I want to show you something. Look over there. Yes, that little old lady hobbling into the church for the prayer meeting. There she is. Modestly dressed and slightly hunched.
But, look again! Suddenly you get a “flash of insight” and she looks like Rambo: a hunting knife clenched between her teeth, a bandoleer of bullets strapped diagonally across her chest, an automatic rifle at the ready in her hands, a bazooka strapped over one shoulder, a string of grenades encircles her waist.
You know what? That may well be how God sees a lot of obscure prayer warriors. Hang on to that thought.
The other day I read, “Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive …”(John 7:37-39 ESV)
Rivers of living water flowing out of us when the Spirit resides within! What does it look like when those rivers really flow?
Do we agitate our arms and shout in the name of Jesus at the limits of our voice? Do we take on a preacher tone of voice and pray until the back rows tremble and hearts say, “A great man has prayed!”
Do we walk to the offering plate and, like a wide receiver spiking the ball in the end zone, put in enough money to make the King of Siam jealous?
Rivers Or Trickles?
I’ve got two feelings about these “rivers” that flow out of me.
The Spirit really is within me but I often have the feeling that these rivers are more of a trickle from my heart. How can I get the mighty rivers flowing? –Clean out the blockages from the stream. –Get a better connection with the Source. –Flow has to go somewhere. Win the lost. Serve you brother and sister. Be there for others when they need a rock. Let God work through you in a greater way.
But maybe the water is flowing more powerfully than we think. Remember the dangerous little old lady from the first paragraph? When she prays, heaven trembles and things change. God may see you differently than you see yourself.
You prayed for that neighbor.
You listened to that friend.
You showed up to church when you were tired and also irritated about something. The others needed to see you. They draw strength from your presence.
You praised God in the morning, noon and evening.
You gave to meet that need.
You forgave when you wanted to take revenge.
You prayed with your children. And for them.
You were there for that needy person. You listened to that endless tale when you wanted to scream.
You resisted the overpowering urge to contribute that juicy morsel to the gossipy conversation about an absent person.
What a River Looks Like
You see, our world doesn’t always SEE what goes on in invisible, heavenly places. What seems like a bare trickle to our senses may be a crashing Niagara from God’s vantage point.
We think that when we preach in another country, or give our body to be burned or give away all our money, or manifest powerful spiritual gifts, rivers are flowing. They are. But that’s not the only time.
Here’s what the Lord says those rivers look like when they pour out of our heart:
“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” 1 Cor. 13:4-7, NLT)
I suspect the fact that it’s “rivers of living water” flowing out of our inmost being means that the Spirit flows from each of us in a different way, some more exciting than others. But, when we’re full of Jesus, flow He does!
Hmmm … “New research from pastor and Christian researcher Ryan Burge finds that the number of people who identify themselves as evangelicals who attend church regularly continues to drop, with 26.7 percent saying they seldom or never go to church. About 13.5 percent of self-identified evangelicals say they go to church “yearly,” bringing the number of evangelicals who go to church once a year or less to about 40.2 percent.” Hmmm …