Stir Us, O Lord

I awakened one morning at 1:30 and the words "Stir yourself" were in my mind. I found the word "stir" in Isaiah 64:7: "And there is no one who calls on Your name, Who stirs himself up to take hold of You." (NKJV)  These words follow Isaiah's cry to God: "Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down" (Isaiah 64:1). Isaiah desperately wanted God to come down, but it was a sad time. There was "no one who calls on Your name, Who stirs himself up to take hold of You" (vs. 7).

Our stirring ourselves to fast and to pray makes a strong statement to God of our desire for Him to rend the heavens and come and meet our need.

But it is easy to sleep through the needs of others, just as Jonah did when God told him to go preach to the Ninevites. Trying to ignore God's voice, he got into a boat headed another direction and then "lay down and fell into a deep sleep"

When a storm came, Jonah was so asleep he didn't even realize there was a problem. The captain was amazed he could sleep in such a desperate time and demanded, "How can you sleep? Get up and call on your god!"

If others could tell us of their hopelessness, perhaps they, too, would cry, How can you sleep? Get up and pray for us!

Jonah did get up, but he didn't just pray. For him to save those men, meant he had to be willing to sacrifice himself. "Pick me up and throw me into the sea," he told the frightened sailors. They did, the sea became calm, and they worshiped Jonah's God.

When we are willing to sacrifice food, time, sleep--whatever burdened prayer requires--others have hope.

Dear God, I want to share Your passion and burden for others. 

"'Even now,' declares the LORD, 'return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning'...Who knows? He may turn and have pity and leave behind a blessing" (Joel 2:12, 14).