â€œWe do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.â€ (Colossians 1:9)
The first verse of a moving hymn titled â€œBrethren, We Have Met to Worshipâ€ reads:
Brethren, we have met to worship
And adore the Lord our God;
Will you pray with all your power,
While we try to preach the Word?
All is vain unless the Spirit
Of the Holy One comes down;
Brethren, pray, and holy manna
Will be showered all around.
In many of yesterdayâ€™s churches, certain leaders would gather while the pastor was preaching to pray for power and clarity in his words, and for responsive listeners and souls changed for eternity. Even a spiritually mature preacher can accomplish nothing of lasting worth without empowerment of the Holy Spirit: â€œFor our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghostâ€ (1 Thessalonians 1:5).
As Godâ€™s Word is preached in purity and with spiritual power, we can expect His blessings. The hymn writer used manna, the miraculous provision of food for the Israelites in the wilderness, to symbolize Godâ€™s answer to the churchâ€™s prayers. How we long for such manna, this all-sustaining provision for every need, this solution to every problem in the ministry, and the fruit that is borne of our labors. How our churches need to return to dependence on intercessory prayer, not on people and programs, for lasting fruit.
God is still in the prayer-answering business. Dare we ask God for manna such as this? JDM
Click hereÂ for the sheet music for this hymn.