Unless you've been living under a rock for the past few months, you are well aware that this weekend marks the grand opening of Banner Church's new building on Marshall Way in Old Town Scottsdale. Praise the Lord for his unending faithfulness these past several months! We've finally reached the climax of a most important transition in the history of Banner Church.
But the work of the Lord does not end here. God has placed Banner in Old Town for a reason, and that is to be a light in the darkness. In order to shine brightly, the church must burn like a flame for righteousness. Then the world around us might draw near to be warmed by the fire of our worship, and such a fire can be fueled only by fervent prayer.
Why fervent prayer? Scripture puts it this way:
"The fervent prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth." (James 5:16-17)
Just like Elijah, we are limited by our weak and ineffectual human nature. Yet as Christians, we have (miraculous!) access to the power of the Holy Spirit, the Advocate and Helper who resides in our hearts. The Spirit of Christ himself lives in us and through us.
But let us not forget that we are endowed with the power of the Spirit only by virtue of our persevering faith and white-hot desire for God. The Bible informs us that the filling of the spirit is conditioned upon our asking for it with desperate sincerity.
"For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose hearts are completely His." (2 Chronicles 16:9)
"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied." (Matt. 5:6)
As we complete this transition into our permanent building in Old Town, we must resolve to take seriously these conditions. Although we believers have been guaranteed the indwelling of the Spirit, the manifest presence of God--evidenced by divine healings, anointed worship, salvations, and corporate repentance and joy--comes only as the result of fervent prayer and wholehearted devotion to God. As you pray this weekend for the church and for unbelievers in Scottsdale, ask the Lord to make you hunger and thirst for righteousness, and to satisfy you with the only nourishment that can--Himself.