For the last seven days, I have been one of more than 110,000 people around the world who joined Anne Graham Lotz in praying for spiritual awakening in America. The Holy Spirit gave Anne anointed prayers for us to pray on July 1-6 as we sought God in repentance for spiritual renewal. Yesterday, Anne gave us a guide for seven hours to spend in fasting and prayer for ourselves and our nation.
Here's what I learned: it's all about Jesus.
You already knew that, I'm sure. You knew that human words cannot change human hearts, that you and I cannot convict a single person of a single sin or save a single soul. You knew that America desperately needs moral and spiritual renewal before it's too late, and that only Jesus can bring about such a transformation. So did I.
But here's what God made clear to me as I spent yesterday with him: if we are to be used by the Spirit as catalysts for awakening, we must seek Jesus' glory, not ours. We must lead people to him, not to us. We must take Jesus into every circumstance and make him the central character of every conversation. Every church event and program must lead people to experience Jesus. Every sermon must lead people to encounter him. Everything we do must be a means to the end of bringing people to Jesus.
He is already at work, drawing the world to himself. Jesus is "the true light, which gives light to everyone" (John 1:9). At Pentecost, his Spirit was poured out "on all flesh" (Acts 2:17). Before his crucifixion he promised, "I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself" (John 12:32). We often take this to mean that we are to "lift up" or glorify Jesus, which, of course, we are to do. But the next verse explains Jesus' statement: "He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die" (v. 33). When Jesus was crucified, he was "lifted up from the earth." From that moment to this, he has been working to "draw all people to myself."
My wife followed Anne's prayer schedule yesterday as well, and wrote her blog post for today in response. We were amazed at the similarity in our themes: Jesus attracts whenever we exalt him. He is the magnet to all metal, North for every compass. He is God's provision for all need, his comfort for all hurt, his hope in all grief. We must exalt Jesus because it is in his light that we see light; it is in his love that we are loved; it is in his peace that we know peace; it is in his forgiveness that we are forgiven.
When we exalt Jesus, he draws souls to himself. I became a Christian as a teenager because I met Christians and saw something in them I did not have in myself. If I will seek to exalt Jesus and not myself, to make him my King and myself his servant, to stay off his throne and in his will, others will be drawn to the Christ they see in me.
Who will meet Jesus in you today?
Publication date: July 8, 2014