The following article is a guest post by Pastor Bob Hemphill. Bob is a RPCNA minister and church planter who recently retired after decades of service. He is the author of the Windmill Pete series of books for children.
How long, O LORD, will I call for help and you will not hear? I cry out to you, ‘Violence!’ Yet you do not save.” -Habakkuk 1:2
The prophet cries for help in the manner of the Psalm writers. However, it is not a personal problem he brings to the Lord. He is asking God to deal with sin in Judah, to discipline and purify God’s people.
Can you find anywhere in the Bible the typical prayer of so many of us pastors and members of churches, a prayer for God to add people and make the church bigger? I don’t think so.
The prayers of believers in the Bible, when it comes to Christ’s Church, are either of the Habakkuk type – Lord, purify us, cleanse us, turn our hearts back to you, cause us to bring glory to your name; or they are of the Apostle Paul type – Lord, save the lost, cause them to repent and believe, bring them into your kingdom, write them in the book of life (see Romans 10:1 for example).
The prayers of the Bible are never the selfish “Lord, make us more comfortable” types, but are always unselfish. You hear either “Lord, save people from their sins and bring them into a blessed relationship with you” or “Lord, let your name be glorified.”
People are not saved and God is not glorified by more Christians leaving one church, making it smaller, and going to another church, making it bigger. But God is glorified when his Church becomes more holy,righteous, humble, merciful and Christ-like, and when people are truly brought out of darkness into his marvelous light.
Let us pray for, and put our efforts into, reforming the Church and spreading the good news.