A photograph of a police officer holding a toddler in his arms went viral across social media in September 2015. Behind the police officer lay the wreck of the child’s family car. Her father died in that crash, and the impact severely injured her mother. The collision threw her siblings from the vehicle. It was a horrific scene. The police officer understood the child didn’t need to see that. And so he sang to her, keeping her focus on him and not her circumstances.
That picture came to mind a few months later on the Sunday morning that directly followed the terrorist attacks in Paris and Beirut in 2015. My ride to church cancelled that week, due to health issues. And so, I joined with other believers from across the world in worship via livestream. I had spent the previous 36 hours providing prayer tips and strategies through my Social Media ministry and website.
Hebrews 12:2a -“Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith.”
I needed to focus on the goodness of God, and so did everyone else in that chat area. The vast majority of us were there to worship Christ, refresh our spirits, and listen to the word. We weren’t ignoring the news; we were putting it in its proper place.
We must understand and focus on God’s attributes if we are to be effective in prayer
A discontented person announced his presence in the chat area. He made it very clear he was dismayed that the service did not begin with a prayer for the victims of the horrific attacks in Paris and Beirut. The times called for intercession and he felt worship was secondary. Action was needed!
I tactfully suggested to my brother in Christ that he should bring his grievances to the leadership team of the church whose services we were taking part in. Expressing his displeasure to a group of people who didn’t attend the church in question would not be effective. I provided him with an email address where he could tell the church exactly how they should run their services. He then admitted the church had blocked his email address. His news didn’t surprise me, but I digress. When he realised he would not get much of a response, he disappeared.
That morning, the worship team deliberately led us in declarations of God’s goodness, glory and worthiness. Although I was thousands of miles away, the atmosphere changed in my apartment. My fellow online worshippers sensed the same breakthrough in their hearts. Worship dispelled fear; hope was rising. We ushered hopelessness and speculation out of the room. I could almost feel the gentle fingers of my Heavenly Father under my chin, lifting my head, so my focus remained on him and not on international news. His attention was on me, and He invited me to give him the same measure of attention.
2 Corinthians 4:17-18 – “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”
At the end of worship, the church leadership called us to intercede. Our intercession was powerful, intense, and targeted. We prayed from a position of assurance of God’s power and an understanding of His heart. There was no fear in our prayers, and there were no political agendas promoted. Our fellow chatter had missed one benefit of worship. It’s an essential ingredient in spiritual warfare. The seasoned intercessors in our midst knew beyond any doubt that our undivided attention on God and our whole-hearted worship gave us all we needed to craft effective prayer.
God is not an insecure egomaniac, feeding off the attention of his children. However, he does know that if he is to lead us through the difficult times that lay ahead, we must fix our gaze on him. Time spent on focusing on earthly circumstances should be brief compared to our time spent in his presence. Don’t be surprised if you feel God’s gentle hand lifting your face so you can focus on His heart in the coming days.
Examine how you spend your time in prayer. Do you concentrate on your problems than on God? Consider going to my YouTube channel’s worship playlists or create a playlist of your own. Begin your prayer time with worship. Your faith will grow as you focus on God’s attributes.
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All Bible verses attributed to the ESV version unless otherwise indicated.
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Until Next Week,
©2020 Katherine Walden