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A Call For Sustainability

On 31 July 2012, the world's worst blackout in recent times occurred. More than 700 million people in India were without electricity. Twenty of India's 28 states were plunged into darkness as energy shortages failed to meet growing demands.

As nations develop, their needs for electricity will increase. Their leaders must take a closer look at their infrastructural utilities and facilities, and start planning many years ahead to include new power and gas stations as they continue to build more homes, schools, highways, factories and industries. A short-sightedness in not doing so will create many problems in the future.

Not enough power supplies mean the current and future demands may not be sustainable. Homes, schools, factories, industries, public transport like electric trains, subways and airports, may face a partial or complete shutdown someday somehow.

As a nation cannot operate without the adequate supply of electricity and fuel, a Christian, church or ministry cannot run without the power of the Holy Spirit. Many Christians and churches are running on empty tanks. Many do not pray at all.

Some energy sources are good as long as there are no problems. But when disasters strike, these sources can become monstrous liabilities like the nuclear plants in Japan and Chernobyl. Their side-effects will wipe off all their past benefits causing many serious health problems in the present and future!

Likewise, what kind of power we are operating in the spiritual realm is also important. Many Christian leaders and ministries are not operating in the power of the Holy Spirit. They are tapping their powers from other sources including other religions and occults!

Prayer is our fuel of spiritual power to keep us burning within and shining without! Without the zeal of God in our spirits, how can we have the passion of the Lord burning inside our hearts so that we can shine brightly for the lost outside?

Below are a few quotes about prayer:

A.W. Tozer
Have you noticed how much praying for revival has been going on of late - and how little revival has resulted? I believe the problem is that we have been trying to substitute praying for obeying, and it simply will not work. To pray for revival while ignoring the plain precept laid down in scripture is to waste a lot of words and get nothing for our trouble. Prayer will become effective when we stop using it as a substitute for obedience.

Billy Sunday
If you are strangers to prayer, you are strangers to power.

Corrie Ten Boom
Is prayer your steering wheel or your spare tire?

D.L. Moody
The Christian on his knees sees more than the philosopher on tiptoe.

David J Wolpe
Prayer is less about changing the world than it is about changing ourselves.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer
The richness of God's Word ought to determine our prayer, not the poverty of our heart.

Dwight L Moody
I prayed for faith, and thought that some day faith would come down and strike me like lightning. But faith did not seem to come. One day I read in the tenth chapter of Romans, "Now faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God." I had closed my Bible, and prayed for faith. I now opened my Bible, and began to study, and faith has been growing ever since.

E. Stanley Jones
Prayer is surrender - surrender to the will of God and cooperation with that will. If I throw out a boathook from the boat and catch hold of the shore and pull, do I pull the shore to me, or do I pull myself to the shore? Prayer is not pulling God to my will, but the aligning of my will to the will of God.

E.M. Bounds
The men who have done the most for God in this world have been early on their knees. He who fritters away the early morning, its opportunity and freshness, in other pursuits than seeking God will make poor headway seeking Him the rest of the day. If God is not first in our thoughts and efforts in the morning, He will be in the last place the remainder of the day.

Helga B Gross
What we usually pray to God is not that His will be done, but that He approves ours.

Hudson Taylor
He that loveth little prayeth little, he that loveth much prayeth much.

John Bunyan
In prayer, it is better to have a heart without words, than words without heart.

Leonard Ravenhill
No man is greater than his prayer life. The pastor who is not praying is playing; the people who are not praying are straying.

Leonard Ravenhill
A sinning man will stop praying. A praying man will stop sinning.

Leonard Ravenhill
A man may study because his brain is hungry for knowledge, even Bible knowledge. But he prays because his soul is hungry for God.

Martin Luther
To be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.

Morris Adler
Our prayers are answered not when we are given what we ask but when we are challenged to be what we can be.

Richard J. Foster
Prayer involves transformed passions. In prayer, real prayer, we begin to think God's thoughts after Him: to desire the things He desires, to love the things He loves, to will the things He wills.

Richard J. Foster
If we truly love people, we will desire for them far more than it is within our power to give them, and this will lead us to prayer: Intercession is a way of loving others.

Robert E. Harris
If a church wants a better pastor, it can get one by praying for the one it has.

