Spirit of Grace Ministries
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Seeking the Lord

By Setting Aside Time with Him

praying teen

by Dennis Pollock

To be a Christian is to be a God-seeker. We who are in Christ are never content to passively go through life hoping that God may sovereignly choose to occasionally intervene in our circumstances. When we desire the grace-interventions of our God we make a deliberate effort to “seek the Lord,” to call out to Him in the name of Jesus for His mercy and kindness to be made manifest in our lives and situations. And we find that He does!

The concept of “seeking the Lord” is one of the major themes of the Scriptures. We learn that the failure to seek God is a great indictment against sinners. The Psalms declare, “The wicked in his proud countenance does not seek God; God is in none of his thoughts” (Psalms 10:4). Jesus tells us that askers receive and seekers find. This is a tremendous encouragement for those who will dare to take Him at His word. All that our hearts desire, which is within the boundaries of the will of God, we can have if only we will seek, if only we will knock on heaven’s door patiently, persistently, and in faith. In 1 Chronicles, the Scriptures proclaim: “Let the hearts of those rejoice who seek the LORD! Seek the LORD and His strength; seek His face evermore!” (1 Chronicles 16:10, 11). Throughout the Old Testament, we find the landscape dotted with examples of the Biblical heroes seeking God and receiving positive, divine responses.

Kill Them All!”

One example relates to Nebuchadnezzar’s outrageous demand that all his counselors and advisors be killed. The highly volatile king had dreamed a vivid and strange dream, and to make sure he got the right interpretation, he insisted that his closest counselors and “magicians” not only interpret the dream, but first tell him exactly what he had dreamed. The men protested that this was never asked of counselors and advisors, and that he was asking the impossible. The king would have none of it, and insisted that unless someone could come forward and tell him both the dream itself, and its proper interpretation, they would all be executed.

At this time Daniel was just a young man, and although he was considered a king’s counselor, he was nowhere near the highest tier. His three friends were also counted among the number of counselors. They would all die if something was not done quickly. Knowing that their lives were on the line, Daniel did what always comes natural to men and women of God in a crisis – he determined to seek the Lord. The Bible says:

Then Daniel went to his house, and made the decision known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions, that they might seek mercies from the God of heaven concerning this secret, so that Daniel and his companions might not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon (Daniel 2:17-18).

These men did not pray polite little, “Lord bless me,” prayers. They determined to seriously seek God and prayed fervently to the One who changes destinies and circumstances at His pleasure. God heard their prayers and that night it was Daniel who had a dream. He dreamed exactly what the king had dreamed previously, and was given insight as to its meaning. He went to the king and told him both what he had dreamed and its interpretation, and the king was so impressed he fell on his face before the young prophet. Not only was Daniel’s life spared, but he was promoted, given lavish gifts, and made chief administrator over the entire province of Babylon. Tremendous blessings are released when men and women seek God with all their hearts! We who belong to Christ must believe this, for it is written, “…for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6).

“Fast for Me”

Another Old Testament example of the benefits of seeking the Lord is found in the life of Esther. In the short book that bears her name we read of a wicked man named Haman, who took it upon himself to destroy the whole of the Jewish people throughout the kingdom of the Medes and Persians. He was successful in prevailing on the king to establish a day when the enemies of the Jews would be given free reign by the government to slaughter the Jews throughout the land. Esther was a Jew and was at this time the queen, but was in fact one of many wives taken by King Ahasuerus. Her cousin Mordecai told her that she must go before the king and plead for her people.

The problem was that the king had not sent for her for about a month. It was a strict break in protocols for anyone, including the queen, to suddenly appear uninvited before the king. In fact it was a death sentence, unless the king decided to show mercy by extending his golden scepter. The fact that the king had not called for her in so long bothered pretty, young Esther. Was he angry with her? Had he come to prefer one of his other wives over her? Was she on the way out? And yet Mordecai firmly told her that it was her duty to go to the king and plead for the Jews. It was a scary thought.

Esther knew she must do her duty. She must go to the king, invitation or no invitation. But before making this bold move she wrote her mentor:

Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish! (Esther 4:16).

Prayer is not mentioned here, but it is surely implied. Fasting and prayer are the “tools of the trade” for believers, particularly when they are in crisis situations. And Esther is not content with a prayer contract between her and Mordecai. She wants as many people as possible drawn into this time of seeking the Lord. She tells Mordecai: “Gather all the Jews in Shushan and fast for me.” We can assume that this is precisely what Mordecai did. And she also has her maids pray and fast with her. But she will not limit her actions to prayer and fasting. After seeking the Lord she will gather her courage and go to the king about this matter. And, she declares bravely, “If I perish, I perish.”

