By Clay Gilbreath
Director of missions, Big Hatchie Baptist Association, Covington
Have you ever had a home that needed renovation? Maybe you bought a fixer-upper, or like me, perhaps you have lived in your current home long enough that it now has several updates or refreshes that need to be done. It’s just a matter of time before things need an update or repair. Full transparency here: I think the beige walls from when we built our home 17 years ago are just fine — it’s actually my wife Lana who thinks it’s time to renovate!
But of all the honey-dos, repairs and fix-ups that she has on my list, there’s one area of our home that Lana has yet to mention that could really use an update: our closets. When we built years ago, the closets were the rooms with basic white paint, standard trim and no decorations. Now these are the rooms with the most scuffs and dings and, to be honest, probably the least attractive spaces in our house.
For most of us with ongoing home renewal and renovation, I believe the closets may not get much attention even though they could very well be the rooms in our homes that have the most need for updating.
You know where I am going with this, right? In our spiritual “home” is there any greater room than the prayer closet? I think about the Kendrick Brothers movie, War Room, where the hero of the story is a little lady with a literal prayer closet — a place of refuge where she valiantly fought spiritual battles for those she loved and those she met — wrestling in prayer and meeting with God. What an inspiring movie that calls us back to the priority of prayer! I am moved every time I watch near the end of the movie as she prays fervently: “Raise them up Lord, raise them up!”
When I think of believers’ and church’s many needs as we continue to reel from the pandemic, as we seek to gain ministry traction after so many disruptions, as we need God to revive our land, as we face more and more pressure from a culture and society that opposes biblical values, it can be quite overwhelming. Believers everywhere know that through all this God is getting our attention, calling us to reset and recommit, and preparing the bride of Christ for the coming days.
So where do we start? What do we do?
Enhance our worship experiences? That is a desire for many of our churches, and quite a need.
Exhort the nominal Christian? There’s another widespread problem — the lack of discipleship and sacrificial commitment to Christ is staggering.
Encourage the saints to be on the front lines? So needed — now is not the time to cower and run.
Evangelize the lost? I believe this is always our top priority, 100 percent.
But perhaps the Lord is also calling us to renewal in an often neglected area, the Christian discipline that can often be just an after-thought but in reality it is the one thing that must undergird all other efforts — the call to be people of prayer.
I don’t know about you, but I am certain for me that an area of my spiritual house in need of renovation is my prayer closet. It has been neglected and minimized too long. It literally is the war room where battles are won, and where God gives victory and clarity and direction for the future.
Have you seen a renewed focus on prayer during the pandemic? I have. Churches are returning to actual “prayer meetings” during midweek services, crying out to God for their communities and our land.
Men and women, boys and girls are seeking the Lord’s help, guidance and comfort.
Churches, pastors, deacons and laymen alike are finding that we just cannot go on without seriously seeking the guidance and provision of heaven.
If you are reading this, you very likely believe in prayer.
Throughout Scripture we read about it and are exhorted to practice it. Could it be that finally there is a movement of Christians everywhere to actually pray fervently to our Lord in eagerness and expectancy for Him to do what only He can do? I believe it is our best and only hope to see revival.
So let’s renovate those prayer closets — clean them up and use them again. Let’s cry out in utter dependence on Christ. Let’s be amazed at how our God answers our prayers. B&R