Samuel Chadwick
The one concern of the devil is to keep Christians from praying. He fears nothing from prayerless studies, prayerless work, and prayerless religion. He laughs at our toil, mocks at our wisdom, but trembles when we pray.

Soren Kierkegaard
Prayer does not change God, but changes him who prays.

William Law
There is nothing that makes us love a man so much as praying for him.

Prayer is the fuel that lights our way as we travel through the journey of darkness in our world! Without the light of Christ, we will stumble and fall! How far can we move in darkness? Without the fire of God burning inside us, how can we shine for others to see on the outside?

Interestingly and sadly so, most Christians do not pray. They will choose to do other mundane things, always wandering away from God and His presence. All sensitivity to God is gone as we become numb in spiritual matters.

Filled with lots of Christian programs and activities, we think that we are running the race that God has set for us. But in true reality, it is a crazy race and a hectic pace set by ourselves and others but not God. As the years go by, we will find and face a shattered soul deep within us. Then we begin to hunger for Jesus - to be whole again!

Some pastors and Christian leaders are desiring to start a movement. They try to redo or outdo the previous revivals. But God is already doing a new thing! We should not be presumptuous to be eager to start another movement! We do not duplicate what others have done in the past revivals.

Haggai 2:9
‘The glory of this latter temple shall be greater than the former,’
says the LORD of hosts.
‘And in this place I will give peace,’ says the LORD of hosts.

God wants us to move where His Spirit moves. Only the Spirit can start a true spiritual movement! When the Spirit of the Lord prompts us, we will move! Unless the Spirit moves, we remain silent and be still in the Lord.

Many man-made movements generate a lot of activities and programs which in due time will degrade and fade away. Many people are interested in counting sheep but not interested in communing with the Shepherd.

Most of these man-made movements are not sustainable. Simply because those initial stirrings come and go off very quickly. And without the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, and without the fueling of prayer and intercession, many just die prematurely.

When a movement dies, another starts. Moving from movement to movement, always doing something but going nowhere. Like a hamster running endlessly and turning the wheel inside a cage!

And it is time to stop running here and there, and to return to the Lord. Why do trials and temptations abound? Simply because we do not take them to the Lord in prayer!

Today we encounter and face many tornadoes and typhoons of blizzard prophetic words and books. Many such prophecies over nations and the world spoken by recognized voices have failed to materialize.

If observed carefully, we will realize that the vast majority of these doom and gloom prophecies released over the last 30 or more years have failed to be fulfilled. Many of the renowned "prophets" and "apostles" just move on to another new series of prophetic predictions even though most of their past predicted timelines and dates have passed without any incident.

Blood moon tetrads and shemitahs generate lots of excitement and great fear. But shouldn’t we fear the Lord more than all of these? We have lost the fear of the Lord as we know Him less. We have focused on these human "prophecies" more than His divine Word. We have also spent lesser time with Him in praying for the poor and needy.

In Matthew 25:1-13, Jesus shared the Parable of the Ten Virgins with His disciples. The kingdom of heaven would be like ten virgins or bridesmaids who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom.

Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. The five who were foolish didn’t take enough olive oil for their lamps, but the other five were wise enough to take along extra oil.

When the coming of the bridegroom was delayed, all of them became drowsy and fell asleep. At midnight they were roused by the shout, ‘Look, the bridegroom is coming! Come out and meet him!’

All the bridesmaids got up and prepared their lamps. Then the five foolish ones asked the others, ‘Please give us some of your oil because our lamps are going out.’

But the others replied, ‘We don’t have enough for all of us. Go to a shop and buy some for yourselves.’

But while they were gone to buy oil, the bridegroom came. Then those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was locked.

Later, when the other five bridesmaids returned, they stood outside, calling, ‘Lord! Lord! Open the door for us!’

But he called back, ‘To tell you the truth, I don’t know you!’

Jesus then gave this severe warning to His disciples, “So you, too, must keep watch! For you do not know the day or hour of My return."

The question is still this: Do we have enough oil to last till Jesus returns? Are we sustainable? Are our ministries and churches sustainable? Whatever Christian activities and programs even our prayers and intercessions? If not, how?

As a conclusion, I would like to share a Sunday School song with all of you. So simple and yet so profound.

Give me oil in my lamp; keep it burning burning burning
Give me oil in my lamp, I pray. Hallelujah!
Give me oil in my lamp; keep it burning burning burning
Keep it burning till the break of day.