I was recently with several of men who went to a Korean brother to ask about how to stir our churches to pray for our city. We were impressed with the prayer emphasis in Korean churches. Large numbers gather for prayer at 6:00 a.m. or earlier, seven days a week.
This brother was silent for a moment, and then answered, “We do not pray unless we are desperate.”
From there he began to tell us about the roots of revival among Korean churches. This movement of God began with heart broken repentance. One of the elders of the church in Korea stood up at a meeting and publicly confessed that he had stolen money from a missionary. This confession produced a season of repentance in churches throughout the country.
Over the years the Korean people faced hardships of poverty and oppression. The harsh Japanese occupation crushed the people. Then came the communist invasion and the Korean War. Millions of people died. Several hundred thousand families were displaced and divided. People turned to God in those terrible days. Those years of desperate prayer are bearing fruit to this day.
Finally, our Korean American brother pointed out that God has begun to send signals to America concerning our need for prayer. Are we desperate enough to see the signs of God’s judgment and grace before it is too late? Can you list some reasons God is giving us to call us to serious prayer? __________________
A Word from Jesus
A seven day meditation on the letter to the Angel of the church in Leodicia
(These excercises are designed to cultivate desperate prayer.)
Jesus gave the words of Revelation 3:14-22 to a church that needed to recognize its spiritual condition. Studying and meditating on these verses may prepare our hearts to turn to God in this hour of spiritual need. These exercises are set up to take one week. You may benefit by taking more than a week to study and meditate on them.
1. Begin by committing these verses to memory. It is worth the struggle for God to pierce your soul with His word. Spend at least 24 hours going over these verses, thinking about them in every spare moment. Record in a journal or make notes in your Bible the things God impresses on your heart.
DAY TWO (Verse14)
2. What is the significance of Jesus saying, “These are the words of the Amen”? ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
3. Why does Jesus identify Himself as “the faithful and true witness”? ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
4. Is Jesus still the ruler of all God’s creation? ___________________________
5. What authority for your life should you recognize from these words of scripture?_______________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
DAY THREE (Verse15)
6. In verse 15 Jesus says, “I know your deeds.” How thoroughly does your Lord know your heart and life? _________________________________________ Ask Him to reveal things He wants you to see about yourself. Record some of them here. _____________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
7. Rate your spiritual condition on the temperature scale below.
8. What does the Lord mean when He says, “I am about to spit you out of my mouth? What might that mean to us today? ___________________________ _______________________________________________________________
9. Jesus accused this church of saying they were rich, but they were wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked. Take some time to describe what Jesus meant as He applied each of these words to the church.
Wretched ___________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________
Pitiful _____________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________
Poor _______________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________
Blind ______________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________
Naked _____________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________
10. Jesus counsels us to buy from Him “gold refined in the fire.”
1 Peter 1:6,7 says we can rejoice even though we suffer grief in all kinds of trials. “These have come so that your faith-- of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire-- may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”
A Peculiar Blessing
The Lord sends difficulties to purify our spiritual lives. All of us face these things from time to time. Unfortunately, we sometimes miss their benefit. Here are four principles for getting God’s blessing from crises.
1. Recognize God’s hand in difficulty.
We often miss the benefit of trials because we do not see them as the hand of God. Hebrews 12:7 commands, “Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons.”
We always think troubles are evil, but the Bible teaches that God will use them for good. What troubles came to you today? _________________________ _______________________________________________________________
Did you recognize the gracious hand of God in them? ______
2. Submit to difficulty as God’s grace.
When troubles come we kick and scream, and resist them. Our Lord did not. In the garden before He was to be crucified Jesus prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” Paul recognized in 2 Corinthians 12 that his physical trial was given to keep him from being conceited about his spirituality. Paul had prayed three times for the “thorn in his flesh” to be removed. The Lord answered, “My grace is enough for you.” So Paul said he would rejoice in weakness, because it meant God’s grace would rest on him.
