While they were worshipping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”
They were in the middle of worshipping when the Holy Spirit spoke clearly. They had not come with an agenda, nor were they in the middle of a committee meeting, but they were together to enjoy the presence of the Lord. They were not seeking guidance necessarily. But they got it.
They got what God wanted to do next.
The note at the bottom of the page of my Bible says this: “Paul’s first missionary journey did not result from a planning session but from the Spirit’s initiative as the leaders worshipped.”
I love this!!
They were worshipping, and God breaks in and speaks. The Holy Spirit told them to commission the two men to set out on a journey. This is clear in verse 4: “The two of them, sent on their way by the Holy Spirit, went down to Seleucia and sailed from there to Cyprus.”
What if all of us, at all levels of the church, from our own personal time with the Lord during the day, to the larger groups of layers that make up the church, were to do this more often?
What if we were to set aside our planning lists, our agendas, our ideas for programming, and instead, seek the presence of the Lord through worship? What might we hear?
Might we hear ideas straight from the heart of God through the Holy Spirit? Might we, in a spirit of yielded love to our Jesus, while we still and quiet ourselves in his presence, be able to more clearly know what His agenda is?
In our days of racing and rushing and full-on calendars, I sometimes wonder, in the spirit of the Mary & Martha story, what Jesus would actually have us do? Is he more concerned about us serving Him, or more concerned about us knowing Him? Is he more pleased with our programs and outreach projects, or more pleased by our willingness to come and sit at His feet and listen?
I know that when I take the time to come before the Lord and enjoy worship music, and prayer (as a dialogue, not a monologue) with Jesus, that my heart is softened. My problems, my doubts, my concerns seem to slip away and His presence comes to stir and to comfort me. I am more open to what He might be saying. Especially when I take time to ask Him.
So friends, let’s ask.
But first, let’s just choose to be in His presence. Let’s worship – let’s sing, let’s celebrate who He is through praise and thanksgiving. Let’s not bring our own agenda just yet. Let’s just ask for His.