Yesterday was the middle of church planting week at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. A chance for missional leaders to beat the drum for twenty-somethings to invest their lives in a church planting movement. I met briefly with one student who is going to make a huge impact for God in his generation.
But he is also a part of a generation that has a mesmerizing, sometimes paralyzing number of options and opportunities. There are so many things to do, and so many ways to do them, and so many groups with which to do them that it is sometimes difficult for them to make decisions. Twenty to thirty years ago, almost everyone who graduated from seminary wanted to get a church and be a senior pastor. Today almost no one does. Most want to be an associate for five years or more or a youth pastor for ten but they don’t feel like they know enough, or have enough experience, or have the “big shoulders” for the senior pastor position.
Complexity of life breeds a tentative air in the soul.
There is much to analyze about the whole situation including the wisdom or lack of it in the senior pastor position. But I want to suggest that the most critical ingredient to moving forward with confidence for all those who are mired in indecisiveness in their decisions, is going to be prayer. Please keep reading. I know that now that the topic is breached most will say, “Well yeah, of course, I know that. Got that. I understand that. What else do I need?”
I’m not so sure you (we) do “understand it.”
“Whoever wrestles with God in prayer puts his whole life at stake.”
(Prayer and Modern Man, p. 161)
Prayer isn’t a task to perform, or a formula to embrace, or a magic potion, or a waterless baptism of methods, or a presumptive blessing we pronounce over our agenda and plans. It is the vital communication line with the master of our destinies. Prayer and what it leads to is a dangerous paradise. There is no place you would rather be than in paradise, but the paradise of God is dangerous. It will cost you everything. Ellul is right. When you ask God for his will to be done in your life, through your life, your whole life is at stake.
It is serious business to wrestle with almighty God. But wrestle with God we must.
Get away and do it. Plan a day. Keep it simple. Take your Bible a pen, a journal. Leave your phone behind. You don’t need it to talk to God. But He wants your undistracted ear to talk to you. Cry out to Him. Plead with Him. Beg Him. Tell Him you want the pearl of great price. Tell Him you want Him. Tell Him you want to drink from the same cup as Him and when He tells you that you don’t know what you are asking, tell Him you want to learn. Pant for Him. Yearn for Him. And if you find your heart cold, and weary, and dry, and passionless, weep and cry out the louder.
God will give you direction when you know that your whole life is at stake and you don’t care. You want Him no matter what the cost.
And while you are at it, pray for more workers who will yearn for holiness and Savior. Pray for me as well, that my yearning for the Savior would grow not ebb in my remaining years.