Do you need to stop resisting something God wants to use in your life? ______________________________________________________________
3. Depend on difficulty to bear fruit in your life.
Romans 8:28 says “We know” that God will work all things together for good in our lives. Hebrews 12:11 promises that discipline produces righteousness and peace in those who have been trained by it. Will you trust God to use trials to produce spiritual fruit in your life?
What do you think God wants to do through the trials you are now facing?______ _____________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________
What do you think God might be doing with the trials your family or your church faces?_______________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________
4. Rejoice in God’s discipline.
James chapter 1 tells us to consider trials to be pure joy because of what God will use them to do in our lives.
What is your attitude toward the things God is using in you life? ________ __________________________________________________________________
Are you offering a joyful witness to people around you of God’s grace in the midst of trials? ____________
11. (Rev.3:18, continued) Next Jesus counsels us to buy white clothes to cover our shameful nakedness.
What should you be ashamed of before God? _____________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Do you remember what Adam and Eve did when they realized they were naked in Genesis chapter 3? They tried to cover themselves with fig leaves. But God made coverings for them out of animal skins. You cannot cover your own spiritual shame. Only God can cover your sins with His righteousness. In Revelation 7, an angel identifies people wearing white robes as those who come out of the great tribulation with their clothes washed in the blood of Jesus.
Take some time to confess what you need Jesus to cleanse in your life. You can trust God to forgive and cleanse you from any sin (1 John 1:9).
12. We need eye salve to heal our spiritual eyes. In Psalm 119:18 David prayed, “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.” Spiritual blindness is a common problem in the church. And tragically, we often don’t even know we cannot see. Many things keep us from seeing what God is trying to show us. We don’t see because of pride. We do not see because of sin in our lives. We do not see because of our desires that blind us to God’s will. What keeps you from seeing God’s will and work around you? ______ _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
13. Note that all three of these things are to be purchased. We must desire them enough to pay whatever they costs us.
What will it cost for your spiritual eyes to be opened? ________________ __________________________________________________________________
While grace is free, it will cost you something to receive it. It cost Jesus everything to take away your sins. What will you have to give up to seek His forgiveness? _______________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________
Are you willing to endure hardship, for God to work in your life? _______
14. “Be earnest and repent.” (Verse19)
Are you serious enough about the things God has been telling you to make adjustments in your life. What is the first thing God wants you to change? __________________________________________________________________
15. What does it mean for Jesus to eat with you and you with Him? ___________
16. Jesus is knocking at the door of your church. His presence can be frightening. You will no longer be in control. What do you think intimacy with Him will mean to your church ____________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
17. What will you have to overcome to walk in fellowship with Jesus? ________ _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
18. What will it mean to share His throne? _______________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
19. What does it mean to have spiritual ears? _____________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
20. This letter was directed to the angel or messenger who would speak to the church in Laodicea. Jesus concludes by saying “Let anyone who has ears, hear.” Do you know someone who might be willing to hear what God has been saying to you? Are you willing to talk to them about this?
After you have done this seven day meditation You may wish to lead a small group to pray together over these verses. Here is a guide you may use to pray through a scripture passage.
1. Say to the people, “Listen for a word, concept, or verse that strikes you as this passage is read.”
2. Read the scripture aloud.
3. Have each person share what struck them in these verses.
4. Have the people listen as the passage is read a second time. (It is good to have a different person read this time.) Tell the participants to think about what God would have them pray.
5. Go around the room again letting the people share what they think God would have them pray. After each person shares, ask the person before to pray for that person. Explain that they are not necessarily to pray for that persons requests but for the person.
6. After the one before has prayed, ask the person pray for the concerns that came to mind in the passage.
7. After each person prays, ask if anyone has a prayer to add to that persons prayer. Often another person’s prayer will speak to someone in the group. Let them pray before you go on to the next person.
8. After everyone has prayed, lead the group to sing something quiet and worshipful.
9. Finally, ask people to share what they believe God is saying. This will help them confirm God’s word to His people.