Dr. Kevin Blackwell is director of Samford University’s Ministry Training Institute.
“Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4.
One of the greatest tragedies of our lives is to let a day go by without finding delight in our relationship with God. We have the power of the Holy Spirit within us, the intercession of the Son for us and the daily love of the Father surrounding us. As believers in Christ we live in perpetual blessing as the whole trinity works in perfect union to fit us ready for heaven’s glory. Yet, most days we miss it. Our lives are so busy, so distracted, so driven by our task as we focus on our smart phones rather than delighting in the indwelling presence of God. One day when we receive our eternal reward our life will be brought into perfect perspective and many of us will shrink back in shame at the thousands of opportunities we had to find delight in God that were simply missed.
I recently finished reading a book on the life of George Muller. Oh how I was challenged by his daily faith, his vibrant relationship with God. Muller was a troubled teenager as he grew up in Germany in the early 1800’s. Muller was saved in a dramatic way thus putting his life on a course that would change millions of lives for the glory of God. His secret to powerful living was no secret at all. He found daily delight in God. He pastored churches, founded the great orphan homes in Bristol England, created the Institute for Scriptural Knowledge which circulated millions of Bibles and tracts throughout the world. His impact was so profound that it is hard to put into words particularly in a brief article. The most remarkable thing is that all of this was done without a fund raising arm within his organization.
By the time George Muller died at the age of 93 over 1.5 million dollars had been contributed to his ministry to orphans and he never asked for a single coin from anyone. How did he do that? It was through his daily delight in God through prayer and Bible reading. Muller states, “If I say that during the 54 years and 9 months that I have been a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ I have had 30,000 answers to prayer, either in the same day or same hour that the requests were made, I should not go a particle too far. Often, before leaving my bedroom in the morning, have I had prayers answered that were offered that morning, and in the course of the day I have had 5 or 6 more answers to prayer. So that at least 30,000 prayers have been answered the same hour or the same day that they were offered.” By Muller’s own account he recorded over 60,000 answered prayers in his lifetime! Muller had the spiritual audacity to take God at his word! His favorite verses in the Bible were Matthew 7: 7-8. In one of his recorded sermons from these verses he outlines a number of conditions on which successful prayer depends.
- Our requests must be according to God’s will.
- We must not ask on our own account or own goodness but “in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.” (John 14:113-14)
- Daily repentance of sin is essential to a powerful prayer life. “If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.” Psalm 66:18.
- We must exercise faith in the power and willingness of God to answer our prayers. Muller stated, “This is extremely important! Remember the words of Christ in Mark 11:24, ‘Whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it and it will be yours.’ You must see that God is able and willing no matter the request.”
- We have to continue patently waiting on God till the blessing we seek is granted. Muller points out that in the Matthew 7 text nothing is said of the time which the prayer would be answered. Muller states, “He wants us to prove that we have confidence in Him, and that we take our place as creatures towards the Creator.” Beginning in November of 1844 Muller began to pray for the conversion of 5 men praying every day without interruption. The first man was saved 18 months after he began to pray, the second saved in 5 years, the third in 11 years, the fourth saved only a few years before Muller’s death and the fifth was saved after Muller had passed.
“What is the secret to your delight in God?” someone once asked Muller. His answer has been emblazoned within my mind. “There was a day when I died, utterly died. George Muller died to my opinions, preferences, tastes and will, died to the world, its approval or censure, died to the approval or blame of even my brethren and friends, and since then I have studied to show myself approved only unto God.”
I challenge you: find delight in God on this very day. Don’t waste the precious hours that have been given to you as a gift from our Holy Father! Delight yourself in communicating with Him. Jesus Christ gave his life to give us the right to be called children of God and to open up the throne room of grace that we might enter in and be heard. Don’t waste that privilege. Find delight in his Word today. David said of God’s word, “it is more to be desired than gold, yes much fine gold and it is sweeter than honey and the honeycomb.” Psalm 19:10. Don’t continue wasting your days going from one mindless pursuit to the next that yield no eternal fruit whatsoever. Find delight in the things that will last for eternity.
This post first appeared at http://drkevinblackwell.com/