ministries in those cities coming together; maybe not just in the cities of the South West but further afield.
The Salvationists had taken their shoes off in the street because holy ground for them is not in their buildings, albeit that they are dedicated to God for his purposes but because we are called to serve him in the midst of our communities.
They were kneeling, as an act of repentance and humility, knowing that sometimes we have allowed our past, our position and our reputation to matter too much. It is a time to forsake those things for the sake of a nation which needs to see Christ, the Servant King. This is a time when many Christians feel marginalised and the temptation is to cling on to what makes us feel tall and approved of but we will best stand for Christ, if we first kneel beside him and serve.
And finally they had their ear to the ground because they need to hear the cry of lost and broken humanity.
This image particularly reminded me of words of William Booth
“Put your ear down to the Bible and hear him bid you go and pull sinners out of the fire of sin. Put your ear down to the burdened, agonized heart of humanity and listen to its pitiful wail for help. Go stand by the gates of hell and hear the damned entreat you to go to their father’s house and bid their brothers and sisters not to come there. Then look Christ in the face whose mercy you profess to obey and tell them whether you will join body soul and spirit and circumstances in the march to publish his mercy to the world.”
I also felt that the taking off of shoes, the kneeling and the putting their ears to the ground was also something that Salvationist were doing before one another. No one ministry stood above another, everyone’s place of service is holy ground and the need for all of us is to hear the cry of the lost above the noise of our busyness and our internal affairs.
I do not know whether we need to literally take our shoes off, kneel on the street and put our ear down to the pavement but I do believe that if we go and pray in our cities in the spirit of unity, obedience, reverence, humility, repentance and passion for the lost, then God may hear from heaven and pour out his Spirit again.

God bless