Comedian Brian Regan tells a story about people trying to one-up others with their stories. He explains that he has a “social fantasy” that he wishes he was one of the 12 people who have walked on the moon. How nice it must be, he says, that they can top any story!
It’s one thing to read things, hear things, and even believe things, but it’s something completely different when you experience those things for yourself.
The one with an experience…
- …is never at the mercy of the one with an argument
- …gains the ear of others
- …inspires others to desire a similar experience for themselves
In the case of prayer, I feel bad for those who have heard that God no longer answers prayer, or no longer does the miraculous for His children. I have personally experienced God’s healing power as a direct result of someone praying for me. In fact, I’m alive today because of the prayers of my two grandmothers!
When God answers prayer, it is awesome!
The dictionary defines awesome with three main words: reverence, admiration, and fear. I think we can be a bit more specific with these definitions—
- for saints: reverence
- for seekers: admiration
- for sinners: fear
It is so important for Christians to personally experience the awesome deeds our God has done because we have prayed in the awesome name of Jesus!
A.W. Tozer wrote, “There’s an awesomeness about God which is missing in our day altogether; there’s little sense of admiring awe in the Church of Christ these days.”
I think this is because our prayers are too tame.
The writer of Hebrews tells us about the powerful personal relationship we can have to Almighty God through Jesus Christ. His conclusion is, “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our ‘God is a consuming fire’” (Hebrews 12:28-29).
When Christians pray in the awesome name of Jesus, and God does awesome things in response, the saints stand in reverent worship of Him. God told Moses, “The people you live among will see how awesome is the work that I, the Lord, will do for you,” and David exclaimed, “You answer us with awesome and righteous deeds” (Exodus 34:10; Psalm 65:5).
These awesome answers that we personally experience gain the attention and admiration of seekers. Again, David said, “Come and see what God has done, His awesome deeds for mankind!” (Psalm 66:5).
But God showing up in His awesome strength will also create fear in sinners. The prophet Joel said, “The day of the Lord is an awesome, terrible thing” (Joel 2:11). The righteous judgment of God is awesome, but so is the love of God: “Lord, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant of love with those who love Him and keep His commandments” (Nehemiah 1:5). We need to use the awesomeness of God as a means to tell both sinners and seekers how they can know the awesome love of God.
Remember that Tozer said “there’s little sense of admiring awe in the Church of Christ these days.” So I think we need to pray this, “God, forgive us for expectations of You that are too low.”
I challenge you:
- Let’s pray bolder prayers this year to our awesome God.
- Let’s worship in reverence of His awesome deeds.
- Let’s create a sense of admiration in seekers which will lead them to reverence as saints.
- Let’s address the fear of sinners, and lead them to admiration as seekers, and to reverence as saints.
If you’ve missed any of the messages in our series on prayer called Awesome, you can find all of the messages by clicking here.