I am troubled by the difference in the number of people who attend church on Sunday morning and the number that attend the church prayer meeting. In one country,
I attended the prayer meeting in a certain church and there were 6 people present but on Sunday morning 350 people were present. The pastor of the church had launched a building project to attend to the increasing numbers in the church. I told him to stop the building project because it was not needed since the membership of the church was only 6 people. The true members of a church are those who attend the prayer meeting. Those who come on Sunday morning are guests and you cannot expand facilities for guests and those idle people who for having nothing to do on Sunday mornings attend the church meeting.
In modern Christianity we have something so far from New Testament Christianity that it is difficult to see how it can be associated with Jesus Christ. The New Testament church was a praying church.
Many people think that Christianity is all about escaping hell! The purpose of God in redemption was not to produce escapees from hell. It was to produce lovers of Jesus Christ; a people who have seen Jesus Christ as the pearl of great price and give up all else to have Him. God is seeking lovers of Jesus Christ not escapees from hell. God’s purpose was to produce a people who
- seek Him,
- find Him
- know Him
- love Him
- serve Him as the overflow of their love for Him.
God is seeking
- lovers of Christ
- worshippers of Christ
- devotees of Christ
- people totally caught up with the person of Christ.
God is not even seeking for servants of Christ, even though there are many hirelings who are pretending to serve Him. But God is not even looking for servants of Christ. He is out for people
- who will seek Him
- who will find Him
- who will know Him
- who will love Him
- who will serve Him only as an overflow of their love for Him.
God is looking for people conquered by love and possessed by Him and who cannot help but flow out in love to Him. God is not looking for people who just touch Christ but for lovers who are totally taken up with Christ, married to Him, fused to Him and fused to Him increasingly; people who seek Him and seek Him only. People who hunger for Him and only for Him and who pursue Him and only Him. God is seeking for people who will relate to Jesus Christ as Jesus related to the Father.
“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place where he prayed. Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed: ‘Everyone is looking for you!’” (Mark 1: 35-37)
The previous night, there had been a fabulous healing service and many miracles were performed. The crowds had gathered and the power of God had moved so that many people were healed and many miracles carried out.
“… very early in the morning …”
The next morning the Lord Jesus did not plan a parade of those who were delivered. He did not spend the morning dreaming of the wonderful things of the previous evening. He got up very early in the morning, even after the hard work of the previous day, went to a solitary place and prayed!
It was not just in the morning … we would place it at 06:00 a.m.
It was not early in the morning … we would place it at 05:00 a.m.
But it was very early in the morning … so we place it at 04:00 a.m.
What did He get up very early in the morning for? He got up to seek His Father. He decided He would not see the face of man before He had seen the face of the Father; He would not hear the voice of man before He had heard the voice of His Father. He decided to give Himself to deep intimacy with His Father!
What do you do at 04:00 a.m.? Sleeping or preparing to go to work? The church in our generation is in a general condition of backsliding. The cream hours when a man is alert and fresh and rested are given to other things or spent in indulgent sleep. That was not the Lord’s model. Very early in the morning, He withdrew to seek His Father.
People were seeking Him but He was seeking His Father.
He was not moved by the miracles performed, though He was full of compassion for the people. He was not in love with the miracles.
He was not in love with power.
He was not in love with the crowds.
He was not in love with fame.
He was not in love with celebrity.
He was in love with the Father and only with the Father. It was a single hearted affair with the Father. The voice of men, even those crying out in gratitude for having been healed, did not move Him. It was not fame or celebrity that He sought, these had no place in His heart. He hungered for His Father. There was only one cry on His heart,
“My Father, My Father”
“My God, My God”
He could be satisfied only by the Father and He sought only the One who could satisfy Him. It was a single hearted concentration on His Father.
He withdrew very early in the morning to a solitary place. Why? Because He wanted
- uninterrupted intimacy with His Father
- uninterrupted fusion with His Father
- uninterrupted union with His Father
- uninterrupted communion with His Father
Among lovers, at the climax of their love, they seek to be alone to commune with each other. Jesus wanted to be alone with the Father. He wanted to be with the Father without any distraction. He wanted uninterrupted
with the Father