Action Is Not the Essence

Here are the first quarter front-liners in corporate prayer at Bethlehem. I praise God for putting it in their hearts to make this 90 day commitment. May he fill us with joy in fulfilling this pledge!

Sunday Worship Watch

Erik Aasland, Khin Black, Bill & Nancy Blanski, Paul Brecheisen, Bruce Case, Erin Crombie, Edwardo Domenzain, Julie Dzik, Mark & Sandra Dzik, Delrae & Glenn Gerdes, Ed Gracza, Joe Hallett, Bob & Jean Hamlett, Kimberly Hasley, Carole Hawkins, Doug & Patricia Heil, Rachel Hinrichs, Hennie Hinsverk, LeeAnn Hilstrom, Alice Hoffer, Mary Jacobson, Leigh Kincaid, Becky Lindblom, David Livingston, Steve Lodien, Laurie Magers, Robin Maxwell, Joby & Jon Morgan, Bruce Nelson, Linda Nelson, Terry Nelson, Jodelle Olson, Paul Pierson, Dave Plaep, Sheryl Pust, Donna Rasmussen, Debbie Reece, J. David Rose, Kathy Sanderson, Ajani Slaughter, Mary Stieber, Jeff Tonkinson, Tora Torkelson, Julie & Tom Varno, Ann Wilson, Shari Wilson, Jeff Wipf, Meg Zauner

Wednesday Prayer Corps

Marlys Arenson, David Bailey, Bill Blanski, Ron Bohan, Irving Breva Jennifer & Remco Brommet, Connie Colson, Tim Dahl, Margot & Rachael Davis, Muriel & Randy Dunnette, Rod Elofson, Maria & Wayne Erbe, Deloris & Rollin Erickson, Jon & Roseann Fast, Lois Flor, Susan Gardner, Sandra Gerry, Bob Hamlett, Kyle and Sharon Hastings, Margaret & Rollin Lane, David Livingston, Pam Locke, Cheryl & Ted Lupino, Janis Martin, Harold Messer, Jerry Meyer, David Michael, Eileen Miller, Joby & Jon Morgan, Judy & Terry Nelson, Arnold & Beryl Nyquist, Clarence Ohman, Ben & Lee Peterson, John Piper, Maryan Presler, Mark Reasoner, Lollie Sawyer, Joan Schneider, Thomas Schneider, Sibyl Sprinkel, Muriel Sundberg, Greg Swenson, Dean & Sandy Thorpe, Kris Torkelson, Jeanette & Ron Vought, Anne Wallace, Bob Warrick

Before every service on Sunday morning, the platform worship leaders meet for prayer in the prayer room (third floor, east of choir loft) to pray with the Sunday Worship Watch. This is a great encouragement for us who are about to do battle with Satan and sin in the sanctuary. It also lets the “Watch” know how important they are. The staff meets every Wednesday at 7:15 with the Wednesday Prayer Corps to fight spiritually for the battlefronts of the church.

How easy it is to slip into thinking that action is the essence of spiritual warfare, when in fact prayerful faith in God is the essence. Action is crucial, but it must come from faith and ride on faith and aim at faith, or it will be empty. God will not be in it.

The first expression of this faith is prayer. Faith says, “We can’t, but God can.” Then prayer leaps up and says, “So do it, Lord!” Then the Lord may say, “I will do it through you—your word and your action.” Then, and only then, does our action take on spiritual power. Before that we are building on sand.

This is true in the fight against abortion. Counseling and picketing and legislating and rescuing must come from prayerful faith and ride on prayerful faith and aim to win prayerful faith from saved babies and moms and clinic operators and police and rescuers and those who see.

Without this spiritual dimension we are simply being diverted from what counts eternally. Babies are important before God because their relationship to God is important. If our fight for them is not sustained by our relationship to God—if our risking for them is not an overflow of rejoicing in him, then it is not what the Bible calls love. It is a noisy gong and clanging cymbal.

It is also true for the building of a new sanctuary. Even here in all these practical, nitty gritty decisions and actions the essence of the matter is not action but prayerful faith. “Unless the Lord builds the house those who build it labor in vain.” (Psalm 127:1) “In vain”—not in the sense that the house is not built. Many unbelievers build houses. “In vain”—in the sense that God’s blessing is not on it. His counsel and power are withdrawn.

O what a tragedy that would be! So whether we are rescuing babies, or building a new sanctuary—or whatever we are doing, let us remember that action is not the essence. Prayerful faith in the Son of God (Galatians 2:20) is the essence.

Going forward with you on my knees,

Pastor John

©2014 Desiring God Foundation. Used by Permission.

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in its entirety or in unaltered excerpts, as long as you do not charge a fee. For Internet posting, please use only unaltered excerpts (not the content in its entirety) and provide a hyperlink to this page. Any exceptions to the above must be approved by Desiring God.

Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By John Piper. ©2014 Desiring God Foundation. Website: desiringGod.org