Where He Is
"Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you." James 4:8
I was greatly impacted by something I read about the missionary Amy Carmichael. One day she was sitting under a tree in India, studying one of the local dialects. Suddenly, she became aware of a growing sense of His Presence. She felt He was inviting her to come and "sit" with Him, to listen with Him. Listen to the needs of the India she served crying out to Him. "Time stood still. The presence was all that mattered." From that place, Carmichael stepped into a walk with Christ that truly entered into the "fellowship of His sufferings." She said that there were times she could "see," with spiritual eyes, "Jesus kneeling alone in prayer for people she'd been sent to, and she would go and kneel with Him." She entered into, joined Him in His burden.
Here in the west, we are very anxious to have Him come and join us in our burdens, to carry them for us. We know little of joining Him in His. We're expert at bringing Him our list of needs and wants in prayer, but have little desire to listen to what He carries in His heart. We love the idea of His making intercession, praying for us. We don't know much at all about our praying with Him concerning His deep, wrenching desires for the souls and lives of all those around us. And the situations affecting them, imprisoning them, killing them. Chris Tiegreen says, "He has ways of making His heartbeat known to those whose hearts are inclined towards His." Few of us have the heart that will come and "watch and pray with Him." He wants to work His heart into the deepest parts of ours. How deeply has He been able to do that with you and me? How inclined are our hearts to His?
I can't get away from the image of Carmichael "seeing" Jesus praying for the lost of India, and going to join Him in that prayer. We emphasize taking Christ to the lost a great deal. If we bring prayer into it, it's almost always prayer that He will make our efforts bear fruit. I don't think He calls us to such prayer, and too often, when we go out with our message, we do so without His power and presence. We go out in our own. The prayer He calls us to is that which draws our heart into His. Prayer that brings His mind and ways into ours. The yield is true communion and fellowship with Him, a oneness with His life and heart. Our unending committee meetings and strategy sessions will never bring that. They won't make us His living witness. Witnesses living out His purpose. And witnessing is no longer something we do, it's who we are. Ones who know Him in the most intimate ways. We don't just give testimonies about what He's done for us, and keep score sheets concerning the response. We are the living testimony as to who He is. This can only come about one way; by our entering into His burden, His life, His heart. There is only one path to that place, and it goes by way of His cross.
I love to pray and have fellowship with Him, but I'm humbled by the level of prayer and fellowship with Him that I see in what was Amy Carmichael's life. I know I've rarely, if ever entered into that place with Him. But I want to. Do you? A young girl once asked Carmichael what the life of a missionary was like. She answered, "Missionary life is simply a chance to die." Dying to all that is not Him in order to live to, for, and in, all that is Him. He invites us to come into His burden, to join Him in His intercession. With a broken heart. He intercedes for our churches, our communities, our nations, and their peoples right now. We have many prayer meetings, and we invite Him to join us where we are, and support our prayer agendas there. He bids us come to the only "prayer meeting" that matters, the one where He is. Do we come?