The divine pursuit begins with the humbling of self. Until we embrace humility, our natural mind displays itself as a god sitting in the temple of our thought-life. We are ruled by the tyranny of fleshly desires, soulish fears and human ambitions. To advance in God we must retreat from self.
Thus, when true meekness emerges in our hearts, it comes to silence the clamor of our fleshly minds. The volume on our self-righteousness mutes; the voice of our fears and inadequacies becomes a whisper. To humble our earthly perspectives and opinions, we must relegate them to a lower priority; they become mere background noise as our focus turns increasingly toward God. No pretense prevails; we come humbling ourselves. We bow on our face before the holy gaze of God. And in His light finally we perceive the darkness of our soul.
Thus, humility, at its root, starts with honesty. The humbled heart is truly and deeply acquainted with its need and, in the beginning, the awareness of one’s need becomes the voice of prayer. This confession, "I have sinned," puts us on the side of God concerning it. We agree with our Father that our behavior is wrong - we’re selfish, lustful and unloving. Thus, the process of healing begins during this moment of self-discovery. We are working together with God to defeat sin in our lives, and in this process of humbling ourselves the Lord grants us peace, covering, and transforming grace.
Yet, with humility we not only acknowledge our need, we take full responsibility for it. We offer no defense to God for our fallen condition. We’ve come, not to explain ourselves but to cleanse ourselves. Though we may have suffered injustice, we abandon self-justification or accusation toward others. We are consumed with the condition of just one soul, our own; and our quest is for mercy, not vengeance.
At some point, however, our humility toward God, if it is genuine, will regenerate and bloom again in our relationships with others. We will be able to laugh at ourselves; we will no longer take offense when challenged or accused. If we have been embittered by life, we now forgive. And, if we sinned against another, we humbly ask their forgiveness. We must deal with our offended heart. The Lord God may not require us to trust everyone, but He does call us to forgive (Matt. 18:21-35).
In a world where the heart of man is "deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked" ( Jer. 17:9 KJV), in Heaven’s eyes, to tearfully acknowledge our need is a breakthrough.
A People of PrayerThe road to healing a society, whether it is a community, a church, or a family, begins with humbling ourselves to God and to one another. The Lord, who dwells "on a high and holy place," also dwells "with the contrite and lowly of spirit." It is the contrite and lowly the Lord promises to revive (Isa. 57:15).
Yet, humility is not our final goal. We must learn also to be a people of prayer. Prayer is the voice of our dependency. Strong, independent people do not pray; dependent people broken of self-will pray and look to God. Prayer is not a laser beam; it is a prism that accommodates variations of color and expression. Whether our cry is in supplication or silence, regardless if it is tearful or rejoicing, at its core, prayer is not just telling the Lord our needs; it is transferring those needs to God.
It should also be acknowledged that, especially in the beginning, prayer is often an expression of fear - fear concerning the threats and conditions of life, and fear that our sin or circumstances will overwhelm us or a loved one. Yet, we do not pray because we fear; we pray because we have a promise from God. He has said He will "hear from Heaven … and heal." Thus, at some point, fear must be displaced by faith; our prayer must be an expression of our growing trust in God. The world will remain a fearful place, but prayer empowered by faith can transform our world.
The Goal God SeeksIf we humble ourselves and pray, we will have ever increasing access to God. Yet, while we may experience degrees of breakthrough, our hope is to see God actually heal our land. It is encouraging to see that, today, the prayer movement has become a force in the earth. However, if we are honest, the depth of healing we have sought has not occurred. We have fasted and prayed, but the greatest breakthroughs have not come. Why? Perhaps we have sought God’s hand more than His face.
First, it is right to seek God’s hand. Indeed, Scripture asks, "To whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?" (Isa. 53:1). Jesus cast out demons by the "finger of God" (Luke 11:20). Seeking the arm or hand or finger of the Almighty certainly is of great value. But the Lord did not say, "Seek My hand." Rather, He calls us to seek His face. We must lift our prayers beyond the needs of our world, and let our highest prayer be to seek God for Himself.
"If My people … seek My face," He says. Until now, our pilgrimage has been about us coming to God with our needs. Now, it is about Him. In this shift of focus, beloved, is the power to turn nations. When we become true God-seekers - individuals whose delight is perpetually in the Lord - we will secure the full help of Heaven. And more, we will rise to meet the consummate reward of Heaven: to see the face of God (Rev. 22:3-4).
As a leader in the prayer movement, I ask you to join me in making my highest goal to seek the face of God. Whether we live in times of crisis or times of peace, my heart says to the Lord, "Thy face, O Lord, I shall seek" (Ps. 27:8).Yes, we have prayer, and from our hearts, we humble ourselves and fast and weep. Yet, until we are obsessed with love for God, we will always fall short of the greatest fulfillment. It is time to rise higher.
In a parallel promise given by God to Jeremiah, the Lord spoke to a people in exile from their land. He assured them that His plan for them was for their welfare and not for calamity (Jer. 29:11). And again He brought their focus to seeking Him. He says, "Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart" (Jer. 29:12-13).
In the next verse, the Lord reinforces His promise, saying, "And I will be found by you" (v. 14).
The Spirit of God desires not only that we seek Him but that we actually find Him! The humbling of our soul and learning to pray - these are not simply spiritual disciplines or mechanical things we do for the sake of revival. They are heart preparations. The invitation from the Lord to seek His face is not to be taken lightly; indeed, it is staggering!
God desires intimacy with us. To seek His face is to behold the divine expression and to hear the tone of His voice. From this vantage point of His presence, we can truly turn away from evil. For to know His love is to know why we’ve been created.
God-seeker, do not doubt the outcome of your pursuit. He says with glad assurance, "And I will be found by you."
Oh God, my insides ache for You, to know You and walk in Your ways. You are my exceedingly great reward, the pearl of great price. I love You, Master. And I will seek You until I trulyfind You.