Praying til Pentecost Day 37
"To those He presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God. Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, 'Which' He said, 'you heard from Me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.' " Acts 1:3-5
One of the least popular rooms in the hospital is the waiting room. It is filled with nervous people and anxious thoughts. Those who enter into its four walls have been told to go there, and sit until someone comes to get them, to give them further news or to provide additional instructions. It always seems to be a place stocked with ancient magazines, bad coffee, and uncomfortable chairs. It is not a place that a person would choose to hang out unless they were forced by intimidating circumstances to do so. This room does not have the winsomeness of a Barnes and Noble easy chair, or a Starbuck's couch. It is not a place that people enjoy, and it always looks best in the rear view mirror.
Whenever I make a trip to the doctor or the dentist, I can always count on a lengthy period of time spent in a room the office manager has set aside for the purpose of waiting. I'm not exactly sure what the appointment time was all about. When I get that little card from the receptionist, I am always amused at the specific time that is written on it. When I call the physicians office or web site to double check on the time of my appointment, I am always urged to be there 15 minutes early. I am reminded that the doctor does not like to be kept waiting. Well, at least we both agree on something. I do not look on my little appointment card as a promissory note that can be cashed in the bank of punctuality. It is, at best, a shot in the dark at when the doctor will actually invite me to enter into his presence. I can always count on the waiting room.
Waiting is one of God's favorite courses in the School of Prayer. It is not an advanced class for the elite students. It is as basic as learning the ABC's before starting kindergarten. When you first learn to parrot the letters of the alphabet, you have no idea that slurring the syllables of ELLOMENNOPEE means you have just arrived at class and begun to learn how to spell the word pray.
When the Risen Lord ascended into Heaven, He commanded His disciples to return to Jerusalem and wait. Luke's account says, "When they entered into the city, they went up to the upper room where they were staying...these all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer..." Acts 1:13-14
After the disciples experienced the departure of Jesus, they went back to the city, and began to pray for the promise of the Father. They were waiting and praying. They were in the right place, and they were doing the right thing. They had been obedient to what the Risen Lord had told them to do.
Power seeks a vacuum. That is an obscure way of saying that when something needs to be done, someone will always step up and do something whether it is the right thing or not. People are mobilized by the urgency behind the phrase, "Don't just stand there...Do something!" I love Ron Dunn's book, "Don't Just Stand There Pray Something." That is what they were told to do, and yet, it did not take Peter long before he kicked into large and in charge mode, and turned a prayer meeting into a business meeting.
Peter looked at the assignment that the eleven had been given. "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth." (Acts 1:8) After mulling this over in prayer for a while, Peter thought he had a plan. He said, "Therefore it is necessary that of the men who have accompanied us...one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection." (Acts 1:21-22) It was not an evil plan, but it was just not God's plan. Peter had done the math, and somehow figured out that if they added one more man to the mix, and rounded out their number so that they could be The Twelve again, then they could carry out the program of world evangelization that they had been given to do.
If Peter was the Rock, and James and John the Sons of Thunder, then Matthias should be nicknamed, "The Who?" Thomas was tagged as the doubting disciple. Matthias could be called the disappearing disciple. Peter had presumed that a little prayer had given him insight into God's game plan for reaching the world with the message of the resurrection. He hit on a plan, but he had not received The Promise. The power that the disciples needed would not be a result of adding one more man to their team roster. They didn't need something man made, but someone God given. They needed the Holy Spirit, and Matthias was a poor substitute for a winning witnessing strategy.
Waiting on God often creates more anxiety before it delivers on the promise of the Father. Waiting brings a person to the end of their resources, and clarifies their need for what only the Father can do. The word W.A.I.T. can be described as WITHOUT ANXIETY, I TRUST. Praying places your need in God's hands. Waiting keeps it there until God delivers on His promise. Taking the problem back into your own hands will rob you of R.E.S.T. For praying and waiting to produce the right fruit, you must RELEASE EVERY SINGLE THING into the hands of God, and keep your hands off of them. Resist the urge to fix something with a premature plan and give God the credit for it.