And He said to them, "It is written,'My house shall be called a house of prayer,’…”
Matthew 21:13 NKJV

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I Walked Among Crowds of Worshipers

Pastor Gary Stebbins
Church on the Rock - Melbourne

The introduction to Psalm 42 says that it was written for the choir director. Perhaps it was intended as a song expressing the cry of the human heart. “As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God.” (Psa 42:1, NLT)

We live in a world that has become very sensual and the heart of man ‘longs after’ many things that this life has to offer. Can I say that my heart ‘longs after’ God more than the many other desires that I have? The psalmist goes on … "I thirst for God, the living God. When can I go and stand before him?” (Psa 42:2, NLT)

The writer of this Psalm not only ‘longs for’ God, but has an overwhelming desire to experience the very presence of God. “When can I go and stand before him?” There is no sense of shame or guilt, or even fear of standing before God, simply an overwhelming desire to experience the grace and love of God. God is a holy God who cannot tolerate sin, but He is also a God of great love and compassion.

“Day and night I have only tears for food, while my enemies continually taunt me, saying, "Where is this God of yours?" My heart is breaking as I remember how it used to be: I walked among the crowds of worshipers, leading a great procession to the house of God, singing for joy and giving thanks amid the sound of a great celebration! (Ps 42:3-4, NLT)

In the middle of the his despair, the writer gives us a picture of how much he enjoyed going up to the house of God to worship with other believers. These were times of great joy, filled with expectation at the thought of worshipping God together with others whose hearts also ‘long for’ Him.

As I read Psalm 42, my cry was, “God cause my heart to long for you more than for anything else that this life has to offer.” Not only that, “God cause me to desire to worship you with other men and women who love your presence.”

The more I make time in my life to pray and to read God’s Word, the greater the longing I find in my heart to know God. I also find a growing desire, not just for my own private times of prayer and worship, but a desire to worship God together with others. As I take time to attend prayer meetings and corporate times of worship, like the MyHOP meetings, I find my heart desiring to spend time praying and worshiping God with others. As King David said …
I was glad when they said to me, "Let us go to the house of the Lord.
(Ps 122:1, NLT)

We are saved as individuals but called to live life together with the community of believers. There is a growing expectation in my heart that as we continue to gather together for prayer and worship, we are going to see a great outpouring of God’s presence and power.

How about you? What longings do you find in your heart? Is your longing for God growing stronger than the many other longings you might have? How about your desire to gather together with others to worship God?