Thursday, July 16, 2009

answer to prayer

It seems to me that the leaders in the conservative evangelical church have been praying for a "revival" in the American church for some time. And the new things we see happening in the church are exciting. The emerging, missional, mosaic and monastic church communities that are springing up all over this nation are the answer to those prayers. The irony is that those same leaders who long ago began praying for this to come are now the leading opposition against it.

This seems to be the way we often react to change. We pray for it. God answers our prayers. Then we fight against the very answer to our own prayer. This is what the Hebrews did when they were finally freed from slavery and found themselves in the desert. They had cried out for freedom. God answered. Then they complained in the desert and longed to be back in Egypt.

When we pray for revival, I get the sense that God often responds to us in the same way Jesus responded to James and John when they asked to sit on his right and left in glory(Mark 10:38-40).

We cry out, "Lord, give us revival!"

And Jesus responds,"You don't know what you are asking. Can you really handle revival if it were to come? Could you really handle the change that it will take in you and in your church?"

Of course we naively respond the same way that James and John responded, "We can!"

Then Jesus says to us, "There will indeed be a great change in the church. But as to whether you will be a part of the revival is not for me to say. That one you will have to decide for yourselves."

My hope is that the conservative evangelical leaders will stop fighting the answer to their own prayers and instead embrace what God is doing anew in the church.