Pondering the recent loss of two former beloved parishioners, as the Lord would have it, I “happened” to begin reading excerpts from the memoirs of revivalist Charles G. Finney (1792-1875) in which he wrote about the extreme affliction of mind and immeasurable grief he suffered over the loss of his first wife (Lydia).
Even though Satan’s carte blanche rule over man was broken at Calvary (Colossians 2:15), it’s obvious from what Paul has written that God nevertheless grants Satan and his subordinates a measure of freedom to tempt, stress, press, even afflict believers at times. God’s intention of course is that we learn to depend on Jesus, donning the full armor of God so we can recognize and resist every scheme, every attack, every temptation of the evil one, coming to maturity in Christ.
The essence of worship is in finding satisfaction in God. Both the Old and New Testaments clearly confirms the essence of worship to be a life centered in and focused on finding one’s greatest satisfaction in God alone, beyond any “thing” or any “one” else. It is a thoroughly personal endeavor. While people may attempt to categorize worship as public or personal (corporate or private), all worship is personal worship. Musicians may lead a congregation in corporate praise but, that which goes on in the heart – communication between God and man – can only be experienced personally. And, every person’s worship experience is different. This is because worship is experienced in the inner heart. The Psalmist of Israel re-enforces this notion:
Notice the close of this passage. Despite his circumstances, Jonah is thankful to be alive. He knows that his sins deserve death but he acknowledges God’s saving grace. He also knows that God is able and willing to deliver us from the direst circumstances – even those we bring upon ourselves.
God is not only the Great Physician, the One from whom all healing comes; He is also the healer of souls – the only source of salvation and eternal life.
Prayer must be clothed with fervency, strength and power. It is the force which, centered on God, determines the outlay of Himself for earthly good. Those who are fervent in spirit are bent on attaining to righteousness, truth, grace, and all other sublime and powerful graces which adorn the character of the authentic, unquestioned child of God. (Adapted from E.M. Bounds, The Necessity of Prayer)
It is not in our power, perhaps, to create fervency of spirit at will, but we can pray God to implant it. It is ours, then, to nourish and cherish it, to guard it against extinction, to prevent its abatement or decline. The process of personal salvation is not only to pray, to express our desires to God, but to acquire a fervent spirit and seek, by all proper means, to cultivate it. It is never out of place to pray God to beget within us, and to keep alive the spirit of fervent prayer (Adapted from E.M. Bounds, The Necessity of Prayer)