After these three days of fasting and prayer, Esther goes to the king and is received warmly. When she later reveals to him that Haman wants her and her people killed, it is the end for Haman, and his plot unravels. In fact, on the day that he assumed the Jews would be expunged from the earth, the Jews, under the king’s authority and encouragement, defend themselves vigorously, and are able to wipe out many of their enemies. Those three days of prayer and fasting surely resulted in great things! The few meals that were skipped were more than worth it, and brought about the survival of God’s chosen people, leading eventually to the birth of the Messiah, Jesus, who would be born to a young Jewish girl named Mary many generations later.

Quality Time

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Both in the Esther and the Daniel accounts, the seeking of the Lord which brought about such amazing blessings did not involve a short one-time prayer, uttered perhaps with a thanks to God before one of their meals. And this brings us to one of the fundamental truths about seeking the Lord. Seeking God is never accomplished by little quickie one-sentence prayers. It’s not that short prayers are wrong or can never bring about results. But there are surely times when we must determine to spend quality time seeking the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. And in many situations, that seeking and praying will need to be accompanied with fasting. Also, there must be a putting off of the distractions of this world. In our generation, this can mean that we must, upon occasion, turn off our televisions, put our phones in the silent mode, and put our computers to sleep. We must learn to set aside quality times, hours, and days to be with God and wait on Him for a response to the cries and desires of our hearts.

In the 1940’s and 50’s Oral Roberts seemed to spearhead the healing revival that swept America and many parts of the world. The story of how Oral was launched into his healing ministry has always been fascinating to me. Even though he was a Pentecostal pastor, he did not feel that he had the anointing to begin a healing ministry. Somehow he lacked something, and he knew that until he had what he lacked, the healing ministry would always be an unfulfilled dream to him. Like Daniel of old, Oral did what men and women of God do when facing situations where only God can provide the breakthrough. Oral sought the Lord.

His seeking involved three major components. First, he felt led to read through the gospels and the book of Acts again and again. Second, he prayed far more than usual. And third, he fasted – a lot! He told his wife not to assume that he was going to eat for any given meal. Many meals he would skip, and then he would eat a meal to keep up his strength. Before long he would be fasting again. So serious was he in his desperation and fasting that he lost 40 pounds and went from a size 46 suit to a 38. At last he got on his face before God and told the Lord he was not going to get up until he heard from Him. He prayed until he could pray no longer and then lay on the floor silently waiting for a word from the Lord. After a season of quietness the voice came to him: "From this hour you shall have My power to heal the sick and to cast out demons." The rest is history.

Some might wonder, “Why didn’t he just pray a short prayer, claim this ministry by faith, and go about his business?” There are times to pray short prayers and claim answers, but there are also going to be times when we must plan on soaking in God’s presence and waiting before Him for hours, or if need be days as we call on Him and watch for His response.

Appointment with God

The church began in a seeking-God service. Jesus told His disciples to wait for the promise of the Father, and as they were waiting you can believe that they were doing some serious praying. The Bible tells us, “These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication…” (Acts 1:14). For days they waited, they prayed, and most likely they did some fasting as well. They were well rewarded for their time spent. On the Day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit fell upon them, and “they were all filled with the Holy Spirit.” Divine power was given, and neither they nor the church would ever be the same. God was, and is, a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

Business men and women have always had some form of scheduler. In earlier days, it may have simply been a small tablet with appointments written in pencil. Today we have apps and various calendars on our phones which tell us the exact times of our meetings and appointments. This is done so that people will keep their schedules open for that window of time, and not allow any other activities to encroach and distract them from what they need to be doing at that time.

For the followers of Jesus Christ, we, too, must schedule appointments – divine appointments with our Creator. We must set aside blocks of time, and sometimes certain days for seeking the Lord. We must do the calling. He will not do our calling for us. We do this in faith, fully believing that there are rewards for this seeking, that it is the seekers who become the finders, it is the knockers who have the doors opened for them, and it is the askers who become the receivers. The cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ have opened the windows of heaven to all who call on God in the name of His Son. Once you receive Jesus by faith, start seeking Him. You will not be disappointed.


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