Read Acts 13:1-3
1 Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas,Simeon who was called Niger,Lucius of Cyrene,Manaen a member of the court of Herod the ruler,and Saul. 2 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting,the Holy Spirit said,”Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3 Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off. (NRSV)
Some churches are very active. Lots of ideas and programs and activities are publicised. Congregations are invited (pressured?) to participate. People work hard. Things seem to be happening. Though long-term results can be disappointing. After the flurry of activity there is little to show for all the activity.
Christian work is always hard in that we are fighting a powerful adversary. But it is even harder if that work is not birthed in the prompting of the Spirit of God. At Antioch,the work of Saul and Barnabas arose out of such prompting which in turn arose out of sustained attentiveness to God. Here was a church that didn’t just jump on the latest bandwagon nor did something for the sake of looking to be doing something. Here was a church that didn’t object to a couple of its key participants walking out the door.
The work they did was hard but it was fruitful. A bit like Jesus’ work: he didn’t do what others clamoured for him to do. He did only what the Father wanted him to do. And this is the key to all fruitful activity. Being attentive to the heart and mind and will of God and acting on what God tells us to do. A world away from busyness which arises out of a frantic grasping of the latest program or technique.
All our ministry is to be birthed in prayer,not just prayer which asks God to bless what we have already decided upon. Rather prayer that is open to what he may decide upon.